IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association)
We got into Nashville late. It’s a pretty good drive from Harvey County, and I got a bit of car lag from the drive. I might take a train next time. I wonder if it stops at Union Station.
The Holiday Inn Express is fancy for a country boy. Six floors up is quite a view. The night-light twinkled and inspired my ‘Song of the Day,’ ‘Nashville Skyline Rag.’
We are here for the IBMA convention. I have played all my life, but this is my first venture into organized bluegrass. Hm. I wonder if ‘organized bluegrass’ is anything like ‘organized medicine.’ They say organizing doctors is like herding stray cats. I know a bunch of musicians and I am one myself. Bluegrass musicians are even more independent than docs. I don’t know exactly how headstrong that might make me, ’cause I am both.
Though a neophye to the organization as a professional, (I have been a grassroots member for years) I am sure they will welcome me in. The only requirement is to love the music and respect it’s traditions. We still respect our elders in bluegrass, so I have an advantage there. Gray hair makes patients think you are wiser than what you are.
I’ll find my niche. I am now a professional member in print media. As far I know I am the world’s only physician bluegrass fiction writer. I have been blessed with more than my share of drive and energy over the years. Many people from all walks of life have asked where it comes from. I tell them I give the credit to the Good Lord, my wife and family, and the bluegrass community. They are what sustains me.
Then I reach in my cabinet and hand them a CD. I try to choose one that fits their personality, and I seldom miss. They come back later a say, “Wow, I didn’t know you folks played like that. This is great!”
These days I am a part-time doc, and closing in on an old man. The music has been good to me and sustained me in hard times. It still tears me down to lose a patient, and the music gets me through. With ‘The Mandolin Case,’ I hope to show the outside world all about it. So many folks have asked me about it, I felt compelled to show my story. I hate for anyone to got through life and miss out on this wonderful music and all the fine people involved in it.
If you don’t know of bluegrass music and our extended family come to FanFest at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville and check it out. It’ll change your life.