The Difference in (Bluegrass) Men and Women
Oh it’s not much really. Bluegrass people are all the same. I’ve played a lot of music with guys in my life. Even the local pickers are serious about what they do, and most of them are excellent players. I’ve noticed all lot of guys are competitive and driven. If you miss a break they’ll scowl and say, ‘Study your instrument.” Some of them chew tobacco, they might be late for practice ’cause they watched Monday Night Football, and they don’t smell all that good.
The women are just as good a players. If you don’t believe me go see my banjo buddies Kristin Scott Benson (the Grascals) or Alison Brown (The Alison Brown Quartet) play. Both are tough banjo players and seasoned professionals. They can pick as well as any man alive, as their IBMA award wins attest. Still, no one could question they are feminine. One is brunette, one is blond; both are petite women who look like they stepped out of your high school annual. (Also both are long since spoke for guys.)
But, playing music with women is different. I had a gig with my wife’s band not long ago. (She’s a fine bass player) It’s not often in my usual picking circle anyone brings up what soap they have switched to, and I don’t recall the last time any of my guys commented on the quality of the center piece at the table. Instead of ribs the chow was low-fat stir fry. There was no beer though a small glass of white wine was optional. I’m sure my banjo man never said any dessert was “to die for” no matter how good it was.
If you miss a break somehow one of the ladies takes ownership of it and blames herself. I was amazed by that, and said, “No ma’am. I just missed my intro. It ain’t your fault.” Seems like they work harder to build consensus, and I’ve never done as many sing-alongs as I do with them.
When it comes time to load up the sound equipment they are more than willing to help, but you feel like you ought to lift the speakers for them. (even though in reality they are younger and likely stronger than me at this point in my life)
The biggest difference of all though is that this is the only band I’ve been in where I get to kiss the bass player good-night when I get home from the show.
I don’t care if we get paid much or not; this is a good gig .