The Bluegrass Way- Portland West to North Carolina East
All us bluegrass folks are more alike than we are different. The other day I got a CD from a group all the way out in Portland, Oregon, Kathy Boyd and Phoenix Rising. It was a gospel project titled “Walk Humbly.”
Isn’t that a great title? Bluegrass people everywhere tend to be more humble than much of modern society. They are so talented, and yet do not seek celebrity, but play because it is a spiritual thing. I’ll bet they are a lot like the bands I have been in over the years. We did some private parties and shows, but much of it was for nursing homes or schools, or a fund-raiser for some poor soul struck down by illness. We played because our souls could not get by without music.
The CD liner notes and pictures remind me of our people right here in North Carolina. Ms. Boyd is a petite dark-haired lady bass player (as is my wife) surrounded by a trio of tough-looking hombres in cowboy hats and beards. I noticed their fiddle man doubled on the mandolin. Unless the cat can play both of them at the same time, I might just have to sit in with them on the mandolin if we ever get out to Oregon. My favorite was “Faith, Hope, Bluegrass Music.” Those three things sustained me through some very lonesome times in the doc gig, so the band spoke my language with that cut for sure.
Check out their website at www.phoenixrisingband.org
Guys, if you ever tour North Carolina look up old Doc. I’m the one in the straw hat and sunglasses, and I often wear some wild Sam Bush Hawaiian shirt with pineapples on it. I know all the best jam sessions around. One time some folks were in from England to take in MerleFest. We were the opening act for Larry Sparks at Perry’s Auction Barn in Statesville just before the big festival, and someone sent the visitors over to ask me where they could play. They hung out with us and jammed with Charlie Waller at a regional bluegrass hang-out called the Bomb Shelter the next night. They said they liked that better than MerleFest! I’m not always that lucky but we’ve had a great run of it.
I hope to post soon on a North Carolina event coming up this weekend. Rising stars Darin and Brooke Aldridge have their own festival, and it promises to be a dandy. Look over the line-up at www.darinandbrookealdridge.com.
I’ve got some doc paperwork to catch up on, but I’ll be back with some more stories soon. I hope to have an announcement on my book any time now. As my agent says, he’s gonna go out on the patio and switch on the party lights. When he met me he had only a very peripheral knowledge of bluegrass. The good news for us is now he’ll insist on a bluegrass band for the music.
When an old doctor can get an intellectual man to realize bluegrass music is like “Using your Bible for a Road Map” as to how to live life you’ve done something right, but I gotta give Indie all the credit. I learned it from him, and I’m gonna pass it on to you in “The Mandolin Case.”
Talk to you soon.
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