Journey of The People’s Mandolin Update

        The People’s Mandolin is ready for its long journey home.  As I said I’m gonna drop it off at MerleFest to start its voyage.  There it will be picked up by Ted and Irene Lehmann. They have had some discussion with Gabrielle Gray of The International Bluegrass Music Museum about the best way to send it off, so we’ll see what they have in store for it.

        I know there are skeptics from the non bluegrass world. They say it won’t make it. I’m betting it does. Ms. Gray and Lehmanns think it will too. You see, John Hartford used to say bluegrass was the last American small town where everybody knows everybody; a place where you can leave your doors unlocked and windows wide open. I am not naive. I know the world has changed. I also know bluegrass is growing and we have new people all the time. Still, my bet is we haven’t changed that much.

        Just think, if the case makes it five years and winds up back at MerleFest in 2015, we all have a chance at a tiny corner of the world’s biggest bluegrass museum. I can envision it in a shadow box with a legend to identify each geographic area represented by the travels of the case. It could even be set up with one of those little gadgets where you could punch in a number to hear a certain clip. Let’s say Missy Werner from Cincinnati or little Kathy Boyd way out in Portland ran across the mandolin on its journey and logged onto my blog with a YouTube clip of their band at a festival out there. We could turn all those posts over to the museum. Then someday when you see the exhibit of “The People’s Mandolin” and click on clip #73, there they’d be for all time. You’d hear them and learn where all the good festivals were around the country. Pretty cool huh?

        One disclaimer here, though. These are just my early thoughts. Ms. Gray has a museum to run and I’m just a country doctor. How they decide to present it I’ll need to leave entirely to their judgment.

         Of course all this is just a bunch of dreaming of old Doc. If the naysayers turn out to be right and the case is lost, it can’t wind up in the museum at all, so we’ll see. But again, I like its odds.

        By the way, folks have already written to tell me the page for “The Journey of The People’s Mandolin” is hard to find.  Right now it is in the upper right hand corner of my blog just below “Home,” “About Dr. Bibey,” “Disclaimer,” and “The Charitable Arm.” A web site is in development for “The Mandolin Case” and will have a link or a page devoted to the “Journey of  The People’s Mandolin.”

         And also I wanted to tell you I have seen the layout of my book. Very, very, cool. I can’t help but believe it is gonna be good for bluegrass. I say this because already folks from my other worlds (medicine, law, business, etc.) want to know where my serenity comes from. They come out of environments that are often hyper-competitive, aggressive, or just downright mean. When they step into my music world they have trouble believing it could be real. After a while they realize it is, and more than one has decided we bluegrass folks are onto something.

        We coulda all told ’em that a long time ago, but some folks are slow to believe. One at a time though, they’re coming around.

Dr. B

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4 Comments on “Journey of The People’s Mandolin Update”

  1. I’m so excited for you Dr. B! Your book is sooo close now, I mean, if the page layout is ready already then dang, it’s really going forward! My grin stretches from ear to ear at the moment.

    Also, I still absolutely love the Journey of the People’s Mandolin… I really hope it gets back in five years and that it’ll get that corner in the museum. That little instrument is going to go far, and she’ll see lots of different kinds of folk and lots of different kind of places. She must be excited to get going :).

    • drtombibey Says:


      You know, I’m getting on towards old, but this whole thing is keeping me young. I am excited too.

      I bought this mandolin years ago because my band couldn’t find a mandolin player, and then played a gig with it three weeks later. In so many ways the little mandolin is so symbolic of my own life journey and how much the music has meant to this old Doc.

      Dr. B

  2. Sam Craig Says:

    It was very nice to meet you at breakfast at Merlefest. It is a small world, somewhat made smaller by the internet. From reading your blog posts to actually meeting you. Small world.

    I am honored that Sallie and I were the first to sign the Traveling Mandolin as it begins its journey. We wish it well, and hope that our signatures will soon be obscured by signatures of multitudes whose lives it reaches.
    Sam Craig

    • drtombibey Says:


      Blugrass is a small world. It it everyone knows everyone for miles and miles around. I’m sure I’ve seen you here at MerleFest before.

      Right after you Joe Walsh, the mandolin player for the Gibson Brothers signed it. After that I picked a few with the Snyder family (Zeb and Samantha) and they signed it, so it is off to a good start.

      I ran into the folks at the GHS booth and when they saw it had GHS strings they said they’d talk to corporate about sponsoring the people’s mandolin. (Ie if a string breaks when it is out on tour I think GHS would replace it to keep the journey going.)

      Dr. B

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