Bluegrass First Class 2011

        This weekend, Feb. 18-20 is Bluegrass First Class, Asheville, N.C. BGFC is the official first sign that spring will sure enough get here.

        I’ve been to every one of ’em, and the talent is excellent without fail. Here’s the link:

       Saturday AM 10:00 AM I’ll have a one hour session in one of the conference rooms. (exact location TBA) Don’t worry, Doc is never late. (Ha!) As always my gigs are equal parts book signing, impromptu jam session, and a forum to answer questions about the genre of physician bluegrass fiction. In spite of the best efforts of the Lit world to reform me, I don’t guess I’ll ever change. I’m as country as grits ‘n gravy, and at any bluegrass gathering I’m as happy as a pig in mud. 

        It’ll be at ten o’clock ’cause I figured that’s as early as old Docs and musicians could tolerate on the weekend. You are welcome to buy a book, but don’t have to. No fear, much to the chagrin of my Lit agent, publisher etc. I’ll often get to meeting people and forget to sell books. So, this is zero pressure situation. I look at books the same way I look at the doctor gig, you can’t get rich and you can’t starve to death, so you might as well just live and enjoy the ride.

        I am reminded of the Tim O’Brien joke I adapted to the Lit world:

        Q: “How do you make a small fortune writing fiction?”

        A: “Start with a large one.”

        My publisher hates that joke, but you gotta hand it to ’em. In a world where small publishers fold every day they keep on going. I told ’em it was ’cause they had faith in bluegrass. They just roll their eyes, but you can’t argue with success.

       For the first 8,000 people who attend the book signing, or if I run out, whichever comes first, I’m gonna give away a free official “Case of the Mandolin Case” bumper sticker. (See below: No S&H, this offer not available in stores) These stickers are a first run issue, as TKL has talked to me about a mandolin case they plan to bring to market soon. It looks like I’ll represent the mandolin case division of the company when I’m out and about, and my guess is their logo will likely be on future runs of the case stickers.

        They approached me at IBMA after they read “The Mandolin Case.” I looked around the conference center and said, “Man, there’s forty eleven mandolin pickers in this hotel better than old Doc. You sure you’re looking for me?”


        “You need to talk to Darin, Wayne,  or ‘Cuz.’ They’re out there all the time. I’m still Doc; always will be. At best I might do a dozen shows a year.”  

        “We’d love to talk to you about it. We think you are unique.”


        They’ve sent me some early prototype pics and drawings, and it is a very cool item. The case is the strong silent type. It holds the secrets inside close, snug, and secure. I’d like to say they saw that integrity in my fiction writing. But in reality it’s more likely I got the nod because the mandolin case they are gonna send out with me is all that, but also is white and almost matches my hair. Maybe they wanted Marcus Welby, but he was retired and also he couldn’t play the mandolin. I like the white because it reflects the heat, but it will come in different colors for my friends like Uncle Ted and Joe Zauner the honest banjo picking lawyer, who both live in cooler climates. However, the case was designed with thermal issues in mind, and I believe the color will not be a significant issue as to heat concerns.

        If you don’t catch me at the Saturday AM session look for me anyway. I’m the tall gray-haired doc in the straw hat with one green eye and one blue one. (for bluegrass) Have mandolin will jam. I always take in at least one session with Cane Creek, the South Carolina stalwart stars of the upstate S.C. bluegrass scene. Here’s their website:  But, I’ll jam with anyone who promises not to shoot me if I miss a note.  After all, music ain’t a matter of life and death, it’s a whole lot more important than that.

       If you see me with a young pretty woman don’t gossip; that’s my wife. And if the girl is real, real, young that’s my daughter. And the tough looking little pine knot with a close-cropped crew cut and a neck like an oak tree; that’s my boy.

        Y’all come visit. See you there.

Dr. B

Explore posts in the same categories: memorable gigs, The Monday Morning Post, Writing


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