A IBMA Awards, and a Word From Our Sponsors, Cedar Creek Custom Cases and Lakota Straps
Last week after chemotherapy we hopped in the car and drove as far as we could. We made it to Harriman, Tennessee by dark-thirty, then got up the next morning and went on in to Nashville for the IBM trade show and awards ceremony. Winners included Balsam Range, N.C. boys who are now International. We are very proud of them for Song of the Year and Album of the Year, “Trains I’ve Missed.” (Correction: The album of the year was “Help My Brother” by the Gibson Brothers. -Sorry guys. Dr. B)
Also from N.C. The Steep Canyon Rangers and Steve Martin won the Entertainer of the Year award. They are very deserving, not only because they are wonderful performers but also because they will bring new folks to traditional music and in large numbers too. They are managed by the Don Light Agency out of Nashville, one of the big talent agencies out there for many years. Look for more and more exposure for bluegrass from all these guys.
All of my personal favorites didn’t win but everybody who did win was quite deserving of their award. It’s like they say on the PGA Tour “these guys are good.” For example on the mandolin there are players who have never won like Wayne Benson of III Tyme Out, (and needs to win someday soon) my pal Darin Aldridge who we don’t hear play as much mandolin these days because he’s busy with the guitar and fronting his band, Emory Lester who mixes hot play and melody as well as anybody I know, “Cuz” Alan Bibey of Grasstowne who is both jazzy hot and bluegrass all at the same time, Joe Walsh of the Gibson Brothers adds just the right touches to those wonderful brother duets; the list goes on and on. There are many others. There are countless journeymen players who are far better musicians than I am who might never as well-known as they should be. I think they all deserve an award, so I send them all a special commendation for the pursuit of excellence; often against all odds.
While we were there, Tom Dougherty of TKL Cedar Creek Custom Cases presented me with a new custom mandolin case. It is the official “Case of the Mandolin Case” case. Tom and I have worked several shows together and when I got sick he did not abandon me as a sponsor as of my book tour. I have not been able to do this much in return for him as I would like, but I am confident my health will improve and we’ll work some more together. In the meantime he does have some books on hand, and will include a free book with the next half-dozen or so cases ordered.
I’ve included some pictures off my new case below. Tom was very kind. He wanted to match my hair color and thought “Vintage Silver” salt and pepper was about right. I’m probably closer to electric silver (or white) these days but I appreciated the compliment. I still have a some dark hair left and appreciate his recognition of that. If you want one the official color is “Vintage Silver.” the inside is a beautiful burgundy.
Here is their website: www.cedarcreekcases.com. If you need a new mandolin case he can build you one just like mine (he official case of “The Mandolin Case” or he build one to any custom specs you like. They also build guitar banjo and other instruments.
I also touched base with Lakota instrument straps while we were there. For my money this is the softest and most durable instrument strap in the world. They are hand-made by the Lakota Indians out of bison, buffalo, and elk. No one has more experience with these materials than the Native Americans; they go back long before the Europeans arrived! With their relationship with Lakota the company has a genuine interest in Native American culture. They have connections with the Navajo and plan to ask some of them to read “The Mandolin Case” case for authenticity as far as the references to code talkers. Website: Website: www.lakotaleathers.com.
In addition my book tour is sponsored by DR strings. I did not get a chance to get up with them while we were there as we had to come back home. Don’t tell too many people but I had a rock ‘n roll gig with my solid body electric mandolin Saturday night. It looks like a Telecaster that got hung up in a clothes dryer. (Don’t worry I’m still bluegrass guy at heart.) We played some blues including B.B. King’s “The Thrill is Gone” and also Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.” I also included a picture of this gig below.
I have several books and art projects in the works. Over the next few weeks I will try to bring you up to date as to their progress. After I got sick my blog became more of a running personal diary for my children and upcoming grandchild to look back on in case something happened to me. However, all indications are this is not going to kill me so I hope to return to more of a freewheeling fictional blog instead of just a personal journal before long.
Talk to you soon.