Archive for the ‘Bluegrass Radio’ category

The People’s Mandolin and the IBMM

September 23, 2011




        The People’s Traveling Mandolin has a permanent home on display at the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro,  Kentucky. It was there for the Bill Monroe 100th birthday celebration, an event I had all plans to attend, but my illness forced me to stay home that week. (I’m better now. don’t worry) N.C. bluegrass kingpin Steve Leatherwood (WGWG 88.3 radio and Leatherwood Trading Company) and former Monroe bluegrass boy Yates Greene took it there for me.

        It was covered in signatures of famous bluegrass mandolinists by the time the weekend was over. Steve documented much of this on his FaceBook page and I will transfer some of those pics here over time. Thanks to Gabrielle Gray for a proper home fro the mandolin at the end of the journey. I can’t imagine a better place for it to rest.

        Also more info on the little mandolin’s journey is on my website http://www.themandolin

        Dr. B


WNCW 88.7 Weekend

August 16, 2010

        It was a fine weekend. I had Friday afternoon off, and Snookers and I played nine holes of golf. Marfar caught us at the turn to remind me we needed to get to the Don Gibson theater for the Darin and Brooke Aldridge and the Snyder Family show. We “crunk” up the Neuse River converted school bus and turned on the GPS. I forgot to re-set the gadget from last week, and it routed us via York but we enjoyed the scenery.

        I’ve often said if I made the Grand Ole Opry it wouldn’t be in a Prevost bus, but the maintenance crew would let me in the back door. That’s about the way it was. I gave Marfar her ticket and she went on in. I went around back and opened the door. The sound man spotted me. “Hey Doc, how was your game?”

        “Huh? How’d ya know?”

        “The golf club, Doc. It’s a bit of a give-a-way.”

        “Oh yeah, I guess so.” I took a swing. “Boy, this is a good’un. Got a little extra snap at the bottom. Old man club.”

        “So, how’d ya do?”

        “39. Not bad, but Snookers clipped me for a cheeseburger.”

        “He’s tough. We’ve got some chicken and ribs. Go past the dressing room and take a right.”

        “Great, thanks.” I could hear the Snyders in the background. Man, those kids can play.

        I walked on in. “Now let’s see, was that left or right? Where’s that GPS when ya need it?” I took a left. My goodness, it was the stage at the Gibson.

        I called over my shoulder to the sound-man. “Hey, tell the boss not to worry. I know amateurs aren’t allowed on the Gibson stage, but I know not to take a divot.”

        He laughed. “Gotta re-do the floor every winter anyway, Doc. He demands the best.” I took three steps and there was Dennis.

        “Lord have mercy; Dennis Jones. My favorite bluegrass DJ in the history of the world. How in the world are ya?”

       “Great, Doc. Let me introduce you to the audience.” He cranked up the mic and gave “The Mandolin Case” a fine plug. In return, I gave him some medical advice as to shoulder discomfort, then went to get some ribs and take in the rest of the show.

       I stopped at the artist sign-in board. Hm. Lots of famous names here. Alison Brown, Marty Stuart, Darin and Brooke Aldridge, the Snyders, Marianne Faithful. “Oh, what the heck.” I got out a perma-marker and drew a caricature of Bibey peering over the fence, and signed it. “Bibey was here.”

       The unknown now mingle with the famous. I couldn’t help but wonder at the reaction. Who the heck is that?

       Infiltrated by some old country doc. Hard to hold ’em down I guess.

       The “Bluegrass Sweethearts,” the Aldridges, turned in another fine professional show as they always do. Hard to hold them down too. They find new fans every week now.

       I let Marfar drive home as we wanted to get in before three AM. The next day we took in the Dennis Jones WNCW 88.7 show, “Going Across the Mountain.” Check it out sometime; you can access it by Internet stream anywhere in the world. Here’s the link:

       In Harvey County you can hear Dennis and WNCW one of two ways. We do have the Internet now, although it’s still on the party line. It works great as long as you don’t mind sharing with your neighbor, (I don’t) and we usually listen to the station that way.

       Sometimes we still gather at City Hall to crowd around and listen to the show. City Hall’s right there in the back of the Dairy Queen. For a long time it and the old State Theater were the only places in town with air conditioning. Mayor Clay rigged up an antenna on an out-of-service telephone pole, attached a couple of rabbit ears, then wrapped ’em up in tin foil. (It’s how we used to pick up Fred Kirby over in Charlotte)

       If you leave the contraption pointed west you can get WNCW 88.7 without fail. When the cloud skip is just right, it’s extra clear. In Harvey County we like it at least as good as the Grand Ole Opry. (Don’t tell Eddie Stubbs I said that. I think a lot of him too, and when I go to Nashville I want to be just as welcome there as here in Harvey County or on the Gibson stage.)

       We spent Sunday morning with Dennis and “The Gospel Truth,” then in the afternoon cruised over to Indie’s cabin. We had a late lunch of chicken on the grill, ‘mater sandwiches with Duke’s mayonnaise on light bread, and corn on the cob, then floated around in inner tubes most of the afternoon with a glass of Arnold Palmer. (half lemonade and half sweet tea) 

       The old “Sail With the Pilot” clock at the cabin still turns backwards the same way Indie rigged it up before he died. I’ll never forget Indie’s lessons. It’s important to be the best Doc you can be, but it’s also important to live large and not hurry. Me and Marfar are gonna keep doing that even when the modern world protests.

       My agent sent me a book review from England. The gentleman enjoyed “The Mandolin Case,” and found it a quaint laid-back way of life he didn’t know still existed anywhere these days. He liked the spare writing and the pace of the story. I was humbled by his kind review.

      I gotta admit it wasn’t all that hard to write even if it did take me a decade. I just thought everyone lived this way. All I had to do was show what I’m lucky enough to see every day.

       So, back to the Doc gig. Remember my advice to Dennis, my bluegrass brother and King of the Harvey County airways, “If it hurts, don’t do it brother.”

       All the best,

Dr. B

River Of Jordan

May 16, 2009

         ‘River of Jordan’ has always been a favorite tune. Not long ago my agent told me there is lady out there who goes by River Jordan.  When I heard that, I had to check it out.  It didn’t take long to realize there was something here of interest for me and the also the folks who read my blog. 

        The lady writes books, and has Podcast interviews with some of my favorite authors like Clyde Edgerton.  She talked about mandolins and all sorts of music genres.  She’s not all bluegrass; she touches on everyone from the Beatles to Miles Davis.

        I enjoyed my visit to her site.  Check her out at:

Dr. B

Gracie Muldoon and 24/7 Bluegrass

September 24, 2008

        I love the name Gracie, don’t you?  It makes me think of the great George Burns.  He loved his Gracie so.

        Someone asked George Burns what the secret was to his long life and he said, “Everyone has to have an act.  Mine is George Burns.”  Cool.  I adopted his notion- mine is Tommy Bibey.

        I never met a Gracie I didn’t like, and I recently met another one I want to tell you about.  Her name is Gracie Muldoon (what a cool bluegrass name) and she runs a 24/7 bluegrass radio station at

        Several of my readers have asked me to stay on the lookout for good Internet bluegrass radio sites, so I checked it out.  These guys have it going on- it is well worth the listen and has Dr. Tommy Bibey’s highest recommendations.

        I promised Gracie I’d let her know when my book is released.  As far as I know it is the first medical novel in which the mystery is unraveled by a loyal band of bluegrass brethren.  I might even call in and announce it myself.  Dibs on the announcement go to Dennis Jones at WNCW 88.7 NPR radio- he asked first and I always honor my commitments and dance with who brung me, but Gracie is second in line.

        And Dennis, much as I love ya man, I gotta tell you if Gracie’ll let me dance with her too I guess I will if my wife says it’s O.K.   She’s a little better looking than you brother, but I’ll never abandon you- you’ll always be my favorite bluegrass DJ in the world.

Dr. B

Bibey on the Air/Bluegrass Music Update From WNCW 88.7

July 21, 2008

        Part of today’s post is an update on WNCW 88.7 Bluegrass radio.  Dennis Jones at the station sent me an e-mail, and it is printed below.  Before you get to that, though, I gotta tell you an old Neuse River/WNCW 88.7 bluegrass radio true story.

        One time we had a gig way in the western part of the state, Sparta, N.C. to be exact, and we was riding to the show date in the Neuse River converted school bus.  Like everyone in bluegrass music when you had a show on a Saturday night in that part of the state, you’d tune in a guy named Russ Jordan.  His radio show was the same “Going Across the Mountain” now hosted by Dennis Jones.  (It is a good’un)

        Just before we got into Sparta, Russ came on the air and said, “Folks y’all get out tonight and hear Neuse River- they’re gonna be in Sparta at the Volunteer Fire Hall.  Is Dr. Tommy out there?  We’ve got Miss Molly Tenbrooks down here at the station and she’s sickly.”  (This is bluegrass code talk for someone’s got a fever in their head.)

        Moose got on his car phone and told ’em we was so too far down the road to turn back now, but I talked to ’em and told ’em I knew for a fact that Rebbekker the bass player lady Doc was on call ’cause I’d talked to her when I came through that morning.  They got a hold of her and she took care of the problem.

        Well, that ain’t the end of the story.  Some hospital hired lawyer named Leggett called me in to his office on Monday morning and said he’d heard we was talking patient names over the radio and I’d done a HIPAA violation.  I told him right quick that Molly and Tenbrooks was a couple of dadburn racehorses from a Bill Monroe song for heaven’s sake, and there warn’t nary a thing in the HIPAA book that said folks can’t talk on the radio in bluegrass code about a horse race, so he’d just have to get over it.

        I went on to say just as soon as he found the Federal regulation for that circumstance to fax it over the office, and I’d be happy to look it over.  I never did hear from him.  Shoot, even the Government knows you can’t regulate bluegrass.

        I never did like that little guy ever since he got after Indie anyway.  (I’m gonna tell you more about that in my book.)

        Enough on old war stories, here’s the update on WNCW 88.7.  All the best Dennis, ’cause you guys are.


Thought Dr.Tommy Bibey would be interested in this……

Starting August 4th, Bluegrass music begins Monday through Friday at 6:00am until 7:00am. The new addition to WNCW programming will be called “Mountain Morning” and is to be hosted by Jerry McNeely. The unbelievable support and astounding ratings show that Traditional and Contemporary Bluegrass is what listeners want. Thanks to all who have made this possible. With this new block, we now have 16 hours of the “real deal” Bluegrass available over an FM signal that covers 5 states….6 on good days. It’s really a thrill to know how important the music we all love so much, is gaining air time on a stations main channel;not regulated to the internet or a side channel that requires buying a new radio. Morning drive time for many is in this hour, or folks getting ready to head out for the day will be able to have another source for Bluegrass music in our listening area…as well as on-line world wide. This truly makes WNCW a Flagship Bluegrass station and we will continue to try our best to deliver the quality programming so many have come to expect.

Dennis Jones
WNCW-FM Technical Director

WNCW 88.7 Radio Free Bluegrass

July 11, 2008

        Years ago Stroker, our lead guitar man for Neuse River, called me about a road trip.  There was a new radio station in the western part of N.C. and they promised bluegrass was gonna be a big part of their weekly program.  Given the paucity of our kind of music on the radio at the time, we had our doubts.  I gotta give ’em credit.  All these years later they are still carrying on the tradition.

        They got off to a good start.  They chose to bring in Doc Watson for the kick-off concert.  Doc can play wonderful straight bluegrass, but also does a blend of blues, country, traditional, rock-a-billy and a touch of Tin Pan Alley.  I have heard flashier guitar players in my time, but none speak to my soul like Doc.  He is the best.  Stroker had studied Doc from way back, so he was all about the trip.  I love the way Doc Watson sings too.  As Wayne Benson says, “When Doc songs, I believe every word.”  Wayne is an old pro in the traditional music business, and he has it right.  There are no more authentic performers than Doc Watson.

        Over the 4th, I ran into Dennis Jones, the man who fronts the bluegrass shows on WNCW.   Dennis not only plays traditional bluegrass on his show, but gives air play time to modern artists, too.  He hosts live performances in their state of the art Studio B, and even gives good local and regional bands a shot at exposure.  Bluegrass artists like Darin Aldridge got some of their first radio exposure because Dennis Jones and WNCW saw their talent early on, and put them on the air before they were well known in the bluegrass world.  Dennis’s show on Saturday is called “Going Across the Mountain” and Sunday morning is “The Gospel Truth.”  Both are excellent, and well worth the listen.

        My readers have asked where to hear good bluegrass, and WNCW 88.7 is an excellent place to start.  They are an NPR station (national public radio) so there are very few commercials.  It is radio free bluegrass, but also they are a very eclectic station which has a variety of styles music and other programming.  Of course, nothing is free and they do defray their costs with a twice a year fundraiser, but they have Internet streaming, so one can go on-line and listen free of charge anywhere in the world.  They are on my blog roll, so ya’ll give ’em a listen and tell him Tommy Bibey sent ya.

Dr. B

SIRIUS Satellite 65 Bluegrass Radio

July 7, 2008

         SIRIUS Radio, channel 65 on your bluegrass dial, did a live broadcast from the Red White and Bluegrass Festival over the 4th.  These guys are a crowd who can spread the bluegrass gospel in a hurry.  They are a force to be tuned in for sure.

        Chris Jones and the Night Riders were there as the SIRIUS ‘house’ band.  Chris is a a fine singer and songwriter, and his banjo man, Ned Luberecki, is the real deal on the five string.  Not only do they talk a good game on bluegrass radio, but they live it.  They can play it with the best of ’em.  I especially liked the last number they did, a take off on an old Bill Monroe lick.  Cool stuff.

        Of course, after the show Tommy Bibey had to go up and shake and howdy.  In spite their celebrity, in the bluegrass way, they were real down to earth.  

        I told Ned about my book, and he he thought a bluegrass novel about a fiddling doctor whose crisis resolution was directed by a loyal band of bluegrass boys would be a cool thing.  He said he’d love to read it when I’m finished.  (Projected date 2009)  If he likes it I hope he might give it a plug on the radio.

        Ned asked me what I hoped to accomplish and I told him I wanted to bring bluegrass to a million new folks.  He laughed and said, “Well good luck, Doc. I hope you make it.”

        Of course, Ned knows as well as I do that is not a realistic goal, but he also knows not to take away hope.  After all, if an old gray haired Doc can’t have big dreams and bluegrass music, life would be a mightly dull indeed.

        And you never know.  My readers range from professors and teachers to bankers, school principals, farmers and accountants.  Many of them are new to bluegrass.  Ned runs a segment on the show every so often where he asks folks how they first heard about bluegrass.  If ya’ll catch that, and I introduced you to the music, tell him you learned about it from Dr. Tommy Bibey.

        If a mandolin is played in the proverbial forest and no one hears it, there ain’t no music.  If one writes a book, and no reads it, there would be no point in the effort.  So, all my readers are very special- one in a million.  Like a Doc for his patients, as a writer you are my reason to be.  If you call in to Ned, tell ’em you are one in a million to Tommy Bibey.  He’ll get it.  All them bluegrass people is smart; you can’t get nothing over on ’em.

        Ned knows I’m a long shot, but so was Seabiscuit.  For that matter, who’d thought a banjo picker’d wind up a national radio celebrity, either.  Ya’ll tune him in.  As soon as he speaks into the mic, you know it is a radio voice.  His show is authentic bluegrass, and has much to say about our music.

        Hey, when my book comes out, I hope some folks say they heard about it from Ned Luberecki and SIRIUS Satellite 65 Bluegrass Radio.  His sponsors will dig that.  (I don’t have any of those ‘cept me at this point, and the blog will always stay free, and have few classified ads either for that matter.)  The plug will help ’em out.  It is the bluegrass way.

Dr. B