Archive for the ‘bluegrass related blogs’ 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


Three Chords and the Truth

December 26, 2009

        Just a short post today.  My boy is a paramedic and had to work yesterday, so today is our family Christmas.  Like all of us, he has to work for a living nowadays.  It can never be like the old days with him right here at the house to hit golf balls as soon as I hit the door from work, but we still have a lot of good times.  He’s on his way.  The boy is never gone for long but when he walks through that door we’ll hug on him like the prodigal son.  

        Today I want to tell you about  a new blog I found, 3 Chords a Day.  The link is below, and I’ve added them to my blogroll.  There is an old saying in Nashville- ‘Country music is three chords and the truth.’  I try to write that way too, as I believe the truth is simple. As my daughter says, “Daddy, you’re so simple you’re complicated to people.”

        Sure, I understand about money and that we all have to make  living, and I hope to sell a few books someday.  However, I told my agent I didn’t care if I sold three thousand or three million as long as I wrote what I believe to be the truth.  (So far we are far closer to three thousand but several publishers have it under review)

       I think this fellow writes what he believes to be true about country music just as sure as I try to be the most honest physician bluegrass fiction writer I can be.  If you love classic country, and believe it and bluegrass should be back on the radio in full force, check it out. 

        KNP.  Hold to the dream and have a fine holiday.

Dr. B

IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association)

September 28, 2009

            We got into Nashville late.  It’s a pretty good drive from Harvey County, and I got a bit of car lag from the drive.  I might take a train next time.  I wonder if it stops at Union Station.

        The Holiday Inn Express is fancy for a country boy.  Six floors up is quite a view.  The night-light twinkled and inspired my ‘Song of the Day,’ ‘Nashville Skyline Rag.’  

       We are here for the IBMA convention.  I have played all my life, but this is my first venture into organized bluegrass.  Hm.  I wonder if ‘organized bluegrass’ is anything like ‘organized medicine.’  They say organizing doctors is like herding stray cats.  I know a bunch of musicians and I am one myself.  Bluegrass musicians are even more independent than docs.  I don’t know exactly how headstrong that might make me, ’cause I am both.

        Though a neophye to the organization as a professional, (I have been a grassroots member for years)  I am sure they will welcome me in.  The only requirement is to love the music and respect it’s traditions.  We still respect our elders in bluegrass, so I have an advantage there.  Gray hair makes patients think you are wiser than what you are.  

        I’ll find my niche.  I am now a professional member in print media.  As far I know I am the world’s only physician bluegrass fiction writer.  I have been blessed with more than my share of drive and energy over the years.  Many people from all walks of life have asked where it comes from.  I tell them I give the credit to the Good Lord, my wife and family, and the bluegrass community.  They are what sustains me. 

        Then I reach in my cabinet and hand them a CD.  I try to choose one that fits their personality, and I seldom miss.  They come back later a say, “Wow, I didn’t know you folks played like that.  This is great!”

        These days I am a part-time doc, and closing in on an old man.  The music has been good to me and sustained me in hard times.  It still tears me down to lose a patient, and the music gets me through.  With ‘The Mandolin Case,’ I hope to show the outside world all about it.  So many folks have asked me about it, I felt compelled to show my story.  I hate for anyone to got through life and miss out on this wonderful music and all the fine people involved in it.

        If you don’t know of bluegrass music and our extended family come to FanFest at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville and check it out.  It’ll change your life.

Dr. B

The Deep River Blues and FaceBook City

May 21, 2009

        My agent is very wise.  When he had me start my blog, I asked, “What is  a blog?”

        He said, “Trust me.  A blog will teach you how to write.  You will learn more from your readers than you teach them.”  This turned out to be true.

        He let me dabble in the blog a little over a year.  One day he said, ‘You need to start a FaceBook page.”

        I asked, “What is a FaceBook page?”  (At first I called it My Face.)

        “Son, it is the finest networking tool you will ever see.  You will learn more from your FaceBook friends than you’ll ever teach them.”

        He was right again.  This FaceBook crowd runs deep.

       Every day on FaceBook I post a song of the day.  Today was Doc Watson’s ‘Deep River Blues.’  The next thing I know a new friend of mine, a gentleman named Cliff Searcy, posted a video of Doc from the 60s.  It was good enough to bring tears. 

        Every time I post the ‘Song of the Day’ folks like Cliff or Otis or Carmen, or Gary Thompson or Kenny Baker (and many others) respond with some insight.  I learn something every time.

        Today I was able to return the favor.  Gary had looked all over the world for the song ‘Going Back to the Country.’   His band learned it somewhere in their travels.  They were not sure of the source, and wanted to credit it correctly.  Believe me this cat knows bluegrass, and he had tried every source imaginable.

        I heard that on my lunch break one day, and lo and behold I knew the tune.  It was written by an old friend of mine, Glen Laney, and on the Knoxville Grass ‘Darby’s Castle’ LP in 1978.  I am sad to tell you Glen passed away some years ago, and was gone way too early.  Before he died Blue Highway did a benefit concert for him in Knoxville.  It’s the bluegrass way.

        I’m gonna send Gary the song today so he can check and see if he has the words right.  As artists, (though I am only a part-time one) we are both against too much burning.  But on the other hand, this had been out of print for years.  I knew Glen well, and I am sure this is what he would want to do. 

        Gary promised to acknowledge Glen from the stage whenever his band played it.  He is true bluegrass, and I have no doubt he will do just that.  The thought of Glen’s music going on past his death, and me having facilitated any small part of that made this old Doc’s week.

        As a Doctor, you spend your whole life tethered to about a hundred mile radius.  That’s O.K.  I knew what I signed up for.  Besides, I am  homebody and wasn’t meant for a life on the road.  But at the same time I like to get to know new people.  I used to have to wait for a band to come through Harvey County to meet new music people.  Now FaceBook brings them right to my study. 

        So today, I want to recognize all my new FaceBook friends.  Like Doc Watson’s ‘Deep River Blues,’ they also are a river that runs deep, and I am proud to know them.

        And by the way, I’m glad my agent and I have already agreed on our contract.  If he finds out how prophetic he’s been he might want to up his percentage.  I’m gonna hold him to it.  After all, a hundred here and a hundred there; pretty soon you’re talking real money.

Dr. B

Thanks to The Bluegrass Blog

April 28, 2009

        I got a call from a touring musician today.

        “Hey Doc.  Did you know you are on the front page of the Bluegrass Blog today?”

        “Uh, well, no.  I let them know about my MerleFest posts, and that I had a book in the works, but no I had no idea I’d get on there.  Wow.  Cool.  I guess that is pretty big.”

        “Pretty big?  Bibey, that is like ‘U.S.A. Today’ for all of us on tour.  It’s the first thing we check every morning.”

        “Right before noon, huh?

        “Funny.  No kidding man, the Bluegrass Blog is the ticket.  You better send them a thank you note.”

        I thought about that for a moment, and decided maybe I’d do one better.  If my blog got even one of y’all got interested in bluegrass, I hope you’ll click on the link below and let them know.  Who knows, it might get me and my mandolin on another MerleFest stage some day.  It was first thing this morning, so you’ll have to scroll down a ways.  It is right after the story about Ralph Stanley.

      And thanks to all for y’all for reading my blog.  The best thing to come out of my blog is all my new friends, and I appreciate every one of you for the insights you have shared with me.

the link is:

Dr. B

Lonely Ain’t Allowed- the Bluegrass Way

March 29, 2009

        I just got in off  ‘the road.’  How my friends do it on a regular basis is beyond me.  We didn’t have far to go at all, and we are tired.  Still, we had a fine time of it.

         John Hartford used to say bluegrass was America’s last small town.  Everyone knows everyone, and you don’t have to lock your doors.  I always did like John, and I think he was right.

        We went to Lorraine Jordan’s Carolina Road festival this weekend, and John thoughts came to mind.  Lorraine is a successful business woman, but she also maintains a regular band.  They play most weekends.  In spite of that schedule she shakes and howdys with folks like she’s got all day.  It’s the bluegrass way.

          We don’t allow lonely in bluegrass.  If you know three chords and have a guitar and a capo you can join in.  You’ll learn the unspoken etiquette.  The inner circle will be red hot young’uns like Josh Goforth, or silky singers like Jerry Butler.  Guys like Doc here have been around so long they get to hang in there too.  (But I’d better not give up my day job.  These guys are good.) 

        Even the beginners are encouraged to participate.  If it is a real hot session that might play on the periphery till they get their feet wet, but they are more than welcome.

        All that is required is to love the music.  One fellow might be a mechanic, the next a teacher, then maybe a business person like Lorraine or an English Professor.  The bluegrass crowd is so equal opportunity they even will let a stuffy old Doc in the mix.    

        Many times in my career people have asked how I have maintained my serenity.  After all, in my line of work friends get cancer and folks die.  I can take it to heart and I fret over all of them. 

        My answer has been the same for many years. First, the Good Lord hasn’t just been my copilot; He’s my Captain.  It was not possible to stay out of trouble as a Doc all these years without a lot of prayers to come up with the right answers.  I don’t believe it was just luck.  Heck even Tom Bailey from med school days wasn’t that smart, and I know I’m not.  (Wish I was, though)

         Second I was blessed with a fine family.  My wife and kids are the best, and have put up with a bizarre schedule over the years.

         But today I want to make sure you know that my music has played a large role in keeping me sane.  (I hear ya, who said you were, Doc?)  The only way I know to thank all my friends in bluegrass is to keep on promoting them until they are least as big as NASCAR, and that is what I am gonna do.

        I opened a FaceBook account this weekend, and I was astounded how many old music friends I was able to contact in 24 hours.  Some I hadn’t picked a note with in a decade.  We took up right where we’d left off just like you would an old college roommate. 

        So, if you have even a remote interest in traditional music, or just want to learn about a good group of people, I hope you’ll take a look at modern bluegrass.  Tell ’em old Doc Bibey sent ya.  Most of them know me at least a little.  C0me shake and howdy.  In bluegrass lonely ain’t allowed.

Dr. B

Top Secret V.P. shake up to be announced

September 12, 2008

        I, Tommy B. Bibey, have it on good authority that a major Presidential Party announcement is imminent.  The top secret selection of a new V.P. choice is slated for release this weekend, Saturday, September 13th, in Brevard, N.C. 

       Sam Bush, multiple award winning mandolinist, and here-to-fore (but not for long) thwarted Presidential aspiree plans to announce his surprise choice for running mate of (insert drum roll here)  ta-dah…

        Tim O’Brien!!

        If they win, I’m gonna put in for Surgeon General.  I am confident they’ll want a mandolin doc in the Cabinet, or at least one who’d carry the case to gigs, anyway.  I hope they’ll pick me and y’all will support me.

        Gotta crunk up the old Neuse River converted school bus and hit the road.  We’ve got a gig and they say you can only get ten gallons of gas at a time this week-end.  It might take us a while to get there.  Not to fear, though.  Part of Sam’s platform is a fuel tax break for working bluegrass bands.  Talk to you Monday.

Dr. B

This advertisement sponsored by the Bluegrass Party

Doc Watson update

July 12, 2008

        The Bluegrass Blog posted an update on Doc Watson today.  Doc had some minor surgery, but is doing fine, and should recover completely.  The post was from Jack Lawrence, who has played guitar alongside Doc for many years.

        Doc’s Doc commented that Doc was 85, but had the body of a 50 year old.  I had to add that not only was that true, but Doc has the brain of a 35 year old, and a soul and spirit that are timeless. 

        One time I had the privilege to open a show for Doc.  I got to sit backstage and talk and pick for a while.  I told Doc he was one of the players who had kept me going in life.  Many a night I drove to the hospital and back home dog tired, but made it in listening to the likes of Doc Watson.

        He said, “Son, thank you for telling me that.  That’s why we play this music.”  It made my year.  What a memory.  Man, I’d have paid to open that show.  Not only is Doc Watson a fine performer, he is as genuine a human being as you will ever run into.  

        I have many favorites, but Doc might be the all time most sincere and authentic traditional musician I know.  It bears re-quoting Wayne Benson.  “When Doc sings, I believe every word.”  Right on, Wayne.  Doc is the best. 

        Jack says Doc is already on the mend, and I sure am glad to hear it.  Get well soon, Doc!

        Card and letters can be sent to Doc via the Bluegrass Blog:

        The Bluegrass Blog

        P.O. Box 1069

        Pulaski, Virginia 24301

Dr. B

News Flash- New Coffee and Bluegrass Blog

February 9, 2008

        O.K. folks, this is a find.  Some cat has started up a blog on North Carolina coffee shops where they play bluegrass and old time music.  I mean the man even digs Andy Griffith.  My Lord this is good.

        The only down side is now the Murphy to Manteo drive time has doubled for old Dr. B, ’cause I’m gonna have to take ’em all in. 

        He’s on my blog roll at  If you come through N.C. and plan to stop for a cup of java, take a look at his site.  You are bound to find one that suits your liking. 

        Tell ’em Dr. Bibey sent ya.

Dr. B

Fiction and Truth

November 27, 2007

          As far as I know, my blog is the only physician bluegrass fiction writer’s weblog on the net.  If there is another, I hope folks will let me know. 

        I recently learned there is a English Professor bluegrass blog out there, and I reckon it might be the only one of those too.  Only difference is instead of tall tales, he is writing about the facts.

        I haven’t known anybody from above the Mason Dixon Line to have as much interest in the South since Sherman cruised through Atlanta a few years back.  Lord have mercy, an English Professor of all people, in an extensive study of the Sandhills indigenous population, has stumbled upon the bluegrass circle of Dr. Bibey, Moose Dooley, Darrell, and the rest of the gang.  I think he found us through my cousin from Pecan Grove, N.C. (Mama’s side of the family six times removed.)

         I don’t know exactly what sparked all this- maybe he is doing a research paper or something, but I checked out his blog, and it is for real.  As a matter of fact, I don’t think any college English professor has ever figured out as much about our music as this man.  His blog can be accessed at Ted Lehmann’s Bluegrass, Books, and Brainstorms, and I found it very authentic. 

        I believe he is a Professor too.  I diagrammed out some of his sentences and as opposed to country doctor fractured syntax and garbled grammar, they are spot on, as best I can tell.

        Chech him out on my blogroll.  His is the finest English Professor Bluegrass Blog in the history of the free world.

Dr. B