Archive for the ‘church music’ category

For Your Sunday Afternoon Listening Pleasure

December 6, 2009

        Y’all go over to my blogroll and click on Darin and Brooke Aldridge’s site.  They have a new CD due out soon and some free clips to preview the release. I’m sure they will make your Sunday afternoon very pleasant.  I plan to follow-up and tell you more about them soon.  Remember old Doc got the scoop for you on this one, ’cause more news will break soon.

Dr. B


A Mountain Church

October 28, 2009

        It’s easy to find.  Go down I-40 to Marion.  Take 221 North.  Just after a fancy golf course on the left the Red Barn Tree Farm will be on your right.  Around Christmas you can cut your own.  You’ll go up a big mountain.  Right past the turnoff to Perry Woodie’s home place you’ll go through a squiggly stretch of road and then under the Blue Ridge Parkway.   Turn left at the gas station/grocery store and go four miles on New Three Mile Road.  On the sign it is called ‘The Lula Belle and Scotty Wiseman Highway.’

        After you go by Old Three Mile Road turn right on 19E.  Go through Burleson country.  This is the home of Jason Burleson, the banjo voice of Blue Highway, and also home to N.C. State and NBA basketball star Tommy Burleson.  Harvey High once played against Tommy.  We practiced using brooms to swat away jump shots. It wasn’t enough.  We lost, but at least got ’em to overtime. 

        You’ll see a brook on your left.  The water splashes across smooth rocks.  It winds along with the road.  Follow it.  The church is about a mile past a school bus on the left.

        It is a small red brick church.  The choir sings in a shaped note style.  Young girls in print dresses with names like Brooke or boys named Cory in new pressed suits sing with power and purpose.  They don’t need microphones.  The Aldridges will play and sing the gospel.  The preacher preaches the truth.  They baptize in the brook.  Winter’s coming on so get saved now; the water’s already chilly.  More important, we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.  The mountain folks know we aren’t promised anything but eternity, but that is all the promise they need.  They are serene.

        After the service come back down the mountain by Spruce Pine.  Take the left at the big flashing light.  As you wind down the grade you’ll see the lights twinkle in the valley.  Go slow and take them in.  Be careful, the turns are sharp.  At times you feel like you are gonna double back and head back up the hill.  Matter of fact, you’ll wish you could, ’cause the Mountain Church and its people are a blessing.  You won’t be the same after your trip. 

Dr. B

God Bless the Sound Man

April 19, 2009

        There is a reason you hear all the bluegrass groups thank the sound man at shows.  They can make or break you, and for the acoustic crowd, if you can’t hear you are lost.

        Somehow our sound wasn’t right at sound-check this morning, and our regular man was gone.  The volunteers had a tough time trouble shooting it.  I played my solid body electric mando today, and a man who doesn’t read music and plays a electric mandolin without a monitor is not what you want to hear.

        I could feel my blood pressure going up.  I clenched my teeth.  Our music minster reads me well.  “Sorry, Doc.  They’ll get it going.”

       “I know.  Man, I am mad at myself for being upset.  This is the Lord’s House.  I gotta calm down.  It ain’t right to be mad in here.”

       “I understand.”

       “At the same time, though, we want good sound at a bluegrass show, so shouldn’t we want to the same for the Good Lord?  We’re supposed to bring Him our best.”

       “Doc, you’re just like me.  Intense.”

       “More than what people know.”

        “I know.”

         “Thanks.  Tell you what brother.  If the mando monitor doesn’t come on, I’ll stand up here, smile, and act like I’m playing my heart out.  I won’t play a note, though.  It’d ruin the service.  Besides, the singers and the other instruments will cover it O.K.”

         “That’s the spirit, Doc.”

         And that is exactly what I did for the entire first number, ‘Here I am to Worship.’  No monitor, and no mando.  About two bars into the second song, the man at the mixing board gave me a thumbs up.  ‘Let there be sound,’ I thought.  After a couple bars I was in the spirit and felt like I played O.K.

        An elderly lady approached me after church.  “Doctor.  I must tell you I was against those hillbilly instruments at first.  But I have come to enjoy them.”

        “Thank you, Ma’am.”

         “The music was excellent today.  I especially like to hear you play ‘Here I am to Worship.’  That little guitar sounds so nice.”

         “Yes, ma’am.”  I shook her hand.  “I’m glad you enjoyed it.”

         When she left, I laughed at myself, and felt all the intensity drain right out of me.  Alone, I ain’t very important.  God bless the sound man.  He worked a miracle today.  I’m sorry I was mad at him for a moment there.

Dr. B

Doyle Dykes

March 19, 2009

        If you get a chance to see Doyle Dykes, please take my advice and go.  He is the best country finger style guitarist I have ever heard, and many say he is the best in the world.  (For all you folks in Australia Tommy Emmanuel is tough too.  He and Doyle are working on a CD together.)  

           As impressive as his guitar skills are, and they border on unbelievable, what impresses me even more is what kind of man he is.  He has worked hard to be the best guitarist he can be, but he knows his gift is not from human hands.  It shows in his  humility.  He gives his Maker all the credit. 

        Doc Watson is my favorite flat-picker.  He once said he hoped he’d be remembered as a good man rather than a flashy guitar player.  Doyle Dykes is beyond fabulous as a player, and my favorite finger style guitarist.  My guess is he would agree with Doc Watson.  It seems the great ones are forever humble.  They understand the Good Lord chose them for His reasons and their job is to follow.

        I am pretty fair country picker, and I have seen a number of great players in my day.  But when Doyle soars though ‘How Great Thou Art” it is so beautiful it brings tears.  When his lovely little daughter Haley sings ‘Amazing Grace’ as he backs her up on guitar they flow again.  I can’t help it, it is that inspiring.  They do country and jazz, and originals, and medleys; I could go on and on; go check them out.  

          I play music and listen to it because I love it.  I see a lot of terrible things in my work; friends with cancer and seizures and heart attacks and death.  I do it because I was O.K. at reading books and filling in those little bubbles on standardized tests, and because in my prayers I felt it was what God had in mind for me. 

        I think God gave me music so I could have a safe place to escape all that reality for just a moment.  Doyle Dykes takes me there with his work.  For me what he plays is not earthly reality but heaven sent.  

        I try to catch Doyle and Haley whenever they are in our area.  After I listen to them I am inspired to be a Doctor for another year.  I like to think that is some small part of why God put them here on earth.  When  I hear them I know I was meant to be a Doc instead of a musician, and I am always content with the life that was chosen for me.  And with their music they forever inspire me to be the best Doc I can be. 

        They make my burdens easier to carry long after they’ve gone back to Tennessee.  Best wishes and safe travels guys.  Keep inspiring us.

Dr. B


Doyle Dykes website is:

He travels for Taylor guitars:

Check out the Doyle Dykes signature model, and next time you see him ask about the white rose inlaid on the headstock of every Doyle Dykes signature Taylor guitar.

Saving Souls at the Roadhouse

January 19, 2009

        I am going to dedicate this post to my Australian pal Ms. Karen, who is on my blogroll.  She is a young lady married to a minister in Queensland.  They play Praise Band tunes in their church similar to the ones we play in Harvey County.  She posted one she wrote and I got out my mandolin and played right along.  The Internet is a cool item.  When I was growing up, such communication was impossible.


        Yesterday at church we had a rocking session.  The sending forth tune was ‘Amazing Grace,’ but we played it close to a roadhouse style.  I played my little solid body electric mandolin.  It looks like a ’52 Telecaster guitar that stayed in the drier too long.  (Check out Steve Ryder mandolins- mine is the EM-24)  Just like it’s big brother Tele, it has one pick-up that is downright twangy; an characteristic chicken picking kinda sound you can’t miss.

        At practice we rocked a bit too hard, and our music minister reeled us in.  “Now guys,” he said.  “That sounds like you’re playing down at the Tri County Bar and Grill.”  (One of those places where chicken wire  protects the stage from flying beer bottles; I’ve played there in years past.)  “It’s O.K. to go right up to the edge, but you gotta tone it down for the preacher a bit.  Remember, we are in church.”

           I knew he was right.  One time one of the ladies at the Country Club complained we sounded like some kinda honky-tonk band, which I took as a high compliment.  “Awh come on,” I said to our band leader.  “Can’t we at least play right outside the Roadhouse and try to save a few souls as they walk out the door?  After all, who better than a sinner like me to try to relate to a fellow human being?” 

        “Hmn.  I guess you’re right Doc.  Martin Luther himself said we shouldn’t let the devil have all the good music.”  He turned us loose and the Preacher dug it.  Afterwards a band-mate came up to me.  “You know Doc, I could play ‘Amazing Grace’ with you a thousand times, and I’d get something new every time.”

        “Yeah, me too brother.  I love your sax work.”

        “I tell you, a part of me would like to play more and take it to a higher level, but I love my life at home too much to leave it.”

        “I understand.  That’s why I pick for the Lord too.  I love to play, but I was called to be a Doc first and an artist second, and I’m a homebody too.  My prayers were answered when I got to have my bluegrass band and play here in church with you guys.  I feel like we get a little bit of His work done with this music.

         “Me too, brother Bibey.”

         Jerry grew up to be an accountant, but this is a cat who spent his youth as a strolling clown in a saxophone quartet at a theme park.  He was the donkey in the church play last year.  He ain’t one bit afraid to have some fun, so he is a kindred spirit.  I guess it is natural we’d see it the same way.

        But what even made me happier was I noticed that little lady clapping and smiling.  Her husband died a decade ago.  She’s had very little fun in her life, so if it made her day, that made the early morning fine tuning all worth it.

        I’ll go back to acoustic mandolin for a few weeks.  I don’t want to get tossed out of the Garden of Eden now.  I might have to go back to playing Roadhouses, and this is a much better gig.

Dr. B

Singing the Gospel

November 5, 2007

        Darrell and Summer, the girl singer, sang the gospel last night at Maple Springs Church.  How anyone could come away from there and not be a believer is beyond me.  Summer has always been a powerful singer, but now the young’un has taken up mandolin, and did a fine Skaggs sounding break on “River of Jordan.”  She must have a good teacher.

        Darrell and Ed “Lightning” Littlerod did a new old brother duet on “Stormy Waters” that made the hair stand up on the back of my neck.  It was one of those spare arrangements with just guitar and the two singers.  Fine work. 

        The dobro man was right on, and told some funny country tales.  Banjo Bryan nailed his usual professional performance, and the boys let old Doc play a couple tunes. 

        It was all good.  Get out and see ’em sometime, and tell ’em Doc Bibey sent you.

         Tis Monday am, gotta go turn into a Doc.  See ‘ya.

     Dr. B

Praise Band

November 4, 2007

        I am a lucky mandolin player.  Our church not only allows, but encourages acoustic music.  Hey, Martin Luther himself said music was next to theology.  I figure he knew a little about the subject, so I reckon some of this is bound to be the Lord’s work.

         Our band is not all bluegrass.  In fact, except for my wife on the bass and me on mandolin, everyone else is from a different genre.  I believe diversity yields strength, and  gives us a unique sound.

     Our leader on the keys is a board certified Music Minister, (he still has hair) the guitar man is from rock ‘n roll, and the drummer is a veteran beach music and big band performer.  Throw in a genuine Hawaiian koa uke, some church chior singers, and a paper trained (classical) violinist, and you have an interesting mix.  It all works fine, except one day the violinist had a solo and asked if I would turn the pages for her.  I looked at her and asked how you know when to turn ’em, and she realized I had been playing along by ear all this time.

        We are so liberal they even let me sing once a year.  I have a special supersensitve mike donated by Johnny’s Jewelry and Loan.  (They call it the Shure “Barney Fife” special.)

      Would love to hear from Praise Bands out there to see which instruments you use, and what music selections you are doing.

Dr. B