Today’s guest post is from Cliff Searcy. He is a fellow mandolinist and a true bluegrasser. Cliff is a teacher and former football coach who now teaches English Lit. He is genuine tough guy but one with a heart for kids and the arts. He and I have a school/bookstore/mando gig scheduled in Hendersonville in mid-October.
Cliff plays with a fine band named Appalachian Fire. If you are in the Asheville area, you can catch them at the Fiddling Pig restaurant. (home base for Balsam Range; great music, ‘cue, and fixings)
OK , so it’s Friday the 13,th but I’m not superstitious. I’m just figuring that Dr. Bibey gave me this date to allow his English teaching, bluegrass pickin’, ex-football coach buddy a chance to use one of his big words. “Triskaidekaphobia,” the fear of the number 13.
That’s not much of a segue into the topic of this guest blog unless you understand the relationship between this 275 pound ex-lineman and his friend, the country doctor. How could two folks from such different backgrounds come to be “bluegrass brothers?” Call it destiny with a little help from FaceBook. With so many of the FaceBook friends, we make an acquaintance and seldom, if ever, correspond. However there was an instant bond between Dr. B and me because, as he likes to put it, “We’re both true bluegrass.” I’m not sure all that the term implies, but I know it has something to do with honoring the tradition of this music we love.
One of the enduring traditions of Bluegrass, is its recognition of faith through gospel songs. In the example of Bill Monroe, most every set list for a bluegrass performance will include a few gospel numbers. I recently heard a famous musician say that many of the same folks who attend a Bluegrass festival this weekend will be at a Southern Gospel quartet singing next weekend. Both genres take heart-felt lyrics and deliver them with passion. For those of you who aren’t so familiar, may I suggest a little YouTube searching for the following:
Bill Monroe “ A Beautiful Life”
Flatt and Scruggs “ Crying Holy Unto the Lord”
Paul Williams and the Victory Trio “ Sweet Beulah Land”
Ricky Skaggs “I’m Ready to Go”
IIIrd Tyme Out “How Great Thou Art”
Dailey and Vincent “By the Mark”
Doyle Lawson and Quick Silver “Little Mountain Church”
Rhonda Vincent “Home Coming”
Darin and Brooke Aldridge “The Last Thing on His Mind”
This is just a small sampling of my favorites. There are so many more wonderful artists and songs to be explored. For so many folks these songs have a way of warming the heart.
Note from Dr. B Tough guys can have a heart too, and I’m proud to call Cliff my friend. The best thing writing has done for me is help me find the people out there of like mind, and Cliff is sure one of ’em. His music choices are spot on. Any yeah, I ain’t a bit scared of Friday the 13th, ’cause I got the Good Lord and the tough guys on my team.