Posted tagged ‘guest post’

Guest Post- Cliff Searcy

August 13, 2010

        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)

Guest Post

        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.


Friday Guest Post- Newsweek and Mark Twain

August 6, 2010

        Okay, so Newsweek didn’t log onto my blog, and yeah Twain didn’t weigh in either. But I promised a guest post each Friday and my blogger this week ran into some commitments. But you gotta give me an “A” for creativity. How else but by physician bluegrass fiction could I get Newsweek and Mark Twain to comment here?

        Check out the August 9, 2010 edition of Newsweek. Twain is on the cover. It reads “The Books Issue: Secrets, Lies, and the American Writer.” If you have even a remote interest in books, publishing, famous authors, or current books this issue is worth the read.

        There is an article on Salinger. As best I can tell he got famous and then became a recluse. I don’t care to become famous. I write to find the other people out there who think somewhat like I do, but I have zero interest in celebrity. As soon as you’re old that’s over and I’m already there. I can’t see any reason to write to find friends, then make a point of being lonely. I’ve watched too many people die all alone, and I have no interest in playing my cards out that way. Critics might say I’m just too gregarious, but I hold my family and friends close and always will. The critics can die alone if they want to, but as an old country doc I don’t recommend it.

        Then there was the Twain article. Like many Americans, Twain’s my Lit hero. I think he also had some ambiguous feelings as to fame. Maybe it’s why he created a pen name. At least in the beginning it gave him some partial anonymity. Perhaps he had an early sense of marketing too, though. Who’d want to read an article by a guy named Samuel Clemens? It’s be like John Smith or something. I’d use a pen name too if mine was that boring.

        Twain wrote with compulsion. He wrote because he had to. The quote I liked the best about Twain was at the end of the article. “When faced with a difficult situation he’d pick up pen and paper and “write his way out of trouble.”

        Sound familiar? As Indie said, it doesn’t take any special talent to be wicked. Anyone can do that. But to be a decent person requires creativity to the point to art. Simple as that.” I learned a lot from Indie. As Irene Lehmann says, “When a man writes like that, there’s a reason.”

        The article titled “Who Needs a Publisher” was so familiar it was down-right spooky. I read a few paragraphs and then checked to see if my Lit agent wrote it. The new publishing paradigm they discuss is exactly as my agent has outlined over the last few years. The old way of doing business doesn’t work, and publishers are going broke. 

        However, the astute can find opportunity in the rubble just as my agent did for me. One man’s trash is another’s treasure. As my man says, “Son, you picked the worst time in history to be a new writer. You also picked the best time.” With the power of the Internet, the little guys in literature are gonna make an end run on the powers that be just as sure as the indies are doing in the music biz. If it empowers the artist I’m all for it.

        The last article was titled “What To Read Now.” I sped read the entire list and many were of interest. They did make one mistake though. I looked it over with great care and they failed to mention “The Mandolin Case.” Given we made it all the way to #1 in the Amazon Country Books category this summer (it was at #4 yesterday) I guess it was just an oversight. (Ha!) Maybe one of my readers can log in at Newsweek and inform them they missed out.

       But even if I’m never on Newsweek’s radar it doesn’t matter. What they gotta understand is I’m on theirs. One should never underestimate country people. They tend to hold their people close and are seldom denied a life of grace and dignity if they pursue it with passion.

          Even though they didn’t give me an honorable mention, I ain’t gonna cancel my subscription. It’s pretty good rag, and one I’ve read a long time. No reason to get my nose outta joint over it. Besides, there’s always 2011 and hope springs eternal.

        Y’all check out my “Tour” page. I’ve got a few new August stops posted. See you out on the road and come visit.

Dr. B