Posted tagged ‘journey of the people’s mandolin’

The Journey of the People’s Mandolin July 2010

July 21, 2010

        About a week ago I got  a note from Tim And Vicki at Strawberry Park in Preston, Connecticut. They reported the People’s Mandolin would change hands at the Grey Fox festival held July 15-18, 2010.

        This was most appropriate.  The first proof copy of “The Mandolin Case” was delivered to us in New England at Strawberry Park. There we ran into Lisa Husted from Grey Fox. She was the first person outside of my immediate circle to recognize the relationship of music and healing in the story.  (Right away she became just as Harvey County to me as all the rest of us.)

        I wish I could have been at Grey Fox. The release of the book has been a whirlwind, and I found out real quick I wasn’t gonna be able to be everywhere I wanted to be. However the next best thing is to hear from them. Here’s the note I just got from Isabelle who passed the mandolin on this weekend.

        “I had the honor of having the Peoples Mandolin from June 1st until July 18th. I had Sarah Jarosz and Ron Thomason of “Dry Branch Fire Squad” sign it. I was sad to give it away, but I’m glad someone also gets to enjoy it for a month. I want to thank Tim and Vicky for picking me to play this mandolin for a month. I also want to tell Dr. Tom Bibey that this was a really cool idea and thank him for recognizing mandolin players and making them feel extra special. GOOD LUCK ZOEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”


       Isabelle and Zoey are cute kids, and I’m glad they are part of the Journey. One person at a time, we’re gonna keep true music alive and well.

        After all, Lisa is right. Music has the power to heal better than pills for this old Doc, and we need to pass it on.

Dr. B


The Journey of the People’s Mandolin, June 2010

June 15, 2010

        This is my favorite photo from our trip to New England. It is from my friend Ted Lehmann, blogger and Northeastern bluegrass photojournalist. It’s one of those shots that captures so much of what I hoped to say with my writing.

 Here are three people of diverse ages and backgrounds, and yet through art they have a common bond. It’s like I said at Strawberry Park. “I know you must wonder what an old doctor from North Carolina and a pretty young girl from New England could possibly have in common. The answer is we both love mandolins, we both love the same music, and we both have families who love us. This makes us the lucky people.” 

        All of us who are that fortunate need to do what we can to pass it on, and I hope the “Journey of the People’s Mandolin” will be some small part of that process.

        Isabelle, wherever you are out there, when you pass it on get your folks to take a photo and send it in. Work hard and play hard. When the tough questions in life come around turn to your parents and grandparents to search for the answers.  See you down the bluegrass road, and take care kid.

See more photos at Ted’s blog:

Dr. B

The Strawberry Park Kid’s Camp “Teach Your Children Well”

June 14, 2010

        Today I wanted to update you on “The Journey of the People’s Mandolin.” On its second leg of the journey it stopped at the kid’s music camp at the Strawberry Park Festival in Preston, Connecticut.  We were there when Irene Lehmann handed if off to Isabelle, who was one of the camp children.

        I got an e-mail this weekend from Vicki and Tim, who were some of the lead instructors at the camp. They have a fine legacy in progress in New England; a very organized effort to pass the music on their children. All of us who love the music, and our children, can learn something from them.   

        I couldn’t help but contemplate what kind of world we might have if we all set out to teach our children music and not the hate and aggression that is so often passed along. I guess we have to have our dreams and our art to keep going. I believe they will make the world a touch kinder for their efforts. I posted some of the pics I took of the kids below. There are more on Vicki and Tim’s website at http://www. and also at Ted Lehmann’s blog. His address is:

        The book website is now google-able, and they tell me the Amazon link to order will be operational soon, so stay tuned. 

       All my best to Vicki, Tim, Isabelle, and the other camp children and instructors. You have my respect for your preservation of traditional music, and for your wisdom to “teach your children well.”

Dr. B

Journey of The People’s Mandolin Update

April 24, 2010

        The People’s Mandolin is ready for its long journey home.  As I said I’m gonna drop it off at MerleFest to start its voyage.  There it will be picked up by Ted and Irene Lehmann. They have had some discussion with Gabrielle Gray of The International Bluegrass Music Museum about the best way to send it off, so we’ll see what they have in store for it.

        I know there are skeptics from the non bluegrass world. They say it won’t make it. I’m betting it does. Ms. Gray and Lehmanns think it will too. You see, John Hartford used to say bluegrass was the last American small town where everybody knows everybody; a place where you can leave your doors unlocked and windows wide open. I am not naive. I know the world has changed. I also know bluegrass is growing and we have new people all the time. Still, my bet is we haven’t changed that much.

        Just think, if the case makes it five years and winds up back at MerleFest in 2015, we all have a chance at a tiny corner of the world’s biggest bluegrass museum. I can envision it in a shadow box with a legend to identify each geographic area represented by the travels of the case. It could even be set up with one of those little gadgets where you could punch in a number to hear a certain clip. Let’s say Missy Werner from Cincinnati or little Kathy Boyd way out in Portland ran across the mandolin on its journey and logged onto my blog with a YouTube clip of their band at a festival out there. We could turn all those posts over to the museum. Then someday when you see the exhibit of “The People’s Mandolin” and click on clip #73, there they’d be for all time. You’d hear them and learn where all the good festivals were around the country. Pretty cool huh?

        One disclaimer here, though. These are just my early thoughts. Ms. Gray has a museum to run and I’m just a country doctor. How they decide to present it I’ll need to leave entirely to their judgment.

         Of course all this is just a bunch of dreaming of old Doc. If the naysayers turn out to be right and the case is lost, it can’t wind up in the museum at all, so we’ll see. But again, I like its odds.

        By the way, folks have already written to tell me the page for “The Journey of The People’s Mandolin” is hard to find.  Right now it is in the upper right hand corner of my blog just below “Home,” “About Dr. Bibey,” “Disclaimer,” and “The Charitable Arm.” A web site is in development for “The Mandolin Case” and will have a link or a page devoted to the “Journey of  The People’s Mandolin.”

         And also I wanted to tell you I have seen the layout of my book. Very, very, cool. I can’t help but believe it is gonna be good for bluegrass. I say this because already folks from my other worlds (medicine, law, business, etc.) want to know where my serenity comes from. They come out of environments that are often hyper-competitive, aggressive, or just downright mean. When they step into my music world they have trouble believing it could be real. After a while they realize it is, and more than one has decided we bluegrass folks are onto something.

        We coulda all told ’em that a long time ago, but some folks are slow to believe. One at a time though, they’re coming around.

Dr. B

Message in a Mandolin Bottle- The Journey of The People’s Mandolin

April 19, 2010

        As a kid I was fascinated with the idea of messages and far-away lands. I was just a country kid who loved to read books and had a big imagination. In reality, my odds of a Tahiti tour were about as good as Jimmy Stewarts’ character George Bailey in “A Wonderful Life,” but it didn’t stop me from being a dreamer at times.  I always wanted to put a message in a bottle, toss it in the ocean and see where it would wind up.

        As an adult I haven’t changed much. The life I chose was the right one for me, but it kept me close to home.  I was good with books and people and a country doc was just the right career. I loved music but didn’t have the talent or the temperament for the road. But at times I still dream. My wife and I plan to see some of the country before we get too old to go, and we hope my book will be our tour ticket to find all the right people.

        The other day I came up with an idea I want to run by my readers.  Even though I’m an old man, deep inside I’m a kid who still wants to float that message out to far-flung places I’ve never seen. I decided for me it had to be a message in a mandolin bottle.

        I’m sure you must wonder what I mean. Who ever heard of a message in a mandolin bottle? I guess it would take a fellow who wrote a book called “The Mandolin Case” to dream it up. Here’s how I’m gonna send it out there.

        I have an old Kentucky ‘A’ style mandolin I’ve had for many years. Sometime back a luthier friend dressed out the frets and replaced a broken bridge. The pick guard was lost years ago. It is not any kind of investment grade mandolin but it is very playable. I decided this mandolin was the perfect vehicle to float out my message. It is the people’s mandolin.

        The people’s mandolin will begin its journey at MerleFest, 2010. There I’m gonna turn it over to some picker who lives far away and ask them to kick off the journey.  After they play it and sign it, I want them to pass it on the someone else.

        There are only a few prerequisites to participation in the message. I ask that no one keep it more than one month. I want each person who plays it to sign the mandolin before they pass it on to the next person. You may pass it on to anyone you wish, but I hope you will try to choose true bluegrassers. You know who they are.

         I would like for folks to put on a case sticker to promo their geographic area or favorite band. Also, I want you to log onto the “Journey of the People’s Mandolin” page and leave me a note and picture of your neck of the woods so I can post it on my blog to document the mandolin’s travels. If my mandolin shows up at your favorite festival maybe a picture of you holding it beside a banner to promo your event would help your cause. My blog now has readers all over the world, so it can’t hurt.

        When you find it, leave me a post as to its whereabouts. I’ll plug it into one of those maps with the dots to show where it is and we can watch it criss-cross the country. Who knows, maybe I can convince one of my favorite bands to take it abroad when they tour Europe or destinations even farther removed.

         I hope at times it might serve to introduce kids to the instrument. If your grandchild were to borrow my little mandolin and learn “You are My Sunshine” off my double stop lesson of April 14, 2010, that would be very cool. I would want to hear about anything like that, and would love to post links to You-tube videos of this kind of thing.

        It is hope that my mandolin message in a bottle will find me new bluegrass friends and serve as a scout of sorts to show me and my wife the path to festivals and bluegrass events around the country.

        As the mandolin makes it journey if you are uncertain of its authenticity, you can take it to the record table of festival performers to be sure it is the right one. Mandolin pickers like Darin Aldridge, Wayne Benson, Alan Bibey, Mike Marshall, Darren Nicholson, and many others will verify that I am real and the little Kentucky is indeed my mandolin. Buy a CD from them, the road is hard and they make great music. Ask them to slap on one of their case stickers when you see them.

        Pass it on. I would like to get the mandolin back in five years or when I wind up in the nursing home, whichever comes first. But don’t forget, it belongs to the people.  After I get it back I want to donate it to some music museum if anyone will have it. They should, because anyone with any sense should know this music belongs to the people. If we all stick together, no one can take it away from us.

Dr. B