Posted tagged ‘Mandomania’

Thanks To The Journey People

May 8, 2010

        Before I launch into the series of posts on the writer journey, I wanted thank everyone involved in the “Journey of the People’s Mandolin.” I hope it will have a safe trip and wind up in the International Bluegrass Music Museum for its final resting spot.

        Most of all I want to thank my wife and kids. They have tolerated my maniacal doctor/picker/writer lifestyle for years without complaint. They love the music too, and they make my life very good. I couldn’t live without ’em.

       Ted and Irene Lehmann were the first to ask about the journey, and the mandolin is now in their hands. Ted writes one of the biggest independent bluegrass blogs in the world, and his documentation of MerleFest is the most complete I’ve seen. His web address is at:

        Gabrielle Gray heads up the International Bluegrass Music Museum. Ted knew her from his wide travels and got us in touch. She liked the idea for the people’s mandolin journey, and also believes it will make it home safely. Their site is: 

        Merlefest. They kindly granted me backstage access at Mandomania so all the artists I told you about this week could sign the mandolin. The emcee recognized me. “Doc, you’ve been to all of these haven’t you?”

        “Missed one. l couldn’t get call covered in 1990.”

        Merlefest is the granddaddy of acoustic music festivals on the East Coast. It is not all bluegrass, but has a variety of artists; something for everyone. Their address:

        Mike Lane is a professional photographer. I think I’ve seen him at almost every bluegrass event I’ve been to in the Carolinas over the last few years. He took the first shots of “The People’s Mandolin” for archival purposes and will recreate the shoot when the mandolin makes its way back to the Museum.

        Mike’s work is all over the Internet. In a paparazzi age of cold hard light of reality, Mike still opts for subtleties of soft glow early morning sun backlight or old banjo picker’s last tunes in long shadows of dusk. His palate is of burnt siennas instead of browns, and his images stir the imagination rather than slap you up side the head. I’m a snap shot picture taker. Mike is a photographer. His website address is:

        It is unusual for me, but I did post a few pictures today. I thought the Snyder kids were especially cute. One apology. I tried my best to post one of me and wasn’t able to. Maybe I’m a little self-conscious of one green eye and one blue one, or perhaps it was just one reader’s voice in my head.

        He said, “Doc, when you write about Harvey County I can go there in my brain and it takes me away for a minute. I hope you won’t spoil it with too many pictures.”

        Try as I might, I’m not a journalist. You can’t change what you are, and I’m only a physician bluegrass fiction writer who only dabbles in other genres. As the farmer said, “You gotta be what you are or you ain’t what you is.”  

        This week was hectic, and I wanted to document a lot of data in a hurry. But it also brought my purpose into focus. My writer soup has to be slow cook simmered for me to figure out what I want to say. I found it very difficult to create a post each day and still tend to my family and my doctor and mandolin gigs with the balance that satisfies me. I always was a harmony singer. So, come Monday I’m gonna get back to a “two-a-week” format, and start with some thoughts on the writer journey. See you then.

Dr. B