Having been away for a full year, we are looking forward to being with families and age-old friends. It’s kind of funny how time has flown down here for us. We both have been very involved with music since we first arrived in the Afton/Greeneville area of Tennessee and even more so since our move to the Erwin/Johnson City region. It’s funny, but I wanted to visit this area so that I could work on a second volume to my banjo book, and I’ve been playing so much banjo, while here, I haven’t had the time to work on the book!
Bluegrass music is truly a way of life down here. Many, many people eat, sleep and live Bluegrass every moment of their lives. In fact, their whole lives are centered round the music to the absolute exclusion of many other aspects of life. They are focused on Bluegrass, period!
Having moved here for the express purpose of studying Bluegrass from these Southern musicians, of course just about all I’ve done is eat, sleep and pick Bluegrass, too. Probably, mainly for this reason, Mary and I have fit in very well with the Bluegrass culture down here. We are loved by many, many people; people who do not want us to go back to New York for fear we’ll move back up there and leave a hole in their lives after having made such beautiful friendships.
Mary absolutely loves this eastern Tennessee region for its sheer beauty. She has taken thousands of photos and carries her camera faithfully nearly everywhere she goes.
Since moving here a year ago, I now know over 195 musician friends by first and last name and several dozen more by first name only. It took me 60 years up North to gather that many musician friends! I feel so privileged to know so many wonderful musicians both in the North Country and here in the South. Music truly is the universal language and the South is particularly full of “students” of such a language. In fact, “Bluegrass” was born in the South and the traditional form is kept alive and well by so many of our friends down here.
While heading north, we plan to attend Ted and Brenda Wrench’s Bluegrass festival in Coventryville, NY. I’ll be playing fiddle in Ted’s band on Saturday night of the festival. His band is called “Wrench’s Wranglers”. I’ve played several times in this band and I consider it an honor to be included. Ted and Brenda are super wonderful people.
We’ll be staying with our dear friends Donnie and Pat Perkins when we finally arrive in upstate NY. I”ve been looking so forward to seeing Donnie again to talk fiddle, fiddle, fiddle, and Mary is looking forward to catching up with Pat. They’ll put together an evening of musician friends all getting together and we’re really looking forward to that, too.
There are so many others to see that this blog would be a mile long. As we travel around, we expect internet service to be random and sporadic, so the website www.frederickwarner.com may seem kind of quiet from time to time, but rest assured we’ll be back with lots more pictures and news of our adventures.
So, we’ll be back North for about 3 weeks and then return to this hotbed of Bluegrass music and I’m quite sure we’ll meet another couple of hundred musicians in the upcoming year. Maybe, just maybe, someday I’ll be able to get busy on my second volume of banjo instrumentals, if I can only put the thing down for a while.