I believe the essence of a person unfolds when he or she is engaged in an optimum experience such as playing Bluegrass music. The consequences of such a complex activity make one feel differently, a feeling that becomes addictive, no doubt as evidenced by the musicians involved in so much music playing around eastern Tennessee. Not only intelligence, but feelings and actions are involved in such an experience. It’s an honor to be surrounded by such wonderful musicians; musicians who play with such feeling as well as talent.
Tuesday night I spent several hours practicing with fellow band members for our 1-hour show (1:30- 2:30 Saturday) in Baileyton at their annual "Baileyton Days" festival. It's always a real special treat to play music with such talented musicians. Band members include: Bob Nelson and Homer Ball on guitars, Charlie Black on bass, Mike Broome on Dobro, and yours truly on banjo and fiddle. These people lay down some serious Bluegrass and I'm honored to be able to play with them.
The 29th of August I played at the Rock Creek Opry Place accompanied by Bill Fernald. Good old Bill entertained for quite a while with many from his endless repertoire. The 30th was busy: we said "Goodbye" to our guests Bill and Sally Fernald from Zephyr Hills, Florida who had stayed with us for a week. Mary and I love them dearly. They're so much fun to "hang out" with. Later the same day, Mary and I were guests at Cooter William's Studio outside of Elizabethton. There we played about 4 hours with Cooter, Jerry White and Harvey Tester. Many, many old songs were played and we all had a great time pickin' and singin'.
September the first was "Yard Sale Day" in Erwin and Mary and I made good use of it and scrambled all over town having the time of our lives. Later, on the same day, I played at the Wellington Place Nursing Home in Johnson City with Ron Duncan and Terry Tester and after a very satisfying meal at "Ryan's", Mary and I went to the Red Barn for an evening of pickin', grinnin' and singin' with our many friends at Burl's. Friday, the second, we drove to Asheville, North Carolina and when we returned we hit the yard sales again and then that evening we hit a Bluegrass Band comprised of students and professors at ETSU that was playing at "Gentleman Jim's" near Jonesboro. Saturday saw us yard-sale-ing again and we finished off the day as specially invited guests at an evening/night party by the Nolichuckey River where the music flowed to the wee hours. What a blast!
Then it was Sunday and time to play at the "Rock Creek Opry" again. A great turnout and some great music, again. Our sincere "Thanks" to our friend Robert Crigger for hosting this weekly event.
Monday, as the result of a scheme hatched by none other than Mary, several of the gang surprised Norma Jean on her Birthday by showing up unannounced at her home with a scrumptous pineapple upsidedown cake and ice cream. Later, after the party, we all found our way back to the Sunshine Market for our weekly jam session. This time we were inside due to the weather. I much prefer inside because there's no road noise from traffic. The mixture of musicians and instruments was PERFECT. The timing was spot on, the tuning was spot on......it all was!
Well, it's Tuesday......now let's see if I can find something to do.............!