The net is a strange–sometimes a hyperstrange– environment for a guy that grew up on Dick Tracey, Mr. Wizard and Gunsmoke, but I’ve met wonderful folks on-line, and of course love the freedom and randominity of the whole idea. I hope those of you who have already purchased Bluegrass have enjoyed the read. It was my humble hope to capture some of the “Wild-Wild West” realities that make up the unterverld* of the bluegrass subculture, which tends to be an amazing amalgam of computer geeks, deisel mechanics, doctors, truck drivers, cleaning ladies, all melded together by the music, oh, and especially by the musicians of this most excellent genre.
I was at an old-time C&W concert last month, playing,working sound, drinking beer and talking with the pedal steel and guitar players that were kind of my idols, or at least idoletes, back in the 70’s. These guys still play, and they play pretty damn well, considering they have to jockey all that gear. (I carried one guy’s amp up three flights of stairs. Them things is seriously heavy. One of my arms is still longer than the other, which is fine as long as I am walking sideways to the left on a hill.) Anyway, I dug that they were still playing, still into the whole band dynamics thing, which is in itself a sort of study in randomosity. Then, when they were on break, I asked the guitar player if he wanted to join us on a tune or two.
That’s common courtesy in bluegrass circles, at least in circles of good breeding, you might say.
He said, ” Awww, thanks so much. I always loved bluegrass songs!”
“Great!” I said. “So you’ll play?”
And he said, “Hell, no! We’d play that if we could, believe me! But we can’t, so just get back up there and rip one out for us.”
I tell all of you this story for many reasons. First, because I can, and because it was suuuuuuuuch a relief to get this lil book out there that I have written not at all the last three months. AH! ALso, I’d like to try and remind America that we are suffering death by ‘burbicide, and all this local loveliness is being scrubbed out by some guys that might be called, oh, I don’t know, Maurey or Howard or maybe even John Madden.
I always admired that turkey he had, though.
Anyway, I thought that the absolute best thing any able-bodied and right thinking American can do is go out and hire, study, talk to, walk with, skate, bike, sleep with or adopt a bluegrass musician.
Here’s ten reasons why this is a good idea:
(We’re going in order and hoping to reach ten. If Letterman wants it, he can retype it hisself. I’m tired of his s*#t!)
1. They sleep on the ground voluntarily.
2. They eat sparingly and consume a wide array of animal and vegetable products and bi-products.
3. They often give you the whole bed, the bathroom, the entire kitchen, the whole….everything! Every weekend in the summer!
4. Two words: SHine!
5. They are very good with their hands.
6. Bluegrassers never steal. **
7. When they have jobs, they work hard.
8. They are extremely low maintainance. BLuegrassers have been know to survive days with only rancid slim-jims and skunky beer, long as “them strangs hold!”.
9. They are known for their fanatic devotion to hospitality, even if it kills you, like when you have been peacefully sawing logs after being on your feet for thirty hours, all snug like a bug in a rug asleep and buried under twelve feet of comforter on a night that’s freakin’ twenty degrees, and they bravely find you and wake you up and dig you out and then say that, seeing as how you’re already awake and grumpy and pissed, you might as well sing that sad song you just learned about being cold and grumpy and pissed. The really fast one.
10. They songs about real people with real care and real heart and soul. And they always have a cold beer.^***
* Fake German spoken by Madeline Kahn in “Young Frankin—-STEEEN!”, it means “under, ummmmmm…verld”. hhe.
**They will not keep a $40,000 instrument you left in their campsite after drinking number 4 above, even if you have no idea where it is, and they know you know. They will, however, give an old lady 40 bucks for the same instrument, even if she is eating catfood, thinking, no doubt, that they may soon be able to enjoy that same experience.
^Yeah yeah–that’s eleven things. So what? There’s three kinds of people in this world–the ones that can count and those who can’t. He. (Con’t in *** below)****
***Unless it’s that bunch up there in 8 above. But warm Piels ain’t that bad.
If you have Zantac.
****Beats me. I never put footnotes on footnotes before. But I expect that is what people have come to expect from a scholar such as I. Am.
Tune in next week for Bluegrass Medical tips from a dad-blamed expert!