Hooked on Bluegrass
My first memory of any kind was being in my Mother's arms at a fiddler's convention (contest) in NC watching folks compete, one band consisting of my Dad and my Mom's brothers. I must have been maybe 3 years old. My Dad played mandolin and I plucked around his all the time I'm told. At around five, my dad took me to see Monroe and I was hooked. I told him then that's what I wanted to do so after that I started playing everyday. I'd stand behind them every rehearsal and work at it.
I began playing contests myself at around 7 yrs of age. I enjoyed the contests and the competition and I know that inspired me to work harder. It was nothing for me to practice six hrs a day, sometimes more. I was really into Bobby Osborne, Bill Monroe and Jethro Burns to start with and then later really got fired up after seeing Bobby in person and talking with him.
I got my first semi-pro gig at 14 in a band that also included a 16 year old Sammy Shelor. By this time I was getting musical ideas from all kinds of music and all kinds of instruments! I learned every Tony Rice guitar break I could on the mandolin. At the age of 19 I got my first really pro gig with The New Quicksilver around 1985. In 1990 I helped form 3rd Tyme Out and around 1997 formed the group BlueRidge and have been here ever since, still working to be the best mandolin player I can be after 35 years.
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