Hooked on Bluegrass

David Porter



I grew up in Johnstown Ontario, across the St. Lawrence River from Ogdensburg, NY. I originally got hooked on bluegrass by listening to Country Music Jamboree on WWVA radio, Wheeling WV, with my dad and mom and my older brother, every Saturday night after Hockey Night in Canada. Once in a while we also picked up WSM, Nashville.

I got my first guitar at 17 when I started College in Ottawa, flunked my first year learning to play it, and joined a bluegrass band in 1968 when the music was barely 20 years old. Our band split up for no particular reason in 1969, I moved to Alberta for a year, and soon after lost my D-18 in an accident.

When I returned to Ottawa, with no guitar, the band dispersed, and found myself with a new marriage, mortgage and daughter soon after, playing music just quietly slipped away. As the song I wrote recently says, "More than thirty years went by before I'd try again, with clumsy hands to play those songs I used to play back then."

With kids grown up, a brand new Martin guitar in the house and time to practice I got the crazy idea of re-learning (almost from scratch after so long), how to play guitar. About a year later, when I was so frustrated and discouraged that I was almost ready to give up, I went on line one day (Oct 11, 2008) to find the words to "Diamond Joe" a song I had sung in my twenties. Completely by chance I clicked on "Tuttle kids play Diamond Joe". Five minutes later I was a Tuttles fan for life and re-hooked on bluegrass.

Having worked with special needs children and having been a coach in several sports and cub and scout leader, I have always loved seeing kids perform well in any activity. To see kids so young playing the music I loved so exceptionally well, blew me away. I found Molly and her brothers so exciting to watch that, any time I became discouraged, all I needed to to was watch some Tuttles videos and away I'd go, practising for two hours or more.

I'm back in a bluegrass band called "Grass Under Fire" and up to my neck in the Ottawa Valley Bluegrass Association as Editor of our publication, "Grass Clippings" and Board member and re-hooked on bluegrass, and I know absolutely that would not be the case without the inspiration I got from Molly, Sullivan, Michael, and now A.J.

I met the whole family in person at IBMA, 2011 and some other great people from the CBA. I've just joined the CBA because I'll probably attend IBMA regularly now and you guys are a such a huge part of it.

(posted 10/7/2011)


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