Hooked on Bluegrass

Gail Reese

In late 2002 I become somewhat of an empty nester and I was looking for something to fill the void. I always loved music and had recently taken up folk guitar. I had already attended California Coast Music Camp for a few years, which exposed me to many styles of acoustic music and instruments. I noticed there was quite an abundance of guitars and an equal shortage of fiddles. I think that planted the seed, so my 2003 New Year's resolution was to learn the fiddle. I wasn't really yet aware of the culture that is bluegrass.

In Jan 2003 I signed up for lessons at Gryphon Stringed Instruments (a music store in Palo Alto) with Jack Tuttle. I took lessons for a few months, just learning fiddle tunes, before I heard about Jack's bluegrass jam class. I asked Jack about it and he invited me to observe after a lesson. THAT WAS IT! I instantly knew that I wanted to someday be able to participate in what looked like the most fun thing I had ever seen. I had seen folks jamming at camp before but it never registered until that moment that maybe I could actually learn how to do it.

From that point on my goal was clear, and so I immediately attempted to get off the 'paper' and learn by ear. By spring I had joined the class. The next life altering event was my first festival, which was the Spring Strawberry Music Festival. I had heard about it through camp, but this was the first time I had gone. I instantly felt as though this was meant for me. Shortly after that was the CBA Music Camp and Father's Day Festival. Wow!

Well by this time it was clear to me that my life would never be the same. I absolutely loved all of it, not just the fiddle, but the music, the people, the jamming, the festivals, the camps, all of it. When those festivals were done I was like an addict immediately searching for my next fix. There was Wolfe Mountain, GOF, Fall Strawberry, Plymouth, the fall campout, Woodland, Brookdale, and Wintergrass. I couldn't get enough. Then there were all the music camps: CCMC, CBA, Mark O'Connor, Wintergrass Academy, Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp, Bluegrass at the Beach, British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop, Augusta Heritage, Fiddle Star, and Camp Bluegrass at South Plains College.

Not much has changed for me since then. I still go to every festival I can. I jam on a regular basis with my friends, and have played in 4 bands. I can honestly say that music changed my life and I am about as hooked on Bluegrass as a person can be.

(posted 12/29/2009)

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