Hooked on Bluegrass

Randy Morton

I was about 8 years (1973) when I first heard this heartfelt music. I would go to my grandfather's house on some Sunday mornings. He was a preacher and an exceptionally great man. He would play the old time bluegrass gospel on his turntable as I sat on his lap and quietly listened. It was the first time that any music made a real connection with me. It was the first nibble at the hook. He died a few years later but I will never forget this gift he gave me. My family knew what those Sunday mornings meant to me and my grandfather. Recently they told me they are giving me those albums of his that I listened to all those years ago.

Through my teen years you could find Cassette tapes of Bad Company, Haggard, and Monroe among others. I always held on to the music that, as a child, made me “feel the music”. I became Deputy Sheriff for a career. When I started, they refused to put radios in the vehicles. I would bring my own player and bluegrass could be heard over the departments radio as I talked with dispatch. Eventually it turned into XM. And yes I did get in trouble over this, several times.

2009 was the first year that I was able to attend the FDF in Grass Valley. I had always heard about the festival but was never able to attend. I did not know about the whole CBA community. I decided to volunteer. I tried to help out every crew after my assigned work was done to help get acquainted with some of the people. What a great time!! I got to meet some great people like Deb, Patty, Rick, Darbi, Montie, Rich, and Tim among others. I will certainly ask for the privilege to volunteer every year up there.

I recently heard about the Fall Camp-out and decided to go, so I figured why not volunteer. I contacted Steve and he set it up. Being a little shy I was not sure how accepted or comfortable I would feel but went anyway. I spent a lot of time just listening to the jams going on. I was standing away from Pat's RV just listening one night. When the song was over Pat got up and made her way through the crowd just to introduce herself. I thought, what a nice thing to do.

I made it over to another jam the next day. I recognized Mr. Edes, Cornish, Rhynes, and Lisa Burns. Again standing back listening, Tim saw me there. I was surprised that he had remembered me from Grass Valley. He introduced me to everyone then demanded that I get my instrument. I was very nervous about joining my first jam but on top of that, most of the CBA board members were in this jam and I was new to all this. My skill level and lack of jamming worried me a little. I grabbed the guitar anyway and had a great time. Thanks Tim.

I was sure that I could not feel more welcome, then I met a man named Cliff, who proved me wrong. He ended up at my camp teaching me some things on the guitar that I have wanted to learn. I am 44 years old and when I grow up I want to be just like him. He has a way of making you feel like you are a long time friend. What a servant's heart. It was people I have mentioned along with Slim, Mickey, Jim, Diana, Eddie, Jack, George, and many others that made this outsider feel like I belonged. It seems to be a trait among the whole CBA membership I have met.

These two recent CBA events have rekindled a passion for this pure and honest music as well as learning more on my guitar. I cannot imagine another genre of music that have this sort of welcoming nature and desire to just be together and play the music they love.

It is certainly the people associated with this music that really helped to set my hook. I can't thank all of you enough for ensnaring me and giving me a renewed hunger. Hooked? Without a doubt!

(posted 12/27/2009)

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