Hooked on Bluegrass

Claire Lynch

I was fresh out of high school, and was attending a music festival at the University of Alabama, Huntsville campus. It was all kinds of music. The McLain Family Band happened to be there. They were going to do a show in one of the halls. They were standing on the sidewalk outside of the hall doing a little teaser set to get people to come in. They stopped me dead in my tracks. I sat right down on the ground, dropped my jaw, and said “Oh my gosh, what is this?!!” Raymond McLain was playing banjo and they were all projecting a lot of energy, had big smiles, and were real pros.

At the same show there were some old friends of mine playing in the bluegrass band that opened for the McLains. I was just drawn in by the whole event that day, and I started down a new path.

Also, at that period of time, our generation was into what was called the ecology movement. So the fact that this music was being played organically without electricity seemed pretty cool to me.

Raymond went on to play with Jim and Jesse for many years. Raymond’s brother Michael played banjo in my band for about five years, and did the banjo work on the Silver and Gold album with me.

(posted 8/15/2009)

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