Hooked on Bluegrass

David Lange

When I was growing up, my mother had a collection of albums lying around including Buck Owens, Chet Atkins, and Flatt and Scruggs. The Flatt and Scruggs album was titled “Hard Travelin’”. I remember playing that album a lot. Something about the soulful sound and gripping ballads that got my attention. Then, in the early seventies when I moved out on my own, the memories of mom’s albums went dormant as I became consumed by arguably the pinnacle of rock and roll and jazz. And living in the San Francisco Bay Area during that time was no doubt being in the right place, at the right time.

At the age of 19, I was on a door to door search for employment, and wandered into a popular pie shop/restaurant. Now my experience at that restaurant deserves a story of it’s own … And for some reason my son, born long after that experience, absolutely hates pie…will not touch it…. Perhaps I ate more than my share. So much that the family genes were impacted? Anyway, it so happened that this restaurant was in desperate need for more bakers, and I was hired virtually on the spot. I met many new friends at this job; some that I am still close with today.

One of my new pie shop friends was a musician. When I went to visit him at his home, he would pull out his twelve string guitar and pick a little. Once in a while he would also bring out his banjo. I did not think much about banjo music, nor the larger bluegrass community that instrument fit into…That is until 1984 when he invited me to attend the Strawberry Bluegrass Festival. That bluegrass sound stole my soul, and I was overwhelmed by the sense of community, and of course that energy and excitement of the jamming that went on all night long.

Ultimately, I’d have to say that the Flatt and Scruggs album planted the seed, and was the hook. When my mother passed, God rest her sole, that album was passed on to me. It is still one of my favorite albums today; scratches and all. Oh, did I mention Bluegrass Album # 4……. First introduced to that album in 1985…. Let’s just say the hook was sunk further.. and it ain’t comin’ out!!!

I attended my first Fathers Day Bluegrass Festival in 1991, and have not missed one since. Over the years, the great people I have met in the bluegrass community, the festivals and jams, and seeing my children participate in bluegrass music has added to my bluegrass “hookedness”.

(posted 5/24/2009)

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