Hooked on Bluegrass

Jo Ellen Doering - 2009 version

I was told that my Mother's Dad courted her Mom by playing the banjo. I don't remember that, of course. But my Mom also played guitar and taught my sister and me some old time songs and she taught us to sing harmony. She would drag us out to the local TV show, “Smokey Rogers”, and to the occasional barn dance or super market opening or wherever they might have a flat bed truck and a microphone. We often sang in church on Sundays and it was usually a gospel song like “I'll Fly Away” or “Life's Railway To Heaven”. She also taught me to play guitar when I was about 10 years old.

Then, around 1962 or 63 I bought a Joan Baez album with The New Lost City Ramblers playing on a couple of tunes with her. On one of those songs, the banjo solo struck a chord in my soul and I was smitten; I HAD to learn to play the banjo. Around 1970 I wandered away from bluegrass for a few years, into rhythm & blues and country. But I'm happy to say that I found my way back home and I will never again roam. Bluegrass is my home, my roots, and I hear my Mother singing harmony with me whenever I sing now.

(posted 2/1/2009)

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