Hooked on Bluegrass
I got hooked on bluegrass when I was in my teens and living in New Mexico with my Dad and stepmother. My stepmother’s name was also Chris and she was a big country music and bluegrass fan. She introduced me to a lot of music I had not heard before including the big ones; Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, and The Osborne Brothers. It wasn’t a particular instrument that hooked me. I was captivated by the whole sound of the music, including the vocal harmonies.
Also at that time I was just starting to learn the guitar, and I was introduced to people like Doc Watson and his guitar playing, which was a huge inspiration for me. I got to know some of the people who played bluegrass in the New Mexico area, which was a small, but tight knit group. I took some lessons for a month or so, got to know some folks, and it just took off from there. I joined my first band when I was eighteen years old.
I am originally from New York State. Once I had attended some festivals, and could pick a little, I returned to New York and got plugged into the bluegrass community there. I joined my first band in New York State called “Horse Country” with Bob Mavian, who was a veterinarian and a banjo player. That band was far above my abilities, so it was great training for me and a great way to start. When I first started listening to bluegrass, I had a lot of passion for the music just hearing those first records, but never had a vision of playing professionally and full time. But that’s how it turned out.
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