Hooked on Bluegrass

Scott Gates

Ever since I was born, I’ve heard my Grandpa Marco Manzo play his Martin A model with the musicians in the family. He played popular 40’s and 50’s songs, and old country Italian pieces, which fit him well, considering he was an old country Italian himself.

I guess I should obey the principle implied and tell how I got hooked on bluegrass. I first heard bluegrass at Disneyland, of all places. The only place you can buy a bottle of water for $3.75. I always ask the girl at the register if she would like my arm as well. Billy Hill & The Hillbillies were playing bluegrass versions of Disney themes at “The Golden Horseshoe” in Frontierland. What really was interesting, other than the acoustic bass booming through the building, was the fact that one of the instruments in the band was a mandolin.

After going to the park for a year or so, I was so interested in the amazing mandolin player, Evan Marshall, that I decided to ask if he could give me lessons. I had played for about a month with a local luthier and learned the basics from him before I started learning from Evan. I couldn’t be more thankful for Evan and all he’s done for me, and to my parents for driving me around and putting up with me. I heard true bluegrass when we went to Huck Finn Jubilee and listened to Ricky Skaggs, Earl Scruggs, the Dillards, and more. I’ve been blessed with people who have taken the time to sit down and give me a lesson or two, and an amazing primary teacher who, honestly, I should see even more. Now, I’m overwhelmed with the driving force behind bluegrass and hope to play more for years to come.

(posted 2/6/2008)

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