Hooked on Bluegrass

David Rainwater

Every now and then I stop and think, 'How'd I get so lucky to be playing this wonderful music?' Music could be viewed as a personal journey, and what a journey it has been for me! (and it's not over!) When I was 15 in Kansas in 1967, I started to learn folk tunes on the harmonica. Why? It must have been the radio, the times and a mix of The Weavers and Bob Dylan. My first tunes: Oh Susanna!, On Top of Old Smoky and Shenandoah. I stuck my thumb out to go play music. There's an eternal soul imbedded in all of these folk and bluegrass tunes we all play and love so well.

Years later I was living in Seattle and that's where the bluegrass bug really caught me. Seattle had a great folk scene in the late 70's, a great public radio station and a great Folklife Festival. It was just too much. I bought a Washburn mandolin and started picking everywhere I could. Then I discovered fiddling and I was gone! It was a folk film of some old fiddler at a bluegrass festival in West Virginia playing Old Joe Clark on a dirt road. I started a bluegrass band, 'Heavens Grass'. We played churches a lot.

Much has happened since then and I'm grateful to be part of our great American heritage and to know or have known so many exceptional folks along the way. The music is true soul music. It is just plain folks expressing their heart and soul out on this hard to live on planet. Some of the expressions go very deep...

(posted 2/3/2008)

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