Hooked on Bluegrass

Rich Evans

Shortly after WW II my father purchased a war surplus AM radio for me. It was a huge metal box, painted olive drab, but it worked well. My father was a fan of big band music, and jazz, and he was very vocal in his dislike of country music. Of course this immediately increased my interest in it, and I went to sleep every night listening to that big green radio playing the country music of the late forties, with the volume turned down so my father couldn’t hear it.

The country music of that era included country, western, & hillbilly music, so I was exposed to a bit of everything from the Carter family, Jimmy Rogers, Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, the Stanley Brothers, Uncle Dave Macon, Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzel, Roy Acuff, Ray Price, and others. My favorites were Hank, Lefty, Bill, Lester & Earl, and the Carter Family. When I was in High School I was into Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, & Elvis because that was the music dominant on the radio, and the only access I had to live music was a local band of fellow high school students who played mostly their music. College, marriage, career, & raising kids seemed to consume the next 35 years, and music did not hold a high priority for me.

Sometime around ’94 I saw a Redwood Bluegrass Associates ad for a Bluegrass concert in Palo Alto. I don’t even remember who the band was, but I do remember being blown away by the music. I also remember that my wife, Sydney, was sick that evening and really wanted to go home early, but she couldn’t tear me away. I couldn’t get enough after that, and went to most of the local concerts, and soon found myself wanting to learn to play an instrument. I took guitar and mandolin lessons from Greg Burger in Los Gatos, and he told me about the Grass Valley festival. In 1996 I went to my first Father’s Day Festival, and after that I was completely hooked. The things that keep me hooked are the quality of the people who love bluegrass, the friendships I have made, and of course the music.

(posted 2/3/2008)

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