Hooked on Bluegrass

Marty Varner

Don’t u love Bluegrass festivals? I know I do and when I was three I got hooked on Bluegrass. For my whole life I was going to Bluegrass festivals. Even before I was born I have been going to Bluegrass festivals. I have gone to Fathers Day Festival every year of my life. So I guess my family is a pretty serious Bluegrass family. I learned at a very young age.

Every year of my life I’ve been listening to hardly anything except Bluegrass. Which for a lot of kids is very strange. With all the kids listening to Chris Brown, T Pain and even Akon. Even now rock is back in style with the bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. But I have held on to bluegrass this whole time without ever letting go.

When I was three my Dad was playing mandolin around the house all the time and I really liked it. That same year I asked my Dad if he could teach me to play the mandolin. The first song that he taught me was Pistol Packin’ Mama. Then a year after that I think everybody knows what happened to me on Kids on Bluegrass. I’m sorry I just don’t want to go into that right now. It’s kind of embarrassing. So after that year I learned another song by my Dad that he used to sing to me for a lullaby; the song was called Long Black Veil. One day he told me what that song means. That’s when I got into listening to the words of the songs. When I heard it I really had to learn it then. So I did and I sang it for KOB. That year I also learned Ashes of Love, which probably at that time was my favorite Bluegrass song. And by this time I hadn’t known how to do breaks until my first break at KOB. I can’t remember who it is but a boy wanted to sing Man of Constant Sorrow from the movie O Brother Where Art Thou. And they didn’t have a mandolin player so some how I just played it right in front of them almost exactly how it was in the movie. I can’t believe I did that, I said to myself. So on stage it even sounded better with all those people out there. It might have sounded better because I was nervous and after I played it right I was as happy as a clam. After that I got a lot better and I was known as a ok mandolin player.

When I was 5 I got kind of bored of mandolin and went to guitar. My guitar teacher was Steve Pallazo. He still is my guitar teacher. The first song that I learned from him was The Crawdad Song. I played that song everywhere I went. Now I am, in my opinion, a great guitar player that can play a mean Old Dangerfield. I played that song at the most important Bluegrass event ever: the IBMA festival in Nashville, Tennessee. I stayed there for a week for the festival. I was especially happy because I got picked to play with the other great kid players from all around the USA. It was so exciting! The other California guy in there was Scott Gates. He and I had a lot of fun. Well I g2g in 12 year old talk. See you.

(posted 2/2/2008)

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