Hooked on Bluegrass
I was three when I went to my first bluegrass festival, but I don’t really remember much from that one. It was the Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival in 1999, with my Dad’s friends from work when my brother Ethan was wasn’t even one yet.
In 2001 we again went to Father’s Day Festival, with my new baby sister Daisy, when she was just 8 ½ weeks old. That was the year that we moved up to Grass Valley, where we’re 10 minutes away from the fairgrounds.
In 2003 the whole family, along with my Uncle Lloyd and Aunt Lisa went to the Father’s Day Festival for a day. Uncle Lloyd plays fiddle and took lessons from Kenny Hall in the late 70’s. We went to Father’s Day Festival on Saturday or Sunday and watched Open Road’s show. They were one of my favorite bands. After watching Open Road perform, we saw “Kids on Bluegrass” for the very first time. Uncle Lloyd said that would be us kids in a couple of years. I thought it was so neat watching all of the kids playing together. That whole day got me really inspired to play bluegrass music.
About a month after that festival, Dad was playing his banjo one day and he asked me if I wanted to try out his old nylon-string guitar that he had when he was little, and I said yes. He got it out and gave it to me and I had no idea what to do with it. We found a really great guitar teacher up here in Grass Valley, by the name of Barry Angell and I started lessons with him in September of 2003. About two months later my sister Aimee wanted to play fiddle, so Mom and Dad got her a a little ¼ size fiddle from local luthier Luke Wilson. Aimee started taking lessons from Rick Toles, a local musician.
In 2004, Aimee and I decided to attend the “Kids on Bluegrass” for the first time. We showed up for practice on Thursday. We played Frank Solivan our two songs that we had been practicing for a long time. The two songs were Cripple Creek and Old Joe Clark. He told us that we did an awesome job, and that he wanted us to be in his KOB show. It was Saturday, and Aimee and I were getting ready to go on stage for our very first time. With Frank leading the way, all of the kids went back stage. Aimee and I were so exited, just waiting for our turn to play our two songs on stage. I asked Aimee if she was nervous, and she just said “Nope, not at all. How about you?” And I said “No, not at all”. When our turn came, we walked out on to the stage and played our first song and got a huge applause, and Aimee and I looked at each other with a really big smile on our faces.
After the Father’s Day Festival, we all started to play music as a family. Mom picked up the bass, Ethan got the mandolin, and Daisy wanted to play the little fiddle and dobro. Now we have been playing as a family band since early 2005, and it’s awesome. Who knows what the future will hold for our family.
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