Hooked on Bluegrass

Chris Stuart

My earliest memory of bluegrass music is from 1965 in Nashville. My father was in seminary school at Vanderbilt University and there was a big concert on the lawn at the school. I was seven years old and I remember the sound of the banjo across that big lawn and I just started running as hard as I could......toward it!

I didn't start playing the guitar and banjo, though, until I was thirteen. I got the Pete Seeger banjo book but was really disappointed in the frailing stuff. I remember reading the few pages in there about Scruggs style banjo picking and also some on Ralph Stanley, I believe, and that was it. That was the sound.

Vocally, the first group that gave me that chill down my spine was the Seldom Scene of John Duffey and John Starling. And from a songwriter perspective, I remember listening to Larry Spark's John Deere Tractor (written I believe, by a Californian, Lawrence Hammond) and thinking that you could write some damn good songs still in bluegrass.

(posted 6/25/2006)

Copyright © 2002 - 2010 California Bluegrass Association. All rights reserved.
Comments? Questions? Please email rickcornish7777@gmail.com