Hooked on Bluegrass
What hooked me on bluegrass? Well, I can trace it to one particular moment at a festival in Union Grove, North Carolina, in 1970.
From being interested in folk music (and playing and singing it) from about the age of 8 or 9, to discovering old-timey in my mid-teens, it was a short hop to bluegrass: I'd heard some, scattered, over the years, but living near the coast of South Carolina it was hard to find the live stuff. After I went to the Galax, Virginia, fiddlers' convention with friends, I drove by myself to the one at Union Grove where, along with the old-timey, bluegrass was part of the competition and showcasing. When I heard its power and drive, I really liked it. I really, really liked it. But the dam burst and the epiphany came when one band onstage played "Rocky Top". Something happened to me, and I went crazy like the rest of the audience, and stood on the plank bench hollering like a fool.
Now, James Brown live-and-in-person could really do something to you; and I'd been nuts about the Beatles; but the way bluegrass affected me was unlike anything else. When I "found" bluegrass at Union Grove, I realized on that day that bluegrass music was what I wanted to pursue. I knew I'd have a lot to learn about it, but I just knew somehow that it would be my home from then on.
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