Hooked on Bluegrass

Janet Beazley

I was grabbed by the sound of the 5-string banjo when I was a kid, 12 or 13 years old. I never missed The Beverly Hillbillies and the Smothers Brothers Show on TV back then, and I realize now it was the music more than the comedy that kept me watching. The high lonesome trio singing really got me too. Bonnie and Clyde … Deliverance … I hated those movies but I sure noticed the soundtracks.

I never pursued bluegrass until, after decades of formal classical music training, playing and teaching, my husband Marshall Andrews, a lifelong bluegrass aficionado, took me to concerts at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, CA. That first year I got to see Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, Hot Rise, Doc Watson, The Good Ole Persons, Herb Pedersen, Laurie Lewis, and Berline, Crary & Hickman.

I got a banjo for my 31st birthday and immediately signed up for lessons with John Schlocker, a great teacher and all-round super goodguy, and practiced my little heart out when I should have been focusing on grad school.

My first festival was CBA's Grass Valley -- in all my years of music I'd never experienced such pure sleep-deprived fun! I'm still hooked on the sound of great bluegrass singing and, of course, that 5-string banjo.

(posted 1/29/2006)

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