Hooked on Bluegrass

Tom Tworek

The college that I went to was St Mary’s College of Maryland, located in a very rural setting about 50 miles from anywhere. I was playing guitar in a garage band, doing cover songs from the Greatful Dead, Pure Prairie League and New Riders of the Purple Sage.

The lead guitar player asked if I wanted to go to a Bluegrass Festival down in North Carolina; a place called Union Grove. The first thing out of my mouth was “what’s Bluegrass music?” He said it was kind of like folk music in overdrive. That sounded interesting to me so off we went. As we drove up and I heard the old guys playing the fiddle and the banjo, the hair stood up on the back of my neck and knew I had to learn to play this music.

When we got back to Maryland I set out searching for some bluegrass musicians and found some local talent to jam with. It was soon after that I gave notice to the garage band and formed The Ridge Stringband Revival. Next year at Union Grove we played on stage. After adding a few new players we change our name to Stillwater Express. At this point we were doing some bluegrass mixed in with some country and old timey music. It wasn’t until we reformed about 4 years later under the name Rebel Yell that we started studying the masters like Bill, Jimmy and Ralph, and we could truly call ourselves a Bluegrass Band.

(posted 1/29/2006)

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