Hooked on Bluegrass

Ken Reynolds

I have been interested in bluegrass most of my life. My first recollection of hearing bluegrass was as a child. I spent a lot of time with my Grandmother and every Saturday night she would set up her quilting frame and tune in the Grand Ole Opry on the radio. She would quilt and I would card cotton for her as we listened to the show. I remember hearing the Osborne Brothers on the Opry. I didn't know what they were playing, but I could tell they were different form the other acts on the show. I really liked what they were playing. The sound of the banjo and mandolin really intrigued me. Their vocal harmonies made the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

In the early seventies, I met my first real banjo player at a Search and Rescue training session. He invited me to his home to do some jamming. We would get together every Tuesday night to pick. At times there were as many as fifteen pickers in his living room.

One of the jammers that showed up at our weekly encounters was a local bluegrass promoter. He selected a few of us jammers to put together a group to play at his festival. After the festival was over, my daughter and I decided we wanted to keep playing this wonderful music, so we formed our first band. The name of our group was Spring Mountain Harmony. We played a lot of local venues over the years and in 1985 we were invited to play at CBA June festival in Grass Valley. What a thrill that was. We got invited back in 1986. This was more than I could have ever hoped for.

After playing the 1986 festival, my daughter got married and moved away from home. Without her the band thing wasn’t the same, so the band died a natural death. But these experiences set the bluegrass hook in this old boy good and proper, and I have been involved in bluegrass ever since.

(posted 1/15/2006)

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