Hooked on Bluegrass

Ross McDonald

Our first exposure to organized bluegrass was in Blythe, CA almost three years ago. We just happened to go to the festival while escaping from the mile-long traffic jams in Quartzite, AZ. What a treat it was! I had played a mandolin for several years. I being from Arkansas and Barb being from the hills of Oregon, we enjoyed what we knew as Old-Time/Mountain Music. Somehow, we just hadn't realized that "our music" was officially called Bluegrass and had such a following.

A couple of months later, when the RV Journal magazine had the California Old Time Fiddlers State Competition listed as a “destination,” we decided to check it out. We were amazed! RV’s parked at all angles and half of the attendee's were in the parking lot carrying their musical instruments around, stopping to play with a group of musicians, then heading out to another group. We soon learned this was called “jamming.” And the music -unbelievably good! Who were these people? Even the rain didn't slow them down- while protecting their instruments, the music continued! They didn't seem to mind us non-musicians standing by and listening, in fact, a few seemed down right pleased to have an audience!

I picked up a copy of the Bluegrass Breakdown while we were at the Fiddlers competition and read about the CBA and the Camp out in Plymouth. While we were in Plymouth, We called my brother –“you have to come and see this, people will stop in the middle of the street and start “jamming”, some stay up most the night playing, we’ve already made several friends, and there’s so much talent!

Since then we’ve been to Festivals in Woodland and Sebastopol, several concerts and have recently attended our third CBA Fall Camp out. We’re going to try to get up to the Grass Valley Father's Day Festival next year. We hear it’s a good thing for Bluegrass music lovers like us!

(posted 12/11/2003)

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