Hooked on Bluegrass

Beth Weil

In the late '60s I was living in West Virginia - my step-father was teaching in Morgantown at WVU. I became friends with photographer/cinematographer Carl Fleischhauer and started going to bluegrass festivals with him. I was a mediocre fiddle and mandolin old-time music player, and bluegrass was way too fast and intricate for me, but I became a fan. I was in 2 old-time bands - the Double-A Cutters lead by Dwight Diller, and the Appalachian Women's Band, featuring Jeannie Horacek.

When I graduated from college and moved back to the Bay Area, I became friends with various people in a band called Oakum. They already had 2 fiddlers that were way better than me, a mandolin player that was better than me, and no bass player. So I bought a bass. I was inducted into the band the next day. By the weekend (I bought the bass on Monday) I had played several gigs and had blood blisters on my fingers. This was in June 1976, 2 weeks before the 1st Grass Valley festival, during which Chuck Wiley complimented me on my bass playing. I've had a soft spot for Chuck ever since.

(posted 12/4/2005)

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