Hooked on Bluegrass

Mike Brooks

I learned to play some on the guitar when I was 11. Mostly Country and Western and Folk songs. During my tour of duty in Viet Nam in 1968, we ( my unit) all got to see the movie "Bonnie and Clyde". They showed the movie outside, on a white sheet attached to the side of a duce and a half. (2 1/2 ton truck). Anyway, in the movie after the 'gang' knock's off this one bank and are high-tailing it out of town with the law right on their tail's; that's when I hear it... It was Earl Scruggs, picking 'Foggy Mountain Breakdown' on the BANJO! Now, I had heard a banjo played before, but not like that... it was awesome, it was BLUEGRASS!

I finally got a banjo around 1979 and took some lessons at Tiny Moore's studio in Sacramento around 1980 or '81 from Kathy Barwick... Just in case you didn't know... She can ALSO play the banjo. Can you guess the first tune I asked her to teach me? Yep... I drove my wife crazy playing 'Foggy Mountain Breakdown' for the next year. I mainly play the mandolin now, and yes... I can play "Foggy Mountain Breakdown' on it too, sorta'. There's just something about bluegrass music that just grabs ya'. It's fire, percussion, and drive... It rocks!

(posted 11/27/2005)

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