Author: Varner, Mark

Scribblers among us

Dear friends,

Years ago, when CBA webmaster Rick Cornish invited me to join him in posting welcome messages for visitors to, it was a weekly task for me. It was not long before I was scrambling for topics even remotely related to bluegrass. And unlike Rick, I did not have llamas or other mammals to bridge the gap. Fortunately, among Rick’s array of talents is recruiting. He soon had Bruce Campbell join us and since then quite a few more writers have joined the fray.

Each day we find another written piece designed to inform and entertain our guests. At their best these Welcome Columns welcome newcomers to our community and our association. I am proud to be part of this cadre of musical journalists. I am proud, as well, that my son Marty Varner has joined the group as regular member. The kid’s got a way with words and a passion for music.

So, here’s the roster of Welcome Columnists:

Monday—1st—Mark Varner
Monday—2nd—Randy Morton
Monday—3rd—Bert Daniel
Monday—4th—Chuck Poling
Tuesday—1st—Geoff Morris
Tuesday—2nd—Ted Lehmann
Tuesday—3rd--Nate Schwartz
Tuesday—4th—Rick Cornish
Wednesday—1st—Bruce Campbell
Wednesday—2nd—Bruce Campbell
Wednesday—3rd—Bruce Campbell
Wednesday—4th—Bruce Campbell
Thursday—1st—Dave Williams
Thursday—2nd-- George Martin
Thursday—3rd—Randy Shelton
Thursday—4th—J.D. Rhynes
Friday—1st—Brooks Judd
Friday—2nd—Cliff Compton
Friday—3rd—Regina Bartlett
Friday—4th—Bill Evans
Saturday—1st—Marty Varner
Saturday—2nd—John Karsemeyer
Saturday—3rd—Cameron Little
Saturday—4th—Brian McNeal
Sunday—1st—Marcos Alvira
Sunday—2nd—Bert Daniel
Sunday—3rd—Geoff Sargent
Sunday—4th—Jean Ramos

Now, speaking of writers, the big Kahuna is going to retire in September of this year?! True, that. The Bluegrass Breakdown, your CBA paper, has been fortunate enough to publish the works of some brilliant minds and ready wits over the years, but during my term I have to say that J.D. Rhynes stands head and shoulders above any crowd. His “J.D.’s Bluegrass Kitchen” has been bringing music lovers recipes with a cowboy attitude for twenty-eight years. No one can write like J.D. His voice is his own and I find his columns entertaining as well as educational.

Of course, J.D. has played a role in the founding and the leadership of the CBA, besides offering up tasty recipes to our members in the paper.

The good news is that the column will continue. Not sure about the name yet, but the new Bluegrass Breakdown columnist, stepping into the massive cowboy boots of the Man, is Eileen Kleinschmidt.

Here is her introduction to us:

My husband Gary and I have lived in Calaveras County (so close to JD I can smell his cooking!) for 26 years---still a flatlander in some people's opinion. We have two grown children and one granddaughter. I played guitar in my youth at church and in coffee houses. The only place I play now is in the privacy of my own living room! My goal is to change that soon---the guitar sits ready and at attention in its stand. I did pass on what I knew to the kids and they can pick a mean tune. We attend at least five music festivals during the year and the rest of the time you can find us hanging out at Music in the Park, Sutter Creek Theater listening to some great groups or trying to maintain our Hidden Oaks Ranch (it's mowing time!) I also enjoy attending Motherlode Friends of Music classical concerts in the winter with my friends. We are strong supporters of the arts and make a point of helping spread the word about how great music is (especially bluegrass!) I love to cook. We had a gas line installed last summer for a new range. Forty years of cooking with electric was too much! Gary retires next March and we are looking forward to packing up the motorhome and checking out the festival scene in the Midwest and the South.

The strangest thing that has ever happened to me was the year we attended the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival. We rented a car and I drove from Gettysburg Cottages, about five miles outside of town to the battlefield. I have never been there, but I drove the entire way without looking at a map. I think I have been there before! (Twilight Zone music plays here...)

So there you have it, music lovers. Welcome, Eileen!

Mark Varner

Posted:  6/4/2012

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