Author: Ramos, Jean

Getting to Know You

I am still coming down from the euphoria that lingers a week or so after a fun event; I’m speaking of the Bluegrassin’ in the Foothills Festival at Plymouth. It’s always good to spend time pickin’ and pot-lucking with the bluegrass family.

Remember the theme song to that old TV show, Cheers? I know it’s not bluegrass by any stretch but it describes the feelings I experience when I arrive at a bluegrass event. Here is the shortened version, written by Gary Portnoy:

“Where Everybody Knows Your Name.”

Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.
Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.
Wouldn’t you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name,
And they’re always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows your name.
You wanna go where people know; people are all the same,
You wanna go where everybody knows your name.

We were able to park our truck/camper in the same little nook we use each time we go to Plymouth. We are such creatures of habit, but if we didn’t park there, our friends would have trouble finding us. We no sooner got leveled and hooked up when we saw a familiar couple pull into the fairgrounds. It was Terry and Sally Philippe, the couple we met at Colusa last year. Their home is in England but they spend several months a year here in America, touring the states and taking in bluegrass events across the country. They were pleased to see familiar faces as well and I think they were surprised that we remembered their names. Since we arrived on Monday, we had plenty of time to visit and get better acquainted.

Oftentimes, we get caught up in the jamming and don’t spend a lot of time talking and getting to know one another on a personal level. I think that Facebook has sort of helped with that. We learn one another’s likes and dislikes, follow each others activities, see family pictures, and sometimes find out that we have more in common than we knew, or nothing in common but the music.

I have been Facebook friends with Julie King (James King’s wife) for a couple years; interacting nearly on a daily basis. I was so pleased to learn that she was accompanying James out to California and we would finally get to meet in person. She told me she loved tamales, so it was our pleasure to host a tamale dinner for them with a small group of friends. She played me a few cuts off of the CD James is in the process of making, to be released sometime after the first of the year. Let me tell you folks, it’s going to be one you’ll want in your collection.

Larry Baker says that the numbers were down as far as festival attendance. It’s not surprising, given the hard economic times. The numbers may be down but the quality of entertainment and the Fun Meter were still on High. There was something for everybody; traditional bluegrass, new grass, and comedy. The fun started on Thursday night with Ron Spears doing his ventriloquist act which he followed with some great bluegrass, accompanied by Thomas Porter and Copper River. The group, “Cashed Out,” was very entertaining and quite popular with the crowd. We all knew from the “get go” that it would be a break from bluegrass and we were going to hear Johnny Cash songs. Folks had opportunities to sing along and many were dancing. Speaking of dancing, our own Dancin’ John was at Plymouth and he is on the mend and able to dance a little.

As I do at every festival, I made some new friends. Kent and Carolyn came down from Weiser, ID with Frank Daniels (Frank’s Fiddles) and his wife Karen. I also met another couple, Gilbert and Sarah. Kent and Sarah are both fine fiddlers and they seemed to make themselves at home at several jams. I also met a young boy named Matthew and his friend Skyler. Matthew plays fiddle, mandolin and guitar and sings! His buddy plays the mandolin. The highlight of one jam was when Matthew and Dave Reitz played “Orange Blossom Special” together. It drew a bit of attention to say the least. I look forward to seeing all these people again.

After we left Plymouth, we headed up in the mountains above Arnold and camped with Tom and Elida Ickes, Robert Crowder, Pat Phillips, and John and Nancy Cherry. We did a lot of hiking, fishing, pot-lucking and picking. Best of all, we spent time getting better acquainted.

Well, autumn is upon us but the bluegrass season certainly is not over. Next week-end is the Kings River Festival at Sanger, and the Fall Camp-Out is October 15-20th at the Lighthouse Resort. There are other picking opportunities at the many regional jams, find one in your area. Make some new friends; make an effort to remember names because we all “wanna go where everybody knows our name and they’re always glad we came.” See you soon.

Posted:  9/23/2012

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