Author: Bartlett, Regina

This is my Bluegrass Journey for the past month on Harmony Road

Bluegrass’in the Foothills was wonderful. Thanks for Larry & Sondra Baker for another fantastic fun filled Bluegrass Festival. Great music, great people, great jamming.
I sure enjoyed the Piney Creek Weasels, Whiskey Chimp, Remington Ryde, The Larry Gillis Band and Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa, and The Blue Canyon Boys. It was wonderful to see Ella Naiman and Henry Warde and Angelica & TJ Doerful and Family back in California.
Congratulations to the Emerging band: The Grasskickers!
Paul Knight did the sound. It was great.

I leave San Jose and land in Denver, Colorado. Who gets on the plane? Frank Solivan, Carl Pagter, Patrick Sauber, Craig Wilson, Tom from Kathy Kallick’s Band. Lucky for me I was included on a shuttle ride from the Airport to Raleigh with these friends!

First night, Pete Hicks, Michael Cleveland and Patrick Sauber played outside my door in the hallway…all night long. Sweet Dreams are made of this.

Larry Kuhn and his sweet Caroline were the hosts of the CBA Suite along with Carl Pagter, Lucy Smith, John and Lorretta Hettinger, Monte, Frank Solivan, my good friend Kay Wilkes and Darby and Bruno. Larry just handles everything with class and represents the CBA with such musicianship and grace that it is an honor to work for him. Plus he would start a jam or introduce a band…and he was fair and always there.
A tip of the hat to the Bluegrass Commander! Each morning we planned our events and carried out our tasks.

The week at IBMA includes lectures, workshops, panel discussions on all kinds of topics related to the Bluegrass Musician. I attended “Pretty Good for a Girl” by Murphy Henry and “Still Inside: Tony Rice” by Tim Stafford. The CBA team was included in the Brunch/Lunch Awards and Darby introduced the Kathy Kallick Band. Darby can really handle a room!! I am so proud of her. Kathy Kallick Band also made me very proud. Great Music and wonderful women - CBA Women. California Bluegrass members were everywhere. We really had a big presence in Raleigh. It was fun.

My friend Kay was given 2 tickets for the award show(which was sold out)…so off we went from the Marriott Hotel to the Duke Energy Performing Hall riding in a rickshaw and oh look…there’s Adam Steffey, Steve Gully, George Shuffler, Pete Wernick, and look at little Helen Foley all grown up! Every seat is amazing. Cocktails are served. How pleasant is that! The highlight was Tony Rice speaking clearly and full of life. What a personal moment in music it was as the audience gasped and applauded for the man we so honored with a lifetime acheivement Award in Bluegrass Music.

Eddie Dill of Big Country and Danny Paisley rocked the room with their powerhouse vocals and harmonies.
Incredible performances and epic jams. Dancing…pick offs, play offs, harmonies, banjos, guitars, fiddle, mandolins, dobros.
Everyone who was someone in Bluegrass was there at the CBA Suite for our California Hospitality. There were other suites but folks enjoyed us the most: Peter Rowan, Laurie Lewis, Jason Carter, Michael Cleveland, Jim Lauderdale, Hunter Berry, Ronnie McCoury, Claire Lynch, Steve Dilling, BJ Cherryholmes, Edgar Loudermilk, Front Country, Luke Abbott, Missy Raines, Nicky Sanders, Johnny Campbell and so many more. We stayed up until 3:00 or 4:00 am every night.

Many memorable IBMA moments were:
Kids on Stage. All our kids: Helen Foley on bass and vocals, Jake Gooding on bass, Josh Gooding on mandolin and Skylar on fiddle were incredible. On one performance Josh Gooding wearing his hair back and red sun glasses and a red suit play mandolin so well the audience called out, "Go California Red, Go!" Frank Solivan was definitely the Proud Papa at IBMA and also emceed the two KOS concerts.

Talking with Bobby Osborne. He said to say howdy to JD Rhynes and anytime for Grass Valley to the powers that be!

Talking with Tut Taylor and getting my photo taken with him.

After IBMA, I slept for a day catching up on zzzz's and had many amazing dreams. My friend Kay and I explored Raleigh a little more and found it to be a really nice little town/city. Thanks Raleigh for the wonderful hospitality you shared with the Bluegrass Community. I’ll be back next year.

To get to Pittsburg I had to fly to Nashville for about an hour and half then fly to Pittsburg and where I rented a car and drove along the Ohio River to Rayland, Ohio to my Uncle George’s home and my Aunt Patty, Cousins Teresa and George, and their children Paige, Conner and Leland. I experienced dining at The Cracker Barrel when we all went out to dinner together. It was great being with family and watching television together. It had been years since I’d had a family night experience together at home.

The Old Home Place:
I went to Martins Ferry, Ohio and to St. Mary’s School and Church and was reacquainted with a schoolmate who’s now the principal. We had gone to school together from the first to the sixth grade. While we were talking I heard the chimes and the gospel songs playing. That’s where I learned those olds hymns and songs. The steeple of St. Mary’s has chimes that play beautiful music all day long. I went inside and lit a candle and said some prayers of Thanksgiving for my journey and return to the first place I ever sang in. Fourth Street and Downtown still look like I remembered so long ago. The old hometown looks the same.

Later that day, I was offered an opportunity to play at a coffee house in Martins Ferry, Ohio. THE HOLY GROUNDS, where I was introduced during a poetry reading night and I played guitar and dulcimer and sang a few songs. My 16 year old cousin, Paige joined me on the gospel chorus ! For me, I was indeed on Holy Ground. When I sang the L&N Don’t Stop Here Anymore, there were tears rolling down some of the faces. They knew what the song meant. They live it everyday along the Ohio River Valley.

My Uncle took me to Olglebay Park and to the WWVA Jamboree and the Capitol Theater and the Walk of fame and the Wheeling Suspension Bridge and the casino at Wheeling Island. I won $22 from a Dolly Parton slot machine that played her hits while it spinned the winning combination! Gambling is fun for a while.

We drove to the foundry where my Father had worked as a crane operator. It’s a huge building and now empty and rusting away. High above in the top of the building my Father operated a crane that used to carry and pour hot iron boiling from the furnace into molds to make steel. I can still hear the engine’s whirl and the hiss and steam and clanking sounds of a sledge hammer pounding and the yelling and working of ironworkers.

The steel mills are these long buildings standing vacant and rusting away. The little towns along the Ohio River, Tiltonsville, Yorkville, Martins Ferry, Bridgeport, Wheeling.
This is the valley where I was born and raised in and I am so happy to be back. It is so beautiful. The Autumn colors were amazing. I looked at the mountains and said, these are foothills compared to the mountains we have in California. Everything was so green.

I went to the top of the hills above Martins Ferry and found my Grandma Bonnie’s grave. She has a view of the entire Ohio Valley and the Ohio River with 3 bridges crossing through the curves.

I drove from Wheeling, West Virginia to Dayton, Ohio and it was a beautiful drive in the country. Columbus reminded me of parts of Los Angeles but with my GPS I found my friend Lynell’s farm in the Amish Country. Lots of small town, beautiful rivers, fields, barns and old farm houses. Buggies.
We visited and played guitar in her kitchen (We had a Buckeye Sistah Reunion) and the next day we went to her 40th High School Dance. It was FUN. I danced to the oldies but goodies that I grew up with. Time had erased and I felt young and beautiful. We went to Greenville and visited with her Mother who played her favorite cd for me, “Oh Brother Where Art Thou!”

I drove to the Dayton Airport and got on a plane to San Jose via Denver, CO and have tried to write a little bit about what I did on my Summer Vacation. It was so wonderful. I found out that prayer works when your on the highway in the middle of the night on empty…on Harmony Road.

When I got home I slept and did errands and helped my friend with her apple harvest and then went to the Brown Barn Festival where I was one of the emcees. It was so good. Hard to be at two places at the same time ... on Harmony Road.

The Brown Barn created by Jake Quesenberry is so musically magical I hardly know where to start. You shoulda been there.
I camped with Mary Curtain and her friend Howie. We celebrated Shirley Tudor and Ingrid Horgan memory with songs in a memorial jam.
Pete Hicks camped next to me so the music was always GREAT. Sound by Dave Nielsen was superb…absolutely beautiful for both musician and listener.
Snap Jackson booked some wonderful music and entertainers. Every act was folks we know and love.

Tina Louise Barr tested out the sound system and played a great open Mic. Who plays an autoharp like her????

Steep Ravine gave a really good opening act performance.

California Pearly Blue was hot! These ladies were so good…can’t wait to hear more

Bean Creek was oh so tastey! All the singing, picking, harmonies and musicianship and songs are so clean and sweet.

Pleasant Valley Boys celebrated Matt Dudman’s birthday with style and charm and some sizzling bluegrass music that swung.

The Sister’s Grimm have a great band and I can’t wait to hear what else they come up with…great ready friends…tunage abounds!

Dim Lights ~ What a great band. Avram, Vickie, Dana and Larry Cohea just played and sang so well.

The Drifter Sisters - Oh my what a good band this is…and lots of fun too. Bay Area bred beauties Robin Fischer (red-hot fiddle stylings), Allegra Thompson (classic country crooning), and Hailey Pexton (fast & flashy flatpicking).

Pine Ridge - Great songs and good pickers and lots of heart in the music.

The Cherry Pickers - Incredible musicians and more please!

Central Valley Boys - They were red and blue and had Larry Cohea dressed in a black suit playing with them.

Snap Jackson and The Knock on Wood Players - This band just gets better and hotter and oh my goodness are they good.

Windy Hill was back to playing more bluegrass for us from their bag of tricks and included Alex Sharps playing with them.

Alhambra Valley Band - Lynn Q, Jill, Bruce Campbell have been playing Bluegrass Music for 25 years. They are some of the best in the West. I really like this band.

New Dog Old Tricks ( Scott Gates) He stole the show! He played guitar and sang really FINE songs and picked until he broke a string then he picked his mandolin and sang. Scott has a voice and is using it like an instrument with a lot of talent.
I was really impressed with his performance. It was extraordinary. Music, performance and entertainment with style and grace. Well done young man. It’s been a pleasure watching your growth of music on Harmony Road.

Cliff Compton & Mountain Top. Charisma, charm, sweet gravel heart throbbing vocals and butterfly kisses that’s the musical experience from our Bluegrass Bard. Snap Jackson and a hot band.
It was thrilling and entertaining ending to the Brown Barn Festival.

There’s a rumor that there will not be another Brown Barn Festival…like Christmas, we never know if it will come again, but we always pray that it does.

I will not be at the Fall CampOut. Suddenly, I have a Harvest Festival Gig at Crystal Bay Farms this Saturday overlooking the Monterey Bay near my home so I'll be picking there while you're somewhere out there picking in Lodi..again.
Life’s a journey on Harmony…one day at a time. See you out there.

Posted:  10/18/2013

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