Author: Cornish, Rick

Ten Reasons fo Loving IBMA
Where on any give day you’ll find ample quantities of the good, the bad and the ugly. Certainly enough to keep you going until tomorrow morning, when it all starts over again.

Rain welcomed me home to Whiskey Creek last evening, but nothing but blue skies this morning. I was away from this quiet, tranquil place, my darling wife, and many animals for a total of 16 days. A record in Lynn’s and my marriage. Not a good one, but a record nonetheless. My pup Rudy, who was a mere waif when I left for Nashville, is now more of a young dog than a baby puppy. Alas, I missed seeing his first chewed up and totally destroyed brown dress shoe and the last signs (both visual and olfactory) of his unhousebrokeness.

I mentioned earlier in the week in a quick note while on the road that the 2007 IBMA event was my favorite in the several years I’ve attended. Let me give you the ten top reasons…..

Ten--For the first time I traveled by ground all the way back to Tennessee and part of the way, I drove a big rig tractor. Any lingering inner doubts about my manliness have been completely and permanently dispelled after having learned the intricacies of changing lanes in Kansas City commute traffic driving a 26 foot truck pulling a 36 foot camp trailer.

Nine—I hung out quite a bit with Ed Alston, who a) had a rental car, b) had done extensive internet research on the best restaurants, delis, ice cream shops, etc. the Nashville metro area and c) eventually got us to each and every one. (Who would have guessed that Ed, a former district attorney, was a master of the urban, multi-lane u-turn?)

Eight—I spent enough time with some new friends to actually get to know them….really know who they are and what makes them special. These included, but were not limited to, Tom Reed, my cross-country colleague and a way, way larger-than-life personality; Marty Varner, who’s even a better person than he is picker, which, most of you know, is saying QUITE a lot; and Bruce Campbell, who’s commitment, energy, intelligence and off the wall sense of humor continue to amaze me.

Seven—For the first year, I was an actual Team Member, got to report to Larry Kuhn, attend each morning’s meetings and feel like I made a little contribution. Certainly not as much as all of the others….Jack, Montie, Bruce and all the others…..wholly mackerel what workers.

Six—I got to attend one of Angelica Grim’s official showcases…actually her first ever, and sitting their my mind clicked back and forth between the lovely young woman on stage and the little girl doing her first KOB performance some ten years ago. It was a very moving experience, made all the more exciting by the music she and her back up band made. Just stellar.

Five—I got to see even more than in years past the caliber of the man we call our leader. Carl Pagter is not just a well-known, highly regarded bluegrass and old time music personage. He’s one of a handful of elders on the national stage, and in that role there’s not a single, solitary second that he loses sight of the best interests of our association. Did you know that Carl paid ALL of the expenses of the IBMA until he retired from the board? Or that since then he’s picked up 100% of the tab for the excellent California wines we serve in our hospitality suite? Or that he helped finance the trips back east of a few folks who couldn’t make it on their own?

Four—I jammed with John Reischman. Enough said.

Three—I got to witness, right there in our CBA hospitality suite, the formation of what will surely become one of the all time best bluegrass bands—the Dan Tyminski Band. And I got to experience the incredible honor given to our Association for being selected as the organization that would debut the band. Thanks to Rounder Records and Dan’s management, Keith Case Associates.

Two—I got to see part of a one-man showcase done by Dave Evans, and I got to hear him sing ‘Be Proud of the Grey in Your Hair’, my all-time favorite song written by him. Later that night I had a chance to sit and talk with this humble and immensely talented man. Dave’s traveled a rocky road; it’s good to see him now at the top of his game.

One—I got to sit in the Grand Ball Room with about 1,500 other bluegrass lovers from around the world and watch and listen as Mark Varner received the IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Award for our Bluegrass Breakdown. And all the while, I imagined Suzanne Denison there at his side. Far and away, that was the best of all the best IBMA moments for me.

Okay, it’s time to go do the two weeks worth of chores that Lynn’s been saving up for me. Tomorrow we’ll be back with some new hooked on bluegrass stories.

Posted:  10/13/2007

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