Author: Campbell, Bruce

Today's column from Bruce Campbell

Boy, am I glad I went to the CBA Fall Campout last weekend! This has been one of those years when I seemed to have SOMETHING in way of nearly every important bluegrass event. I don’t think I’ve necessarily more gigs than usual, but they all seemed to fall on days when there was something fun I had to miss.

And this last weekend threatened to be more of the same. I had three gigs, but I squeezed in a trip Friday night after work and got to Lighthouse Marina by about 7:30PM. What a great place for a CBA Campout! Easy access, lots of space, and pickers galore.

I wasted no time. Within 15 minutes of arriving, I heard some strong male singing and found Ralph Hendricks jamming at a camp with Angela Personeni and some other folks. They had a young fella playing some guitar and a real sparkplug on the bass. Angela was playing banjo (and instrument I did not know she played) and was doing a great job. We went from song to song at a breakneck pace, driven by the nervous energy of the bassman, who turned out to be James Judd. He was calling songs at such a rate that I finally had to say, “Hey, buddy, maybe somebody ELSE would like to call a tune!”. He just laughed, and while I got a few songs in, I knew I’d have to call them pretty fast or he’d take charge!

Then some old pals, Tom Bailey, hi wife Sharon, and Colin Sacks came by without instruments. “Hey, let’s pick!” I said. Well, they were a little tired, they said, having been up late the night before. I whined, wheedled, cajoled and pleaded, and before long, we were gather in front of the Bailey’s Airstream ad began a jam session that went about 4 or 5 hours straight. A great bunch of folks dropped by to lend some sonic joy: Larry Kuhn made an appearance, and for quite a while, we were graced by the presence of three young fellows, named Bob, Ryan name.

They had that infectious joy that we love to see in people that are fixing to be lifelong bluegrass pickers. They knew the songs they knew, but they also fearlessly and gleefully played anything tossed in their direction. At one point in the jam, a mysterious lefty fiddler appeared – it was Rick Cornish. I know by now, this is Rick’s way. Silently, out of the shadows he appears, fiddles and sings like crazy, and then, just as suddenly drifts away to yet another jam. It’s a system that has served him well for many years.

I think I ended up hittin’ the sack about 3AM, and slept like a baby, waking up every three hours wet and crying (I’m kidding!). The next morning, I had a wonderfully inappropriate breakfast of delicious biscuits and gravy, a side of bacon and amazingly hot coffee – all for $4. Heaven must be a like Lighthouse Marina....

Posted:  10/20/2010

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