Author: Campbell, Bruce

PreSprung Spring Notes

This is the column that was trapped in my computer last week. In retrospect, it may not be a masterpiece after all, especially following Mr. Cornish fever-fueled shenanigans with Russian Mobsters.

The recent Sonoma County Bluegrass and Folk Festival reminded me of some stuff.

1) The pre-spring drive to Sebastopol is flat-out gorgeous. The verdant hills, the bucolic countryside, the charming little town itself Ė what a jewel! I hear they have some nice apples around there, too, but my most recent trip did not include apples. How did we happen to get such lovely weather two years in a row? And just so you know Ė the weather the very next day was a like Noríeaster in January in Maine. Rain fell in nearly horizontal sheets, coming down like axe heads and hammer handles. Nice of Mother Nature to hold off on that little torrent for one extra day!

2) Nina Gerber is an amazing guitar player! I donít when Iíve seen someone play such effortless, tasty and versatile guitar. The last time I saw guitar playing like that was from Eric Uglum. Geez, Iíve been playing guitar for 40 years, and watching Nina, it was like Iíve barely scratched the surface of that instrumentís potential. I have decided to forgive Nina for this, since I enjoyed her playing so much.

3) Bluegrass festivals attract an amazingly wide array of people! I saw people of all ages, sizes, colors and shapes. And one of the things I notice about people is how they move. I canít remember a face from one day to the next to save my life, but I can spot a friend by how they walk or move. Folks move their arms, hips and shoulders in a myriad of ways as they get around, and I sat in the back row in Sebastopol and watched folks gambol, lumber, scurry, trudge, stroll, saunter and lope against a background of terrific music.

4) Back on guitar Ė who needs it? I got into a really fun jam and played for 45 minutes before I realized there wasnít a guitar in the circle. We had me on bass, with 2 or 3 mandolins, 2 banjos, a harmonica and a fiddle player. Was it bluegrass? Yeah, I think so, and it was definitely good music. Thanks to those brave souls for playing their hearts out and letting me in on the action. Imagine if a guitar player actually joined that ensemble!

5) I think $3 beer is a fantastic idea.

6) Finally, I realized that I love Bluegrass, but I love people more. It felt just great to be among a bunch of music fans and friends. Music is a great excuse to get together, and sharing that common bond is icing on the cake. I could have listened to bluegrass music alone in my truck, or played some music by myself, and saved some gas money in the process. But to do that on a glorious pre-spring day would have the height of folly.

I canít WAIT to back to pickiní & grinniní & singiní and people watchiní at the upcoming Spring campout!
Posted:  3/23/2011

Copyright © 2002 California Bluegrass Association. All rights reserved.
Comments? Questions? Please email