Author: Karsemeyer, John

The Thirteen Steps For California Bluegrass-Aholic Musicians

Spurred on by Randy Morton's California Bluegrass Association's Welcome Column of July 11, 2011, “My Drug Of Choice,” it got me thinking what a thirteen-step program for bluegrass musicians might look like (yes, adding one step to any twelve-step programs already out there). Here is my design (please insert tongue firmly in cheek if reading further).

One--We admit that we are powerless over the inner fire that drives us to play bluegrass music, even though it doesn't make our lives unmanageable (usually).

Two--We have come to believe that a “power” greater than our own individual ability is solely responsible for this uncontrollable drive (Bill Monroe?).

Three--We have made a decision to turn our musical will and musical lives over to the care of the California Bluegrass Association as we understand it.

Four--0We are searching, examining, and making a daily inventory of our musical self-identity.

Five--We agree to admit to the CBA and to other human beings the exact nature of our secret musical “licks,” and if requested will freely submit handouts in the form of musical tablature and/or notation.

Six--We are entirely ready to have the CBA Board of Directors remove any defects in our playing, as long as they can be replaced with the acceptable way playing (insert the true definition of “bluegrass music” here).

Seven--We humbly ask anyone to remove our shortcomings for inappropriate musical behavior during jam sessions.

Eight-- We will make a list of all persons we have harmed when we have referred to their playing as, “No part of nothin',” and will become willing to make amends to them all.

Nine--Making direct amends to such people equates to buying them the breakfast of their choice at the next bluegrass festival, except if they have problems of
bring about resolution).

Ten--We will continue to take personal inventory regarding the aforementioned, and if convicted of wrong doing again (requires three signatures of the CBA Board of Directors), will promptly admit it.

Eleven--We will, through introspection and living a self examined life (this is subjective, I know, but it's a start) seek to improve our contribution to the California Bluegrass Association, as we understand it, questioning every CBA member regarding the knowledge of how to carry out that contribution.

Twelve--Having had a musical awakening as the result of these Steps, we will try to carry this message to all bluegrass musicians, and to practice these steps in all our musical affairs.

Thirteen--We will, with all our might, daily, attempt to read at least one selection from the book, “Playing on the Right Side of the Grass,” by Cliff Compton.
Posted:  8/13/2011

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