Author: Rhynes, J.D.

Embarrasing Moments , Bluegrass Style. Or, NEVER order Chow Mein in Louisville

As life has led me down the road following the pure passion of my
life, Bluegrass music, there's been a few embarrasing moments. Some
intentional, but most of 'em pure happenstance. A lot of 'em my
fault, and some of 'em involving friends in the music bidness. So
with that said, here we go on a journey of embarrasing moments.

Here a few years ago i was talking to Andrea Roberts, Danny Roberts
wife, and we were jes catching up and discussing some festival news
, both East coast and West coast, when Andrea told me one of the
bestest embarrasing moments I've ever heard. She and Danny were at
one of the "Bluegrass at the Ryman" show's, and their daughter was
about 5 years old at the time. Appearing on the show bill that nite
was 3 or 4 bands, and their daughter's favorite, Rhonda Vincent, was
one of the featured bands. Andrea said the first band was jes about
through with their set, and had jes finished playing a song, and the
applause had jes died down to that "silent" moment before anymore
is said from the stage. It was at that "silent" moment that their
'lil daughter jumped up on her seat and yelled out: WHEN are you
gonna let Rhonda play? Andrea said she jes about crawled under her
seat, and the whole audience jes roared! Out of the mouth's of
Then there's a couple of good one's from my good friend Ronnie Reno.
Ronnie told these fer the truth, and lookin' back they are pretty
funny. Ronnie said he was at a festival back east several years ago,
and was visiting with Bill Monroe by his bus one evening, when an
older gentleman came by and asked if he might set a spell and pick a
few tunes on his mandolin with Bill? Mr. Monroe told him sure, and
jes what would you like to pick? So, Ronnie said they swapped licks
fer 15 er 20 minutes and the gent asked Bill if he minded playin a
song er two on his mandolin. Bill obliged the man and swapped
instruments with him, picked a couple of tunes on his mandollin and
when he handed it back to him, he said in his own mountain style of
speaking; Uhh, it aint the mandolin! Ronnie said that was pure
Monroe without a doubt, but it was one of the most embarrasing
moments of his life. The man never said a word, got up and left.
Bill never said another word about it, and they went on with their
visit. Ronnie said that Bill was never shy about tellin' the truth.

Then Ronnie told of the time he got on an elevator in a hotel and
standing there was a man that had the most "hurt" look on his face
that he'd ever seen. Ronnie was there to play on a big show in the
hotel, and it was obvious that the man recognized him, so Ronnie
stuck out his hand and said, I'm Ronnie Reno, and who are you? He
said; Smilin' Bill Grimes, by GOD! Ronnie said he never cracked a
smile, and he was embarrased and tickled at the same time, and
coldn't help but laugh!

Then there's the time back in 1997 when I went to IBMA in
Louisville, Kentucky. I think it was on Wednesday evening and I'd
had enough of the food at the hotel and went in search of something
to have fer supper other than the same ol grease. I'd inquired of
the whereabouts of a Chinese Cafe at the hotel and they gave me
directions to one about 3 blocks away. It was raining pretty good,
so I donned my big oilskin raincoat and hat, and set out to have me
some Chow Mein, forgetting that I was NOT in California. As I walked
down the sidewalks of Louisville, I passed by a nice fancy Italian
Restaurant, and there setting behind a big plate glass window was
Alison Krause and her band. They were waiting fer a table, and
taking advantage of the moment, I squashed my face onto the window,
rapped on it and when Ron Block looked up at me he damn near fell
out of his chair laughing! The whole band kinda drew back in a "what
the hell" kind of look at first, then started laughing when they
realized who it was. I took a bow and went off in search of the
Chinese joint. And JOINT it was! I ordered Chow Mein and some
steamed rice. What I got was a bowl of some kind of soup and some
COLD steamed rice. I asked WHAT it was that they gave me? I told
them that in California, Chow Mein is fried noodles, meat and
veggies. I was informed that in Louisvile, Ky. what I GOT was
ChowMein. I couln't eat that stuff, so I paid my bill, went back to
the hotel and had a "Kentucky Brown" fer supper.

I saw Alison's band later in the week and was "kinda" embarresed fer
the trick I'd pulled, but they said it was really funny, so I
didn't feel so bad after all. I guess the moral of this whole story
is to NEVER order Chow Mein in Louisville, Kentucky!
Posted:  9/22/2011

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