Friday, October 12, 2007

Back to Good

One thing I failed to mention all through the last few days is that the scenario that played out and the discussion that followed on this blog and everywhere else is that the experience really plays up to me why bluegrass to me is special. Bluegrass people are really unlike any other people I know. And they are all kinds of people, poor people, rich people, smart people, not as smart people, God people, nonbelievin' people. But I guarantee you will never feel anywhere else the way you will in a roomful of good bluegrass people.

So many times last weekend I wanted to walk up to a kid with a banjo or a fiddle and say, "You know you can do things that Zack Whatshisface can't do, right?"
One of the things I spent more time doing this trip was sitting in on the Grand Master Fiddler Championship. The Championship goes for two days and is judged by contemporary top fiddlers, many of whom were doing double and triple duty all week (hence the reason IBMA stands for "I've Been Mostly Awake"). Over the course of an hour or so I watched six or seven young fiddle players step onstage and with a group of rhythm guitarists play three tunes: a required tune, a waltz, and a tune of their choice. It was a fascinating process, because there weren't just children in the competition, but adults too. The funny thing is how painfully obvious it was that the adults lacked the same passion and determination of the under-18 set. Maybe they were awed by all that young shitfire, I know I was.

So I guess the thing is, for every bad kid we hear about there are lots of other good kids,kids like Sierra Hull who with her band Highway 111 entertained and embraced an audience of mostly grownups. The band in this video is actually a lot older than the band that played last weekend; if I'm not mistaken her current banjo player is 17.

So let's remember that there are good parents out there doing good things, and kids having fun getting high on playing music. Here's a nod to musical kids, and their parents, and all the kids who are doing what they love whatever it is with the support and admiration of their lucky parents.


At October 14, 2007 10:10 AM, Blogger DrDon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At October 14, 2007 10:11 AM, Blogger DrDon said...

This is very true Mando, and the good kids don't get the pub in this country. Perhaps they should. In our narcissistic, attention craving society, maybe if some of these crappy parents saw that you could get attention for doing the right things, they'd turn it around a bit. Then again, I don't think the carrot works as well as the stick. But we should do more to recognize people who are living the right way. They are the majority and they deserve a little credit.

At October 14, 2007 9:19 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hi Doc,
Again, I'm spoiled. I have to say that spending some time around these folks has made me want to work harder at being a better person, a better musician. Not even because there is some greater good, but because it's a hell of a lot of fun! And being with a group of people that are all doing something positive has a wonderful healing effect. It's truly contagious, but evidently, not contagious enough. Yet. ;-)

At October 15, 2007 10:27 AM, Blogger Blueberry said...

If there's a difference in kids who play bluegrass and other kids (in general), maybe it's in the area of respect for their elders. Not just respect for adults, but homage and acknowledgement that they are building upon things that have come before them, and made it possible for them to take that torch and carry it forward - still lit. And speaking of fiddle, check out the Quebe Sisters. Three very young fiddlers/singers who are amazing. Their music is a combo of Bob Wills and Andrew Sisters, and I'm sure it will keep evolving. On a recent radio interview, they asked them about the music they listen to, and they said it was "all very old stuff, except the Beatles!" Well that's interesting, since most folks think of the Beatles as "old stuff".


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