Saturday, January 20, 2007

Blast from the Past!!!

In 1987 & 1988 I lived in Athens, Georgia where I met up with a fiddle player named Andy Carlson. For a short while we played a five hour set together on Sundays for breakfast, lunch and about $40 a piece for our efforts at a restaurant call Skeeters. Why? For no other reason other than it was fun. It's quite sobering to think about the amount of time that has passed since then. I really miss playing with Andy sometimes. It was so much fun.

We've gotten together a few times since then, but not often enough. Since our Athens tenure Andy has moved on to bigger things. Primarily he's over the Music Department at Denison University in Ohio. About seven years ago (which coincides to about the same time I started playing with the Lone Mountain Band) he started a bluegrass program for the students.

Wednesday, out of the blue, I got an email from Andy telling me his Bluegrass Ensemble would be in Dahlonega, Georgia (a little over and hour from me). I knew I had to go. He had also suggested that I bring a banjo. Shucks, I never leave home without one anyway, so Friday evening I tossed the banjo in my car, loaded up the family and made the short drive through the mountains to The Crimson Moon in Dahlonega. It's a small venue, but cozy, and everyone was very friendly.

When we got there the group was already playing, but I spotted a couple of other folks I knew - Earl Murphy (Andy's Grandpa) and Dennis Helmrich. I spoke with them a moment then found me a spot to listen to the concert. The students were quite capable musicians, and the music was great. Vocals were clean, and the arrangements were clever.

Andy had a spot saved for me on the second set, so I did three numbers and blundered my way through each of them. You can see me struggling in the picture there with Andy on guitar. Never the less it was a lot of fun and the crowd was appreciative. The students were polite and didn't push me off the edge of the small stage or openly make fun of my lack of musicianship. Obviously graciousness and politeness still thrive among the music students at Denison.

I dug around in the Wild Jimbo Archives and came up with a photo of Andy and I from 1988 at Skeeter's; the now long out of business restaurant where we played. Golly, I hope we had nothing to do with it's demise.

The short drive really paid off in a lot of good feelings and good memories. I hope it's not another 10 years before we do it again!