So, my banjo student Mark comes in yesterday for his lesson with a story to tell. He says he was driving home from work, listening to my CD, M and M Blues, which I had given him on our shared birthday, May 18. It was not his first listen, of course, so it didn’t hurt my feelings when he said he’d gotten tired of listening to me and, wishing for a change, had turned the CD player off and turned his radio on. Much to his jaw-dropping surprise, there I was again, playing “John Hardy,” my name glowing cheerfully at him from the digital display. “Turn me off, will you?” I seemed to be chuckling. “I don’t think so!” Needless to say, Mark was a little freaked. Apparently the Universe was thinking, naw, you really haven’t heard enough of Murphy!
So many thanks to either Chris Jones or Ned Luberecki, two of the DJs on the Sirius XM show, “Bluegrass Junction,” for playing “John Hardy,” which is one of the cuts on the Stelling Anthology CD. Mark was also mightily impressed by the bass playing on that tune which was done by my fav-o-rite bass player of all time, Casey Henry! I might also mention that Ned has a couple of dynamite tunes on that same CD, with the extremely clever titles “Emergency Pulloff” and “Nedscape Navigator.”
I now return to my previous engagement, writing the General Store column for Bluegrass Unlimited. This short blog was brought to you by a cup of instant Starbucks! Buzz!
The last couple of days here in Music City have held some mighty fine music making that I was lucky enough to get to observe. Wednesday night Chris Jones held a CD pre-release party for his new disc "Cloud of Dust." Although it is not officially out yet, he had copies there for sale and after listening to it on my drive home I have to say that it is a great record.
Megan Lynch, Jon Weisberger, Sally Jones, Chris Jones, Ned Luberecki
The band was fresh back from a two-and-a-half week European tour, so they were all a bit jet-lagged. Chris told us he learned to say "We have CDs for sale" in every language while they were abroad! Near the end of the second set Chris called up his wife Sally to sing on a song---unfortunately their daughter Joanna was asleep on her lap at the time. Never one to let little things deter her, she just sang the whole song while holding Joanna in her arms:
Sally Jones holding sleepyhead Joanna Jones.
Thursday night found me at the Station Inn taking in the Claire Lynch Band. I've known Claire as long as I've been alive and she is absolutely one of my favorite singers. She has a new album coming out in September called "Whatcha Gonna Do" that is absolutely spectacular. She sings her butt off (as she always does) and the songs are wonderful.
Jason Thomas, Claire Lynch, Mark Schatz, Jim Hurst at the Station Inn.
We were treated to Mark Schatz's hamboning on "Cindy," which the whole crowd sang along on. I stood in the back next to my friend Ben Surratt, who was running sound (he is the one who recorded the Casey and Chris "Get Along Girl" CD at his studio). Also in attendance were Bela Fleck, a long time friend of Mark's, and Abagail Washburn. I'm going to see Bela's documentary movie "Throw Down Your Heart" on Sunday. It's about his trip to Africa to play with musicians there. I'm really looking forward to that. But before then I'll be back at the Station to see Tim O'Brien on Saturday night with the Irish Band Grada. That should be quite a show!