Last weekend The Dixie Bee-Liners had the great pleasure of playing at two wonderful festivals: Knoxville’s Rhythm n’ Blooms and the Bear on the Square festival in Dahlonega, Ga. I’ve been wanting to make it to Bear on the Square for several years now. The promoter, Glenda Pender, knows Murphy from way back and remembers seeing me when I was just a little baby.
The Bee-Liners closed the show on Sunday. The weather could not have been more beautiful. Sunny and warm, but not hot. We arrived in Dahlonega several hours before our set so that Buddy and Brandi could do a songwriting workshop. That gave me time to walk around and look at the wonderful arts and crafts vendors who were set up on the square. I was instantly smitten with these two wooden tables, made by Skip Staab, and consequently spent a good portion of my paycheck before even being paid for the gig!
My Aunt Argen and Uncle Mike came out to see the show, as well as my cousin Elaine. I sat with them to listen to Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwarz’s set. I had been looking forward to hearing them for months – ever since I saw the festival schedule. I absolutely love Ginny Hawker. She sings with an intensity that cuts straight to your heart. She sings with every fiber of her being. Our paths rarely cross, so I savor the times when they do.
Before her set I ran into Ginny at the backstage refreshment table and I said hello, reintroducing myself since it had been years since we’d met. I was flattered when she said she remembered reading in Bluegrass Unlimited that I’d joined the Bee-Liners. She said she’d never heard the band before and I told her I was really looking forward to hearing her sing.
Later, when we took the stage for our own set I noticed to my delight and dismay that both Ginny and Tracy were in the audience! Playing on the same show as your heros is one thing, knowing that they might be somewhere in the area and might hear you when you’re on stage. But playing when they’re right there in the audience watching the show is quite another. It says a lot about a person when they’ll actually sit down to listen to younger, up-and-coming bands.
I only sing one song on the set, but it was no easy thing to sing my number with Ginny looking on. Thankfully I made it through without forgetting any words or developing any frogs in my throat. When I was done Ginny, as well as the rest of the audience, clapped heartily, which made me feel awesome.
After our show the festival fed us at the Smith House and we got to see the old gold mine that is underneath the building, re-discovered in 2006. Then I headed home, a 4 ½-hour drive back to Tennessee accompanied by Chris Brashear in my CD player, dark chocolate fudge from the Fudge Factory, and the satisfying feeling of a job well done.