I spent last night darting around Asheville with some of my good friends in the music business, Cia Cherryholmes, Sheri Clark, and Griff Martin. Dinner at the Lobster Trap, dessert at the Chocolate Lounge, and then all over town…on foot and having a ball! Music is what links us, and may be the terms on which we met or knew about each other, but the relationships go far beyond the music. This is even more important to me personally. We laughed about old times and spent much of the night discussing Asheville and WNC history, landmarks, and wonderful people from these mountains.
Bluegrass is a rare art form when the artists are accessible and can build close relationships with the fans. However, I view them from an artist’s perspective more like friends rather than fans. Artists, festival-goers and people who come to the shows are what make the bluegrass culture. I love getting to meet and chat with everyone involved. I can name what seems like a million instances where spending time with my musical friends made my trip.
What seems to stick out in my mind aren’t the notes I just played or sang or the break that someone took on a song. What I remember is playing the Mohegan Sun with Carl Jackson the night Kelly Clarkson brought a mob of teenage crazies; Little Jimmy Dickens cutting my birthday cake at the Grand Ole Opry; driving through the Swiss Alps with Jill Crabtree and Steve Sutton; riding in a two-seater plane over Alaska with Gena Britt; sitting with Merle Haggard on his bus chatting about Kern River; fishing the Yukon with the Steep Canyon Rangers, and on and on.
It’s why I love what I do!