Oh boy......my ears are still buzzing and my toes are still sore from tapping......we spent the last two days at a fabulous Bluegrass First Class Festival in Asheville. This was the 14th year of the event....the kick off to the area's many Bluegrass festivals. It's held in a hotel small ballroom....only 800 tickets are sold.
Due to the constant diligence of 'the husband', we purchased our tickets the day they went on sale. It was the first year reserved seating was offered, at a premium price, but sooooo worth it. We got 1st row, center seating.......we were no less than 4 feet from the stage! Now that's the way to see and hear music!
This is truly a big deal......the line up of musical stars appearing went on and on. Many are on the road constantly and travel in huge buses. This is Rhonda Vincent's home away from home. The Martha White Company has sponsored famous bluegrass acts for probably a century. Looking like a total dweeb (or star struck fan)......'the husband' made me stand here for the photo.
Inside the hotel, participants are everywhere 'jamming'.....seriously, this is music 48 hrs. straight. Although we don't stay at the hotel since we are only about 30 mins. away, I understand folks are up all night playing in the hotel rooms, lobby, hallways..... We personally listened non-stop for 12 hrs. each day.
This was a new band called Broken Wire........though most folks in the audience, including 'the husband' can tick off the name of most members in the majority of the groups.....I'm shallow and find other interesting aspects to dwell on. So....for this band.......I totally think the guitar player looks like the main character in the Lord of the Rings movies.....(sorry, I'm ignorant of the name....never saw the movies....but have seen clips....)
This band is the Grascals.....a very lively, fun, and audience pleasing group. Note the base player, he's one of the few exceptions that is not short. Really.....it's amazing......almost every bass player is really short....hummmm......are they trying to make up for their size by playing this monster instrument?
I digress......this group has won like 8 major awards this year.....and features a new female banjo player who won the 2008 IBMA Banjo Player of the Year Award. Her husband is in another one of our favorite groups.....they have a 2 year old child....and both are on the road in different buses......how hard that must be!!
At the end of their set....they each threw out a cap......luckily....one player tossed his right at me. Each group has a table to sell their products and visit with their fans ( all these groups are very fan friendly and thank their audiences for supporting them.....it's refreshing!!). I managed to get 4 of the 6 members to sign my cap....the player that threw the hat to me said he did so because he appreciated seeing me smile during their entire time on stage. How could I not? This is good happy stuff!!
You'll probably be sick of reading all the posts these two days will generate.....but if you've never listened to Bluegrass music.....do yourself a favor.....seek it out......it will put a smile on your face too.