Monday, February 20, 2017


We moved from Wisconsin to NC in of many reasons we chose this area was the abundance of great bluegrass music.  Every February the best of the best come to Asheville, NC to play at Blue Grass First Class.

Many of the same acts appear almost every year.....but since they are top notch bands....we are always as excited as our very first time at this event 11 years ago.  The following is a short overview of the first day of the festival.  The days' events run from noon to midnight for two days.....a bluegrass lovers dream come true.....all in indoor comfort.
Each year new or up and coming bands kick off the event.  Blue Mafia, yes you read that right, was introduced.  Their album is titled "Hanging Tree"....and yes you read that right too.  Despite their enthusiasm and obvious thrill to be included in this event, they have a long way to go before I would consider them polished performers.  Everyone needs a start and perhaps this experience will help guide them.
 The Grascals haven't appeared for several years....always excellent, well prepared.....with fantastic musicians and incredible harmony. Unlike County Music....women band members are rare in Bluegrass.  Their banjo player is none other than 4 time IBMA Banjo Player of the Year Award Winner Kirstin Scott Benson.
A newly formed California based group,  John Jorgenson Blue Grass Band made their first appearance at Blue Grass First Class. John (center) played for many years with the Desert Rose Band and has a list of accomplishments pages long. He plays just about any string instrument and really excells at the mandolin.....fabulous!  The other icon in the group is Herb Pederson (right) who knows everyone and has played with everyone.....from Rock, to Country, to Jazz, to Bluegrass for probably 50+ years.

Herb BLEW the whole room away when he sang two very, very well known tunes he wrote, made famous by my long time favorite group The Seldom Scene.  He shared how this song, Wait a Minute" came to be written. I couldn't get my recording to upload but found one recorded with Chris Hillman (an original member of the Byrds back in 1965) on YouTube that you can safely click here to experience.

 He'd been on the road in Europe for an extended period of time...home only a day or two before getting a call to play on another tour.  He shared this news with his 'then' wife who tersely said "wait a minute"!  As he said, this was the beginning of the end.....she KNEW who he was and what he did for a living before they married.  

Day two coming up shortly.......


Robbie said...

So glad you made it to the festival!!!! Hope all is well and look forward to Day 2!

Robbie said...

I just listened to the song, Wait a Minute, on YouTube! Nice!!!