The Silver State String Buster

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					Novemeber/December 2010, Vol.1 issue 32

   The Silver State String Buster
                                                                               Newsletter of the
                                                                            Northern Nevada
                   Annual meeting                                   Mike Parsley (775)826-9231
                      Elections!                                The January/February newsletter will also include a mail-in ballot
                                                                to allow voting by US Mail if you so choose. Nominations will
                                                                still be accepted after press-time of the January/February newsletter
If you or someone you know is interested in running for office,
                                                                but they will become write-ins on the ballot. Final ballots will be
 any NNBA member may nominate you or you may nominate
                                                                cast at the Annual Meeting on February 19.
  yourself. If you are nominating someone else the board will
need some kind of word from the nominee that they are willing
                                                                Thank you and happy campaigning!
to run. You can send your nominations in the body of an email
  to or via regular US
       Mail at NNBA, P.O. Box 3177, Reno, NV 89505.                 Jammin’ in the board room...
When you accept a nomination, please send in a paragraph or
two about yourself and what you would do if elected along
with a recent photo. If your acceptance and write-up are re-
ceived before press time they will be included in the January/
February newsletter.

Qualifications for office and election procedures are outlined in
the NNBA By-Laws which are posted on the NNBA website at . Please read them carefully as there are spe-
cific requirements and responsibilities for each office. In addi-
tion, please bear in mind that we are an active board and our
board members donate a considerable amount of time to their
duties. It is a lot of work, but also very rewarding.

If you have questions about what we do, please call any board
member. We want to encourage any NNBA member who may
be interested in serving on the board to run for these offices.
We also want to allow ample time for members to campaign Mike Parsley appointed to NNBA board of directors
for themselves or their favorite candidate.                     The empty spot on the board has been filled by Mike Parsley! The
 Dan Baker, (775)                  board is excited and welcomes his experience and attitude.
                                                                Mike is married to his beautiful wife Mandy, and they will be cele-
 Rick Sparks, (775)-233-0122,                brating their 17th anniversary this November. They don‟t have any
                                                                kids, but they do have a big black lab named Chopper that they
                                                                spoil on an on-going basis. Mike has been playing guitar for about
Jan Ramirez, (775)                five years, most of that time playing Bluegrass. He is a member of
                                                                the Good Timers, a small group of Bluegrass jammers who met
 Rick Rinehart, (775)849-7988,           through the NNBA, and who get together once a week. Between
                                                                NNBA functions, the Good Timers, and various other groups with
Zona Hairgrove, (775)786-6948 whom he gets together, Mike figures he jams with other folks about
                                                                8-10 times a month. Mike says “playing out with others of all skill
Leif                                 levels has increased my confidence and made me a much better
                                                                picker than I could have ever been on my own.”
    Banjo marching band
                  October 23 was the Grand Opening of the
                  Great Basin Brewery‟s new location in
                  Reno. For this spectacular event they
                  invited a number of banjo players to form
                  a “banjo marching band”. It was quite a
                  spectacle! The banjo‟s followed UNR‟s
                  marching band and were followed by a
                  mostly synchronized keg brigade (this
                  was FUNNY). Joyce Furlong was kind
                  enough to set this up and the band was
                  under the direction of Michael Chambon-
                  a big thank you to both of them! All
                  involved had a great time and there are
                  whispers of doing this again….

          Workshop at Lost Trails Lodge
                                                        Monday, November 22 and December 27 (fourth Mon-
                                                        day each month) 7-10pm, All Level Bluegrass Jam at
                                                        Lamppost Pizza, 1141 Steamboat Pkwy, Reno, NV.
On the last weekend of September, fourteen stu-
                                                        Pickers should be able to play a song/tune at a reason-
dent pickers joined Rick Sparks, Karen Roemmich
                                                        able speed, playing some of the songs a little slowly is
and Cindy Gray at Dave Robertson‟s Lost Trail
                                                        OK at this jam. For more information contact Dan
Lodge for a weekend workshop.
We arrived Friday in time for an evening of re-         Baker at 775-828-2247.
laxation, food and some picking. The lodge, built
by Dave, is a rustic retreat hidden a beautiful
mountain setting outside of Truckee.
After breakfast on Saturday, the workshop began.
The instruction included techniques for playing by
ear, listening to others and applying ear training to
playing with others. Rick, Karen and Cindy were
able to spend lots of time working with students
individually and in groups. On Sunday, we broke
into jam groups to overcome our “fear of flying,”
by playing a jam and having a chance to lead the
Saturday night dinner was a steak BBQ followed
by free time, a jam and lots of good music.
After lunch on Sunday we were shuttled back to
our cars for the trip home.
It was a weekend of great interaction, learning,
good food, good company and lots of music.

Tuesday, November 2 and December 7 (first Tues-
day of each month) 7pm, FREE Bluegrass Jam Ses-
sion at Maytan Music Store (upstairs), 777 S.
Center Street in Reno. Hosted by the Northern Ne-
vada Bluegrass Association. Come to play or just
listen, and learn about all the great things this 25-
year-old organization does. Everybody's welcome!

Monday, November 8 and December 13 (second
Monday each month) 7-10pm, Advanced/
Intermediate Bluegrass Jam Session at Great Basin
Brewing Co. 846 Victorian Ave, Sparks, NV.
Pickers are expected to know the songs/tunes they
call and play up to speed. Beginners are welcome to
come and try to keep up. One bass player at a time
(take turns). For more information contact Dan
Baker at 775-828-2247.

                            Bluegrass Guitarist, Tyler Grant

Becoming a professional bluegrass guitar player is a “pie in the sky” sort of dream. The field is crowded with in-
credible players, most of whom grew up in the hills of Appalachia with bluegrass music running through their
veins. John Sebastian wrote a song about them; it‟s called “Nashville Cats.”

         Nashville Cats, play clean as country water
         Nashville Cats, play wild as mountain dew
         Nashville Cats, been playin' since they's babies
         Nashville Cats, get work before they're two

Not often does an “outsider” crack into this elite club. But Tyler Grant did. And Tyler is, of all things, a Califor-
Tyler graduated from the California Institute of the Arts (BFA in Music Performance). In 2003 he joined Adrienne
Young's band and toured with her for a year and a half ( He also recorded with her on her
acclaimed CDs Plow the End of the Row and The Art of Virtue. In 2004 he hooked up with Casey and Chris Henry
and the Two-Stringers. He performed with them for two years and played on their CD "Get Along Girl." In the fall
of 2004 he toured China for ten days with Casey Driessen (fiddle), Amanda Kowalski (bass), and Abigail
Washburn (old-time banjo) as part of a musical cultural exchange ( During the first half of
2005 he toured with Canadian fiddler April Verch (

In November 2005 Tyler joined the Drew Emmitt Band and is currently on tour with that group as well as the Em-
mitt/Nershi Band, featuring Billy Nershi from the String Cheese Incident ( He
has performed with these groups at Telluride, High Sierra, Four Corners Folk Festival, Floyd Fest, Harvest Fest,
Rothbury, Grand Targhee and others. Tyler played on Long Road, the latest acclaimed Drew Emmitt release,
which reached #1 on the Jam Band chart, and is working on a new record with the Emmitt/Nershi Band.

                                                                                          (continued on next page)
Although he is more of a band player than a contest performer, Tyler won the Rockygrass guitar contest in 2003,
won the Wayne Henderson festival contest in 2005, placed second at the National Flatpicking Championship in
Winfield, Kansas, in 2005, won the 2008 New England Flatpicking Championship, and became the National Flat-
picking Champion for placing first at Winfield in 2008.

Tyler is also a very gifted instructor. He teaches Bluegrass Guitar at the Steve Kaufman Acoustic Kamp in Ten-
nessee and the Augusta Heritage Center in West Virginia. And he‟ll be here in Reno on November 14 for a House
Concert and Bluegrass Guitar Workshop.

The Bluegrass Guitar Workshop will take place from 1 to 5pm, fee is $50. The House Concert will be at 7pm,
tickets are $20. Both events take place at the home of Bill McKean, 2885 Solari Dr.

Advance registration is required for the guitar workshop---call 775-847-0254 or send an email to Tickets for the concert are available online at .
Tickets may be purchased at the door, too, if there are any seats left. Doors open for the concert at 6pm and ad-
vance ticket holders will be given priority entry. This event is sponsored by the Traditional American Music Pro-
ject (TRAMP). More information at

                                                             .In addition to the GoodTimers, Gary also played
 Adios to                                                    with the Monday Night Volunteer Band, and Slim
 Gary                                                        Pickins. He was without a doubt one of the best
 Dunlap                                                      guitars pickers in the NNBA. We will all miss
 Submitted                                                   him.
 by Rick
 Rinehart                                                    Gary reports that he doing great. He says its good
                                                             to be near his family again. And he has friends
 Our good                                                    from college days that he used to play folk music
 friend and                                                  with. I heard that he recently purchased a 1970‟s
 pickin‟ part-                                               reissue of a 1956 Fender Telecaster and he‟s been
 ner has                                                     heard playing Merle Haggard tunes. Oh no! Say it
 moved back                                                  ain‟t so Gary! HaHa. Gary, we wish you well.
 to his native                                               You will always be welcome back.
 state of
 New Mex-
 ico. We all
 wish him
 well. The GoodTimers Jam Club gave him a proper
 send-off with a party at Rick & Vicki Rinehart‟s house.                      Mike Parsley
 Lots of beer, pizza, and bluegrass. Gary was a founding      D David Goldstein      Gary Dunlap
 member of the GoodTimers the group‟s teacher,                         Ron Moyes           RickRinehart
 “keeper of the rhythm”, and all-around main man. I
 remember when it took us all evening to get through
 three or four songs. We were pretty bad. It‟s a good
 thing Gary has a lot of patience. I met Gary at a blue-
 grass festival in Plymouth, CA in the fall of 2008. He
 just happened to be camped next to me. I asked if he
 played an instrument. He said that he could play a little
 guitar. Later that afternoon I sat down with him, guitar
 in hand, and thinking I might show him a thing or two.
 We started off with a Dylan song, “Don‟t Think
 Twice”. He blew me away with his “cross-picking” and
 “up the neck” style. That was characteristic of Gary-
 always understated his abilities.

New jam group in Elko!
Great Basin Bluegrass Jammers will get together at the
Duncan LittleCreek Gallery, 516 Commercial St.,
Elko, Wednesday, Nov. 17th at 7 pm. All levels, until
we know otherwise. If you know "one of us" who
might like to stop by, please pass the word! Check us
out at             Help support bluegrass music in
Jammers/.                                                        Northern Nevada with your
                                                               NNBA Membership
                                                                   Join or Renew Today!
                                                                   Two ways to join/renew:
                                                                      Online at
                                                               Print, complete and mail the form
                                                                   below with your check...
                                                            Membership Application
                                                            Northern Nevada Bluegrass Assoc.
                                                            Name: (Print)
                Nevada Day Chili Feed                       ____________other_____________
    Once again the Monday Night Volunteers were in-         Email:
    vited to play at the Chili Feed in Carson City for      ______________________________
    Nevada Day. They were well received and they            Instrument(s) played in order of preference:
    represented the NNBA with their usual flair.            1.________________2._______________
    The String of Pearls Cloggers did their dancing dur-    _
    ing the Monday Night Volunteer‟s break between
    sets. Shown in the picture is Bonnie Larsen cueing
                                                            3.________________ Vocalist? Y N
    the 6 cloggers that were willing to step up, so to      Would you like to:
    speak, and perform at the Chili Feed. All had a         3. Volunteer? Y N
    great time even getting up and doing a little sponta-   Do you have any other information that could
                                                            be of value to NNBA, i.e. (other talents, media
    neous “free style” to the music of the MNV. As for
                                                            contacts etc.)?
    the chili? I believe everyone ate their share.
                                                            All membership dues @ $15.00 per year, Fam-
                                                            ily membership @ $25.00. Renewal will occur in
                                                            the anniversary month of your membership
                                                            Mail to: Northern Nevada Bluegrass Association
                                                            P.O. Box 3177
                                                            Reno, NV 89505

                   World of Bluegrass, Nashville TN,
             as reported by Jan Ramirez, first time attendee
    World of Bluegrass is a week-long Bluegrass extravaganza, for lack of a better word, held once a year in
    Nashville. It is the main fundraiser for the IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association). The IBMA‟s
    mission statement is “Working Together for the Success of Bluegrass Worldwide.” What a great mission!!! I
    was fortunate that I was able to attend WOB this year. The Monday through Thursday part of WOB is a Busi-
    ness Conference geared toward all the facets of Bluegrass: artists of all ability levels, promoters, songwriters,
    teachers, and everyday people who may just want to hear good Bluegrass music. The IBMA awards show at
    the Ryman Theater is held on Wednesday. And Friday through Sunday is called Fan Fest, lots of great music
    for the fans. During the Business Conference there are many excellent seminars for participants.
       The atmosphere at WOB is just amazing. As all of you know, Bluegrass people are a friendly bunch. I made
    friends during the week and felt completely at home even though I didn‟t know anyone there. What John Hart-
    ford said is so true, “Bluegrass is America‟s last small town. Everyone knows everyone, and you don‟t have to
    lock your doors. And not only do we know each other, some of us are related!” I believe the most informative
    way for me to show what wealth of information is available at WOB is to list the seminars I attended. Also
    there was the IBMA awards show at the Ryman Auditorium, across the street from the Hotel and Convention
    Center. It had amazing music and many artists I idolize participated as announcers or special guests (Earl
    Scruggs!). The keynote address was given by Sam Bush, who has an interesting history, and is an entertaining
       Monday, 9/26/10: (there were usually 4 or 5 seminars at the same time so it was tough to pick just one. Each
    seminar was about 45 minutes)
    I’d Like to Teach the World to Jam- Pete Wernick Method of Bluegrass Teaching. No tab, learning by ear.
    Website Critiques: This seminar gave an overview of what makes a good website for a Bluegrass Association
    or a site for a band that wants to advertize themselves and get gigs.
       Tuesday, 9/28/10:       I went to a seminar called “Follow the Money for Songwriters & Publishers.” All I
    can say about this seminar is that it was so complicated that I really feel sorry for song writers who are trying
    to get paid. “Maximize Practice Time” The next seminar I attended was Practice tips from Megan Lynch,
    Ned Lubereki, and Ryan Cavenaugh.
    The next seminar was about IBMM (Bluegrass Museum in Owensboro, KY): There is a proposal to create a
    Bluegrass Music Center in Owensboro. The museum – IBMM – is a place to house all kinds of Bluegrass his-
    tory. Videos of interviews of notable people can be borrowed by the NNBA and shown to our members. The
    Museum needs help funding the films. Any questions about the Museum can be answered by calling 888-my-
    banjo. The website is . The museum is having a celebra-
    tion of the 100th anniversary of Bill Monroe‟s birthday next year. They have a festival every year called
    ROMP. The museum wants to have the Post Office create a postal stamp for Monroe‟s birthday next year.
    They are asking for signatures. Forms are available on the website. The Museum would like to have donations
    of artifacts, and that includes Associations: for example, early posters or programs, and documents. We would
    have to digitize them for the museum. They would like for every Association to appoint an ambassador to the
    museum. There will be an Ambassador‟s Program at the ROMP, June 23,24,25.
        Wednesday, 9/29/10: First seminar of the day was “What Can We Learn from the Jam Band Model?” I
    had not heard of the Jam Band Model. The participants were Ronnie McCoury, Roy Carter, Baron Ruth, and
    Chris Harris. The Grateful Dead created what is now called the Jam Band Model. Bands of this type don‟t
    have a set list, they either take requests like Del McCoury, or play what they feel like playing at the moment.
    It is a different musical experience every performance. These bands use social networks to reach their fans,
    even though the original bands didn‟t have the internet. They prefer live shows, and try to build a loyal com-
    munity of fans. Recorded music is secondary. Sharing songs is OK. Jimmie Buffet also is of this model. Old
    and In the Way, and Phish are examples. There is a sense of community that some people like. The perform-
    ances can be relived via YouTube.
    After lunch I went to a presentation about a new website concept called „Bluegrass Nation.‟ The concept is to
    have an all-encompassing website for Bluegrass fans (my words here). The wizard who will do all this is Craig
    Havighurst. Here are the bullet points that describe it:                        (cont. next page)

                The core of IBMA‟s digital strategy
                World‟s biggest database of Bluegrass fans
                A social network for Bluegrass fans and organizations
                A permission marketing engine
                Promotion of Grassroots (Associations and fans) IBMA membership
                A revenue source for IBMA
                A magnet for new bluegrass fans
                A marketing campaign/brand
                A connection to other social networks
A company called Leading Edge, a professional vendor, will be creating the new website. Bands will be able to
register on the website. The site could have ads for Band‟s gigs, videos of presentations, etc. The URL will be It will be a way to connect and share information. They hope to have it going in 4 to 5
months. There has been a delay due to financial considerations.
  Thursday, 9/30/10: I went to a Town Hall Membership meeting at 9AM. Technology advances are on hold for
IBMA until we see the financial results of WOB. The regular website, in addition to BluegrassNation will be re-
vamped. They asked for ideas on other ways that WOB to bring in money for IBMA. Membership is down 4%.
After this was an awards Brunch. Pete Wernick got an overall award for excellence. He was introduced by Tim
O‟Brien who told some funny and not-so-funny stories about Hot Rise. Pete and his family were on the plane that
crashed in the Midwest a couple of decades ago and cartwheeled along the ground before bursting into flames.
They got out all right, but many died.
 The evening‟s event was the IBMA Music Awards show at the Ryman Auditorium across the street. Needless to
say, that was amazing. There is probably a detailed write up on the IBMA website. I personally enjoyed seeing
Earl Scruggs. He and his two sons played a tune and Earl played Guitar!!
   Friday, 10/01/10: Fan Fest is held Friday and Saturday. The Business part is over, and these two days are just for
listening to music. I saw Michael Cleveland, who had just won best fiddle player and his band won something too.
He was giving a fiddle workshop, taking questions and playing requests. Pete Wernick, Jim Mills, Barry Crabtree
and Ned Lubereki of Serius Radio, all banjo players, had a workshop. They gave out advice and played some
tunes. I watched the Dixie Beeliners play. They are very good. It is a diverse group, not your usual group made up
of only men. Casey Henry plays banjo, Brandi Hart sings and plays guitar, Rachel Johnson plays Fiddle, and Sav
Sankeran plays bass. They all can sing.
   Saturday, 10/02/10: “Claire Lynch workshop” She won female vocalist of the year. She took questions and sang
songs for us. Someone asked if words or music come first when writing a song. For Claire they come together. She
has a lovely Southern accent and seems like a sweet person.
Mark Shatz and Missy Raines workshop on the Bass. I took a photo but didn‟t stay.
Some of the show I saw at Fan Fest in the evening: Audie Blaylock and Redline, Marty Raybon, the Fiddle cham-
pion (there was a fiddle contest during the week), McRenolds-Osborne-Seckler-JD Crowe and Friends, Russell
Some websites I heard mentioned: WSMonline (650 am Nashville radio),

    Tips for practicing from the Ryan Cavenaugh, Ned Lubereki, and Megan Lynch
       Record yourself and then listen to it. You will know what to work on
       Use a metronome when you practice
       Play with other people, and in jams
       Don't try to sound like someone else. Come up with your own sound
       Listen to Sirius satellite to learn more songs
       Noodling is a good way to learn a song
       You have to practice a lot, and practice when you don't want to
       Practice smiling and not making wierd faces
       Practice the banter that bands do, and smile at the audience
       People listen with their eyes

                                                         Scene, the Dillards, Jerry Garcia, and Peter Rowan.
CD NOTES by                                              You'll enjoy "Wait a Minute" by Herb, and "Desert
Cousin' Jim                                              Rose" by Chris.
NNBA Nov-Dec 2010                                           In the late 80's, the old friends formed an award win-
                                                         ning band on the country charts. I took my son to see
                                                         this group, The Desert Rose Band at Lawlor Events
                                                         Center. They were great, but the opener for the concert
                                                         really stole the show, Garth Brooks. Nashville was
                                                         changing again and the guys moved on in other more
                                                         accoustic venues.
                                                            This CD gives us listeners a real treat in great music
                                                         that has survived a changing music scene. You'll en-

                                                         HALL OF FAMER: LOUISE SCRUGGS
                                                         Flatt and Scruggs at Carnegie Hall

At Edwards Barn
Chris Hillman / Herb Pedersen

   In the early 1960's, Herb Pedersen and Chris Hill-
man first got together to form a local bluegrass band.
Chris had been learning guitar and playing in a high
school rock band, while Herb was listening to Earl
Scruggs, and Ralph Stanley playing their banjos.
Both these young guys found their passion in the         After Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs left Bill Monroe's
accoustic sounds of bluegrass and folk, and in the       Bluegrass Boys in 1948, the Foggy Mountain sound was
mid-sixties, Chris was asked to join the Byrds.          born. The fellows started touring and recording, more
David Crosby and Roger McGuinn wanted to make            than their old boss. The new sounds of country music
"accoustic rock" and thought Chris could help them       (bluegrass) was sweeping the nation. Lester and Earl
as a bass player and a songwriter. You'll enjoy Chris    got sponsored by Martha White Flour and toured in
and Herb, on this CD, performing " Turn, Turn,           "luxury" on the Martha White bus.
Turn", and "Eight Miles High". Chris wrote a great          In the 1960's, Earl's wife, Louise, started managing
song for the Byrds, "Have You Seen Her Face".            the band and booking dates. She was the first female
   Herb, on the other hand, was a very accomplished      manager and had to assert herself to many booking
banjoist and was asked by Earl Scruggs to sit-in for     agents. She sucessfully got Lester and Earl to perform
him on several performances. Earl needed surgery         at the New Port Folk Festival, a huge achievement.
and knew he would be laid-up for a while. After          Later Louise booked the boys into the Ash Grove night-
touring with Flatt and Scruggs, Herb was recruited to    club in L.A. Paul Henning was at the concert and asked
replace Doug Dillard, when Doug left the Dillards.       Lester and Earl to perform on his new TV show The
Big shoes to fill, but Herb did a great job!             Beverly Hillbillies. The gifted managerial skills of
   In the early 1970's Chris left the Byrds and formed   Louise broadened their appeal into folk circles and
a musical alliance with his friend Gram Parsons.         landed "Jed Clampett" into a number one spot on Bill-
Gram and Chris formed the Flying Burrito Brothers        board. Then she moved the group into a spin-off show
and recorded many great songs like "Wheels" and          Petty Coat Junction. Next up, the hit movie Bonnie And
"Sin City" both finding their way into our local mu-     Clyde, with their old song "Foggy Mountain
10                                                           Sanders saws a bluesy fiddle. Banjo man, Graham
                                                             Sharp plays a blazing banjo and holds his own on stage
Breakdown".                                                  with Steve. Graham was teased by Steve for only hav-
   Flatt and Scruggs were inducted into the Country Mu-      ing one banjo on stage, Martin has four banjos with dif-
sic Hall of Fame in 1985, and Louise is the 2010 induc-      ferent tunings. Graham's one banjo brought great ap-
tee into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame.                         plause from the audience.
   Louise knew the appeal of bluegrass could reach even         The Steep Canyon Rangers are a new band and give
big city audiences, so she arranged a date at Carnegie       us new music to enjoy. They have recorded all originals
Hall. The New York Times headline read, "Hicks From          on this CD and several of the tunes are featured on Sir-
The Sticks , Come To The City". She asked Columbia           ius radio. You'll enjoy "Have Mercy", "Turn Up The
to record the concert and this CD is the result.             Bottle" and "There Ain't No Easy Street". The driving
   Flatt and Scruggs At Carnegie Hall! features "Salty       sounds of "No Where To Lay Low" and the rock-a-billy
Dog Blues", "Down The Road", "Hot Corn, Cold Corn",          sounds of "I Thought That She Loved Me", propel this
and "Fiddle and Banjo", a song that inspired Steve Mar-      band forward. They tell stories of lost love on
tin to learn banjo at age 17. We also enjoy "Roll In My      "Heartbreak Is Real" and "Shades of Gray". Four part,
Sweet Baby's Arms", "Reubin" , and "Flint Hill Spe-          accapella harmony is outstanding on the track "Silvie",
cial". All in all 32 songs and the banter of the band dur-   and give a listen to "Hollerin House".
ing the concert.                                                Enjoy these guys in concert or listen to this great CD!
   This is a great recording and a must have for blue-                                              Happy Listening---
grass lovers!!                                               Jim Lappin

Deep In The Shade
Steep Canyon Rangers
                                                               We want your contributions to the
                                                               newsletter! News, announcements,
                                                               articles, photos, want-ads, etc send to
                                                               Zona Hairgrove
                                                               Phone: 786-6948
                                                               Snail mail: 533 Wonder St, Reno 89502
                                                               Deadline: the 20th of even-numbered months.

  In October, I was treated to a great concert, Steve
Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers. This band is
solid, technical, musically attuned, and lightning fast.
The Steve Martin show not only shows his great song-
writing and banjo playing talent, but the band matches
Steve lick for lick. This band will be recognized for
many years on their own credits.
  Woody Platt plays lead guitar and sings lead. Mike
Guggino plays a hot mandolin and sings harmonies.
Charles Humphrey III slaps a mean bass and Nicky

Bill Monroe- the “Father of Bluegrass”
Submitted by Rick Rinehart
Bill Monroe was born on his family‟s farm in western Ken-
tucky on September 13, 1911. He was the youngest of eight
children. Born into a musical family, his mother played a va-
riety of instruments and sang. His uncle Pendelton Vanderver,
was a locally renowned fiddler. Two older brothers played
fiddle, another brother and sister played guitar. Bill learned to
play the mandolin at the age of ten.

Bills mother, Melissa died when Bill was eight; his father
when he was 15. Bill went to live with his “Uncle Pen”. Bill
learned a substantial repertoire of traditional Appalachian
melodies from his uncle who he immortalized in song many
years later. (“Uncle Pen played the fiddle, Lord, how it rang;
You could hear it talk, you could hear it sing”). Bill met a
local black guitarist named Arnold Shultz who played blues
and country music. Bill wanted his own music to have a
bluesy sound, so he imitated the runs Shultz played and ap-
plied them to the songs taught him by his uncle. Monroe sang
in both the Methodist and Baptist churches in his hometown of Rosine, memorizing his parts because he could not
see to read the notes. By the age of thirteen he was accompanying his Uncle Pen, Arnold Shultz, or his older
brothers when they played in the local dance halls. Although he could play the guitar, he settled on the mandolin
primarily because it was the instrument his brothers did not play.

Of equally important significance to Bill‟s development was the work ethic he acquired from his parents. He was
determined, obstinate, serious, and thrived on hard work. Bill actually enjoyed driving a plow (Mule Skinner
Blues) and doing other tasks that would allow him to practice singing.

A couple years after his father died, Bill moved to Indiana where his brothers were working in an automobile as-
sembly plant. He and his brothers Birch and Charlie formed a band and played in their off hours for several years.
Finally in 1934 brothers Charlie and Bill decided to play full time as the Monroe Brothers. This arrangement did
not last. They fought constantly over business and music and finally in 1938 they went separate ways and estab-
lished their own bands. Bill originally called his band the Kentuckians but changed it to the Blue Grass Boys.
Bill‟s band, like most string-bands of the era consisted of a fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and bass. In 1939 they suc-
cessfully auditioned for the Grand Ole Opry. Bill was 28 years old.

By 1945 Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys were one of the Grand Ole Opry‟s biggest draws. They travelled
with a circus tent to house the large audiences they drew. The band at that time had the most important lineup of
bluegrass musicians ever assembled. Chubby Wise on fiddle had helped compose Orange Blossom Special. Les-
ter Flatt on guitar had a mellow voice that blended with Bill‟s piercing tenor. In addition, his rhythm playing kept
the band together and allowed them to play incredibly fast. Plus, Lester was a good songwriter. Bill‟s banjo
player at the time was comedian David “Stringbean” Akeman. In 1944 Earl Scruggs auditioned for the band. This
young man had an incredible three finger arpeggio style that added a new dimension to the sound. With Lester
Flatt‟s encouragement, Bill hired Earl. Stringbean went on to team up with Grandpa Jones and was a regular on
HeeHaw. Bass player Cedric Rainwater provided the comedy element. But at the core of the band and what gave
the band its distinct sound was Bill‟s high tenor voice and lightning fast mandolin riffs. While the term Bluegrass
Music was not yet coined, this group of musicians clearly defined what it was to become.

By 1948 the band was beginning to break apart. Fiddler Chubby Wise left to join another band. Flatt and Scruggs
left a few weeks later (taking bass player Cedric Rainwater with them) to form their own band, the Foggy Moun-
tain Boys. When Flatt & Scruggs left Monroe, the distinctive sound of his 1946-1948 band ceased to be Monroe‟s
private possession. There was a new sound to emulate. By 1949 the term bluegrass was beginning to be used to
describe the sound that Monroe created. By the early 1950‟s there were more and more bands performing in the

style of the Blue Grass Boys.

In the 1950‟s Bill toured constantly, performing hundreds of shows a year. The musicians that passed through his
band reads like a who‟s who of bluegrass music. Jimmy Martin, Mac Wiseman, Vassar Clements, Peter Rowan,
Lamar Grier (father of David Grier), Kenny Baker, Del McCoury, Sonny Osborne, Roland White, and even Carter
Stanley for a brief period. Bill‟s temperament made him a difficult person to work for. In the 60 years that Bill
performed there were over 150 musicians that had been part of his band.

The growing popularity of rock and roll in the mid-1950‟s had a profound effect on country music. In order to
compete with this new music, the executives in Nashville wanted a more polished sound, something that would
appeal to the middle class, urban fans. Studio musicians were used in recording sessions. Drums, pianos, electric
and pedal steel guitars were added to the mix. Country music was moving away from the more basic bluegrass

But while Bill Monroe‟s star was fading there was a new music element forming and that was the Folk Revival of
the early 1960‟s. These people, in ever growing numbers, were looking for a more authentic sound than was com-
ing out of Nashville. The first Newport Folk Festival was in 1959. Among the invited guests was Earl Scruggs.
While Bill wasn‟t invited to the first Newport Festival it wasn‟t long before the word was out that Bill Monroe was
the “Father of Bluegrass”. In 1965 he headlined the first true bluegrass festival near Roanoke, VA. and began his
own festival in Bean Blossom, Indiana in 1967. Within a few years there were hundreds of these bluegrass festi-
vals being held every year, with Bill Monroe at the focus. The mid 1960‟s were good years for bluegrass. Not
only was Bill recognized for the music genre he started but the Flatt & Scruggs tune “Ballad of Jed Clampett” was
being heard by millions of television viewers as the theme song to “The Beverly Hillbillies”.

Bill had been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1939 and appeared frequently almost until his death on Sep-
tember 9, 1996. He received many awards including the very first Grammy Award for bluegrass music in 1989
and was awarded the Grammy‟s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993. He also received the National Medal of
Honor from President Clinton in 1995.

Rolling Stone gives 5 stars to Bill Monroe‟s 1966 album “The High, Lonesome Sound of Bill Monroe”. Another
good choice would be the double CD “Bill Monroe Anthology”.

Note: Ads may be placed by members at no charge. Charge to non-members is $25. Ads will run for two months
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must be bluegrass related and short enough to get the point across. Send ads in email to
or snail mail to NNBA classified ads, PO Box 3177, Reno,NV 89505. Ads may be edited or declined at the dis-

Guitar lessons: rhythm and flat picking guitar lessons. Weekdays. Call Jim Denoncourt

1975 Gibson RB250 Mastertone 5 string banjo. Includes case. 1 Owner. Excellent
Condition. Photos available. $1,800. Roland Messier
Martin acoustic/electric bass for sale. Played 4-5 times. Excellent condition, great sound
acoustic or plugged in, Includes hardshell case. Original price $1700, will sell for
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Acoustic Image Contra Bass Amp Series III Model 510 w/carry case $1,000.00 Pur-
chased new Jan '08. Only used 2 months at jams. Tascam CD-BT-MKIIPortableCD Bass
Trainer$75.00. SW35 Bass Amp $100.00 Contact Sheary at 835-6421 or

LEFTY FLATTOPS: 1967 Gibson J-50. Excellent condition with OHSC. $1400. 1999 Martin
D-28. Like new. OHSC. $1600. Call 775 465-2272 for de-

S&J Luthier Services: Setup and repair on guitars, mandolins and banjos. My shop is
located in Fallon and I'm available for repairs or setup work on guitars, mandolins and
banjos. Call Steve Lester 775-423-1360 or

Fender FM 535 SB: Purchased 2000 never played. Immaculate. Price reduced to $225.00
obo. Bill Papa 775-857-

Guitar lessons, $15.00, contact Bill Papa, 857-1868.
WRS Music Services: Private & group lessons on mando, guitar, banjo, dobro, bass; vo-
cal help on lead and harmony for individuals or groups; sound reinforcement for all events
and occasions; acoustic music bookings; contact Rick Sparks 775-2330122.
2006 Phoenix "Bluegrass" mandolin. A fine instrument in beautiful condition. In-
cludes Phoenix finger rest and hard case. $2500 (current MSRP is $4800). Michael Franz
(775) 527-8256

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