Bluegrass Music and Matt Harrison and why you’ll love them too…..

by Edie Wadsworth on September 13, 2010

Well, I think it’s high time we had this talk.
You and I have been friends for over two years now.
I haven’t ask much of you. Sure, I’ve had the occasional request that you watch Coal Miner’s Daughter or that you listen to George Jones.
But otherwise, haven’t I done my best to make sure you fall in love with all the best things in life?   I’ve introduced you to my buttercream icing and other butter-laden joys and I’ve even tried to convince you paint your cabinets and start homeschooling your children.
So, I’m gonna need you to stay with with me on this one. Our friendship could be in jeopardy here.
Because, you see I love bluegrass music. Like LOVE….IT. It even made it to the number one thing on my  ’100 things about me list’-–which as you’ve pointed out—I’ve never finished.
And that’s just a teeny bit beside the point right now.
Right now, I need you to pledge your love to the music of my people.
And I’m gonna lead you through it slowly. Take your time. Don’t jump to the 3rd video and think you can just automatically ‘get’ Ralph Stanley. He’s like good wine.
It’ll take some time.

But surely, every solid citizen of the u-es-of-A can agree on Allison Kraus? Right?
Angelic voice, fiddle-playing Allison Kraus? So start with her.

Now don’t rush it.   Listen to this one when you’re ready.  Maybe this afternoon.   In the twilight between dinner and bedtime.
But I think you’ll agree that the Cox family is pretty awesome too. And ‘I am Weary’ is a perfect Monday morning song. In fact, after my funeral, when you’re talking about how crazy I was and fighting over my vintage aprons, could you be so kind as to hire a bluegrass band to play this song in my honor?   Pretty please?  I had a bluegrass band at my wedding and in general feel that all major life events should be accompanied by the banjo.
Amen.

And this is where it might get tricky. See, I could listen to Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain boys ’til the cows come home.
(I can see the Clinch Mountains from where I live, btw)
And I did listen to them for a good two hours yesterday. I also like to play this song in the car when my nieces are with me. They snicker and giggle the whole entire time. My girls are so used to it that they don’t even react much anymore. But I realize this is where the rubber meets the road.
So when you’re ready, give Ralph Stanley a try. In fact, you should probably download the whole ‘O, Brother Where Art Thou’ CD.
It’s music for the soul. And it might be hard for us to remain close friends if you turn your back on me here.
You know the old saying, “You can’t trust a fella who don’t  like banjo music.”
I could have just made that up but I think it’s true.
Ralph, take it away.

Don’t rush it. If you don’t love it yet, I won’t give up on you.  Remember, fine wine takes time.
But I guess you can, then, understand my deep love and respect for the Reverend Matthew Harrison.
He’s the tall guy in the clerical collar playing the banjo and the new head of my church body. He was installed as president of the LCMS on Saturday.
Friends, he plays the banjo, loves bluegrass music, enjoys a Heineken or two , is a scholar of the scriptures and the church fathers and now just so happens to be the ‘new overseer of my soul’–to quote Pastor Bill Cwirla.

It doesn’t hardly get any better than that.

To see his speech after he was elected president, click here

My favorite quote: “I will do my best by the word of Christ to lead with the generous gospel of Jesus Christ which forgives us all our sins motivates us to love and care for our neighbor in mercy and compassion…..and I will work for unity around the clear and compelling Word of God and nothing else.”

Now tell me , what level of love can you pledge to bluegrass?   Can you go as far as Ralph Stanley or do you need to stay with Allison a while?  And doesn’t watching Pres. Harrison playing the banjo sorta make you wanna become Lutheran?

As far as the banjo music goes, don’t be too hard on yourself.  You probably grew up in Wisconsin or Seattle or Boston.  I’ll give you plenty of time!

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Karla September 13, 2010 at 11:21 am

Edie, I can definitely go with Ralph Stanley. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE me some bluegrass. I have been successful in getting one of my kids hooked so far but I am pretty sure Alex is a lost cause.

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2 Southern Gal September 13, 2010 at 11:46 am

Girl, you make me smile. You’ve taken me back to my childhood again. I can hear my granddaddy laying down bluegrass tunes on that steel guitar of his. Love it all. I don’t have time to listen to all these right now, but you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be back later! Have a blessed day.

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3 Elizabeth Highsmith September 13, 2010 at 11:56 am

you can fill my glass up, and i’ll plan on seconds. o, brother where art thou comes in at number one and number two on the ole playlist.

and had i of won the lutheran prayer book i was going to take it as a sure fire sign i was meant for the other side. happy monday and may God bless your blue grass lovin lutheran heart. i think we all secretly want to be a little like miss e.

press play and pass the gravy
amen

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4 Kim Setser September 13, 2010 at 11:58 am

Oh MY GOODNESS! You woke me up with this this morning. I grew up singing old gospel and now my favorite music is gospel-grass. I was just looking over the IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Awards) weekend in Nashville coming up in a couple of weeks. I will be attending the FanFest part, 3 days of bluegrass from sun-up to sun-down, all in one place. Rhonda Vincent and her brother’s group Dailey and Vincent, are among my favorites but my very favorite right now is Barry Scott and Second Wind.

I think I’m becoming a Lutheran by the way. Seriously.

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5 Laura September 13, 2010 at 12:18 pm

What a great way to start the morning! My hubs says to tell you he met Ralph Stanley. He’s already on your banjo band wagon! I am certainly becoming a convert…to the bluegrass, not being Lutheran, although you sure make it seem fun! I’m already Anglican, so we have lots in common. Hope your day is great and you get some time to listen to some great banjo!

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6 Melissa September 13, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Edie! We had a bluegrass band at our wedding, too! Let’s be best friends :)
I’m glad that you’re trying to win over some new bluegrass converts.

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7 Tara September 13, 2010 at 12:44 pm

my husband and I had our very first dance ever to one of Alison Krauss’ first songs. 1995…it was glorious. we rode a mechanical bull after it was all over….

you’ve got me all side tracked now…off to the school the kids…think I’m gonna play her tunes in the background!

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8 the domestic fringe September 13, 2010 at 12:58 pm

My husband is a BIG fan of bluegrass and he’s watched O Brother Where Art Thou a million times. Me, I’ve gotta stay with Allison for a while. ;-)

-FringeGirl

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9 Catron September 13, 2010 at 1:06 pm

I was raised on Bluegrass! My daddy was in a bluegrass band; he plays the guitar, the stand-up bass and the banjo. Tim O’Brien came to my house to sing happy birthday to my mom when she turned 50. I’ve met Allison Krauss a few times. I practically grew up with Chris Thile and Nickel Creek and John Cowan and Sam Bush are legends in my house. So yes, I can officially pledge my “Ralph Stanley level” love to bluegrass!!
Thanks for starting my day off right.

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10 Becky @ Farmgirl Paints September 13, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Isn’t it fun to share your loves with people:) We are all so different and each have our passions. Bluegrass isn’t something I ever listen too, but I loved that George Clooney movie. I remember the music from it being really cool and different.

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11 denice September 13, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Edie, what a way to start my day! As always, thank you! Love bluegrass, have you ever heard of Andrea Zonn? Her mom was my piano teacher, she left our Illinois world for your mountainous bluegrass soulville because she was a fiddling prodigy at age 12! Also, to Edie or anyone else out there….lost my FAVoRITE Christmas CD called “Christmas Jamboree” – can’t find a replacement anywhere on google! Edie, your poem from Sat was awesome by the way. You are definitely an artist. Happy monday, thanks for choosing my soundrack for life today!

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12 Crystal September 13, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Oh, I remember the sound of bluegrass on the radio every Sunday morning as we got ready for church. My mom’s family are mountain folk, so there was always a slew of instruments nearby at family gatherings. Is it not normal for someone to break out a banjo?:)

I like to think that I have a well-rounded taste in music, but there is definitely a soft spot in my heart for bluegrass. I tried to talk my husband into letting our 7 year old start learning to play the banjo in a few years, but so far he’s not coming around to that idea.

Oh, and we HEART the “O, Brother Where Art Thou” soundtrack, so he does at least like a little taste every now and then.

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13 Beth September 13, 2010 at 3:44 pm

LOVE bluegrass!! I grew up in Missouri, and some of our church services resembled a good old fashioned bluegrass jam :) Sometimes it can get a bit twangy, but that’s just part of it, isn’t it? Allison Kraus has to be one of my favorites, and surely you’ve heard of Nickel Creek. happy Monday!

beth

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14 melissa stover September 13, 2010 at 3:51 pm

already with you. i’m not a music lover in that i don’t listen to music much, i never know what the new music is out there and i don’t walk around humming a tune. but, if i were to listen to music i would most likely pull out my o brother where art thou soundtrack because it is one of my favorites (and i own it too!). see, we are kindred spirits.

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15 Lindsey@mama sews September 13, 2010 at 3:57 pm

I grew up in the mountains of NC,so bluegrass is part of my soul. I do love me some bluegrass and luckily married a man who does too. :)

Check out Steep Canyon Rangers for good bluegrass. I actually went to high school with a couple of the band members and didn’t realize it when I started loving their music. And even though they are not truly bluegrass, I DO love some Avett Brothers. :)

Great video you shared, too, thanks! I’ve discovered not everyone appreciates good music like bluegrass, but I’ve decided they just don’t know what they’re missing. :)

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16 Lindsey@mama sews September 13, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Love the video!

I grew up in the mountains of NC, so bluegrass is in my soul! I’m so glad I married a man who loves bluegrass as much as me. :) Allison Krauss has such a great sound, so love her music.

Check out Steep Canyon Rangers for good music. I actually went to high school with a couple of them, but didn’t discover it until I started listening to them. And even though they are not truly bluegrass, I do love some Avett Brothers.
(but not Nickel Creek!)

Not everyone understands our love of bluegrass either. :) Oh well, it’s their loss.

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17 Lindsey@mama sews September 13, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Oops, the first time I commented, it said they was an error and wouldn’t publish it so I had to do it again, but there the two posts are!
(blushes)

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18 Samba in Sac September 13, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Thanks for the intro two a couple new blue grass folks. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE bluegrass music and as a native California girl…uhhhh it is rather rare in these parts. I have taken lots of criticism for my musical tastes…Not much of it to be found here out west. Nothing like some loud banjos and fiddles to make a girl wanna clean….Thanks for sharing….

samba aka Dawn

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19 Rhonda N. September 13, 2010 at 5:25 pm

A college friend knew/grew up near Allison Krauss, I think, which makes me….practically related?

Anyway, LOVE a good banjo – or any ol’ banjo, as I probably couldn’t tell the difference between good or not good.

Thanks for that.

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20 Lynda Dishner_Campbell September 13, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Honey, if you have Not been to the Carter Fold, here in Scott Co, Virginia, you need to come. Ralph was at the Fold a few weeks ago. If you can see Clinch Mountian from your home you can’t be far away. Hope you make it.

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21 Michelle F September 13, 2010 at 5:42 pm

I sooo love bluegrass & Allison Krauss is angelic. I just found my Oh Brother CD, it was MIA for the last year. Found it hiding in my sons room.

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22 Debra September 13, 2010 at 5:56 pm

You’re preaching to the choir Edie! I love Alison Kraus and I have the soundtrack to Where Brother… We have good friends up here in Canada who have a blue grass band. I adore them!

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23 ulli September 13, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Hi Edie, Love love love Bluegrass!! Thanks for posting the videos–it was great seeing them and listening again. Am also a LCMS Lutheran here in Virginia and admire Pres. Harrison very much. Good to hear that speech again too. Blessings to you and yours!

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24 Bonnie September 13, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Although I don’t listen to bluegrass often I certainly can appreciate it. I’m very versatile when it comes to music and listen to almost anything…..it all depends on my mood. I do love listening to Elvis singing gospel. Oh and I love, love, love Coal Miner’s Daughter…what a great movie, a movie I can watch a zillion times and not get sick of. I enjoyed your videos by the way!

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25 Pamela K. September 13, 2010 at 9:11 pm

I LOVE this post! Since my roots are from your neck of the woods, I grew up listening to some fine bluegrass music. One of my uncles was even in a band. Bill Monroe was his idol. When he died, we chose to put an engraving of a mandolin on his tombstone.
Oh, and one more thing, I’m a converted Lutheran, too. So you are definitely preaching to the choir here too!:-)

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26 meg duerksen September 13, 2010 at 10:16 pm

well….i love it. i don’t have any of it….but my dad always listened to it. always.
so it makes me nostalgic. :)

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27 Jessica September 13, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Hmmm, I’m going to have to think about this one. I bought your Lutheran Book of Prayers, I watched Coal Miners Daughter, I love your lemon blueberry coffee cake more than my love of Favre (not really but its darn close), but I may have to draw the line at bluegrass. I’d reeeeally have to be in the mood and even then I’d have to be a little tipsy. :D

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28 Kara September 14, 2010 at 1:18 am

Edie, Edie, Edie.
My grandparents raised us on bluegrass. Unfortunately, I was an unruly child and went way contemporary in my music. But I have cousins that sing bluegrass and play all sorts of music. They’ve been going to Nashvhille for about a year now…and they’re only 16 and 13. You should give them a listen:
http://www.myspace.com/ivydeneandthetwilight

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29 Paula September 14, 2010 at 1:31 am

I love bluegrass music. My hubby plays the banjo and introduced me to it. Your pastor is awesome!!

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30 Sara September 14, 2010 at 2:34 am

Love them all. Have you heard Alison Krauss sing “Slumber My Darling” accompanied by Edgar Meyer and Yo-Yo Ma? Awesome!

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31 Amber Ellis September 14, 2010 at 3:48 am

More and more reasons why I love reading your blog. I’m a bluegrass girl myself. Yes, so much so that last year my hubby bought me a mandolin for our anniversary and I’m not learning to play! My instructor actually toured with Bill Monroe and Ricky Scaggs……. it’s ok, you can be jealous!! I’m no where near as good as him (yet), but I give it a good try. He has finally convinced me that no one is too old to learn to play an instrument. I was sure it was only meant for children, as their little minds must learn it much faster than mine!! Thanks for this post. It made my day!! I’m keeping your blog open so I can listen to this wonderful music :)

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32 Lana Austin September 14, 2010 at 3:00 pm

This is my life.

No, really.

I wrote the creative part of my master’s thesis (which also incorporated many of the historical elements that I’d found during the research portion)largely on bluegrass music–well, it’s infused with my personal take on it and personal family’s history as I sought out my biological family’s roots.

More specifically, I wrote about the Scottish & Irish folks (my forebears) who came to America and brought their music which, mixed with a few other things, became bluegrass, which became country and rockabilly and rock & roll…

All the while mixing in my real family, full of music of course (Blood Harmony) and alcoholism and poverty, the huge floods that ravaged parts of Eastern Kentucky (I focus more on Kentucky, but this is really applicable to all of Appalachia so you will recognize TN just as clearly)AND beauty and light and sound and fury and the magic of the hammered dulcimer dancing with the mandolin and….

All converging into the manuscript of Blood Harmony.

It goes backwards in time….I think, if I remember correctly, it ends on Begat which tells the larger story of Bill Monroe and all those bluegrass boys who bled for all the music to come.

I’ll send you an email of some of the manuscript. Some of these poems (and I say this not to brag, but out of gratitude to God for the blessing) are real published, award-winning pieces.

I’m editing this manuscript right now to submit to some publishing houses.

I just finished a magazine piece where I interviewed the venerable poet/author R. T. Smith who has an amazing poem called Mandolin that pays tremendous homage to Bill Monroe. I highly recommend it.

Anyway….I’ll email you the tome.
;)

Needless to say, I am THRILLED that you would write about Bluegrass.

Oh, and one last thing: Yes, Loretta rocks! I, briefly, incorporate her into my piece “Sex at the Ryman.” I do say a naughty word or two in that poem, but it’s a celebratory cursing, which is an oxymoron, I know.
:)

Bless you and your bluegrass lovin’ heart,
L

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33 Victoria C September 15, 2010 at 1:29 am

It’s not just you U, S of Aers that like this stuff. I could listen to it all day long too. We Aussies like a bit of Bluegrass too. And you’re right about the Banjo. I love it.

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34 Kristi September 15, 2010 at 5:25 am

LOL Edie, you are the best! I am a Yankee (aka upstate NY) but have family in Alabama, does that count? I am gonna listen to Paster Harrisons speech and then his bluegrass!! LOL :)
Kristi

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35 Lisa Cash September 15, 2010 at 7:00 am

Even though I grew up in Texas and my grandaddy probably played more Bob Wills and western swing, I still love me some bluegrass! Banjos always bring back memories of my grandparents – most especially going with them to square dances. Loved those petticoats – so fancy!

If you haven’t heard her, give Kasey Chambers a listen. She’s a thoroughly modern Aussie, but her music is classic americana – and perfect for singing along!

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36 stephanie September 15, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Oh, preach it sister!! This is my first visit to your blog but you can bet your butter-lovin’ behind that I’ll be back!! We just saw the Steeldrivers a couple of weeks ago, and MAN, they were good. And Ms.Krauss is always at the top of my list. Off to listen to your links….

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37 stephanie September 15, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Also forgot to mention Nickel Creek….we saw them 9 times when they still toured together. So sad they broke up. :(

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38 Sarah September 15, 2010 at 8:09 pm

I knew I loved you from the moment I read your blog…..but now, I do believe my husband is going to adore you also. He has suddenly come out of the closet with his bluegrass love and listens to it constantly. He is still trying to win me over–I am not fully convinced. Right now his favorite group is the “Wailing Jennings” or some such foolish name….. ;-)

Even so, I will still visit you frequently, in spite of your sudden subconscious alliance with my husband.

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39 patty September 15, 2010 at 10:19 pm

you are too funny… i made it all the way down to Clinch Mtn… bc we sing those songs all the time. i know a certain fella who listens to it in the OR sometimes. yes, he does. born in NY and all… now THAT’s a transformation.. from pat benatar to Clinch Mtn boys… :) fun post, edie!

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40 Aquamom September 16, 2010 at 1:19 am

Amen Sister!! I grew up in the Mtns of NC – where you learn to clog as soon as you can walk! and of course bluegrass goes along with it! Check out one of our local bands – Balsam Range (balsamrange.com & on fb) they will be releasing their 3rd album in Oct. Other fav’s Ricky Scaggs, Doc Watson, Rhonda Vincent & the Rage–oh the list goes on! My hubby can’t hang- but my little is catching on pretty quickly :-)

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41 jessica leigh September 17, 2010 at 12:49 am

it’s funny how much we have in common. we have been listening to a bluegrass cd lately! sam LOVES bluegrass, and so do i!

and……………..the other day hubby and i were competing to see who could say the books of the bible the fastest. . .then a few days later, you posted on here saying the books! ha! it cracked me up, i had to show it to him! :)

anyways. . .the blog world. . . . makes the world smaller than it really is. .it seems!!!
night!! :)

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42 Capprice Young September 18, 2010 at 11:48 am

love your post…At Dahlonega Methodist a couple weeks ago we had The Peasall Sisters!!! There dad is a preacher in their hometown and he plays and sing with them. They are GREAT too.

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43 Jenn September 19, 2010 at 2:15 am

Bluegrass music is amazingly soulful…easy to see why it is a favorite of yours! One of my fondest memories is of a trip to New England (we are an Atlanta family) accompanied by the OBWAT soundtrack and a good dose of Alison Kraus. We tend to recall trips by the music we listen to or the stories on CD that we “read” in the car. Thanks for the reminder!

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44 Lauren September 25, 2010 at 10:47 pm

Honey, I can go all the way! Love love love bluegrass music. It’s deep in my roots. Where I am from, we have a bluegrass festival twice a year! People bring their campers from all over the U.S…..alot of them come for a week. And it’s a weekend full of pickin’ and grinnin’! This was a super post. I enjoyed every bit of it. From Allison, all the way to Ralph! I am from SouthEast Alabama, so what do you expect!! ;)

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45 Joni January 21, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Edie, I just found your blog today (1/21/11) & am very much enjoying your thoughts & sharing. (This from another East TN gal – I’m in the Tri-Cities area). I have you & your family on my prayer list as well. And girl, I love bluegrass! I was brought up around it (my Dad was in a band called Gospel Grass) & I’ve picked up several instruments myself just being a “bluegrass-groupie.” I hope you have a blessed weekend.
Joni

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