Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Bluegrass Jam

This weekend, Dave, my Dad, and I went to a Bluegrass Jam. These little pieces of Americana should not be missed. Where else can likeminded musicians take over a municipal club? Where else can musicians fill every nook and cranny – including the empty spaces beneath the stairs – with the fast-paced melodies and sad tales of woe that make up Bluegrass Music? Where else can sub-par musicians take their place on stage with some really good musicians – and a few standouts – and sing for an audience of 2PM drunks?

To Dave, the Monthly Bluegrass Jam is a little piece of heaven.

I walked in, and asked the lady at the table if she’d seen my cousin, Deb. Without a beat, an unknown voice behind me bellowed, “She’s in the BAR!” Of course she is. Where else would she be? My cousin Deb is a gifted artist. She’s an amazing photographer, woodworker, and jewelry maker. She actually plays guitar, too. However, when I found her at the bar, she had no instruments with her. She just came to hang out – and show pictures of her new granddaughter, Tannah. (How many grannies out there do you know who hang out at the bar showing off her “brag book” in the form of an artists’ portfolio?

Anyway – the afternoon was highlighted by a young kid in the corner, softly playing his harmonica. When he walked by, we introduced ourselves. His name was Josh. I asked if he liked playing Bluegrass. He assured me he had – and then asked if I knew how to play ‘Tennessee Stud.’

“I know the song – but I don’t know how to play it,” I said.

“If you want to go someplace quiet, I’ll sing it for you.”

Smooth eh? But Wait! It gets better.

“Um,” I said, “I know the words – but maybe Dave knows how to play it.”

We moved to where Dave and my father were playing music (ok – Dave was playing music. My father decided he was too intimidated to play music with strangers just yet.)

“Dave, do you know ‘Tennessee Stud?’ I asked.

“No, sorry,” Dave answered.

“Well in that case, we’d better play ‘Wabash Cannonball’ so you can hear Josh play Harmonica.

What followed was the song. Dave sang softly. I played softly. Josh was playing SO softly, we could barely hear him, but it was clear he was having a good time. Afterwards, we sat around and played a few more songs. Then Josh tapped my shoulder.

“I suppose you’re wondering how old I am.”
Truth be told, I hadn’t been wondering anything of the sort – but guessed that he was 8.

“Nope. I’m nine. But my birthday is in a few weeks – so I’m really more like nine and a half.”

Dave didn’t hear this part of the conversation. When I told him about it later that afternoon, (after we’d left that part of the building), he just laughed and laughed. A few minutes later, Josh walked by us again. He gave me the funniest wave – the one where you don’t lift your arm from your side – but just sort of arch your wrist and give a hip-level wave. I smiled. He stopped.

He brandished his harp (that’s harmonica for all you non-grass people) “Are you ready to go downstairs and play some more?” I told him I’d catch up with him in a little while. Dave just looked at me.

“Is he hitting on you?”

I grinned, “I might just date the two of you for awhile.”


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