Thursday, August 31, 2006

Banjo Blues: Dock Boggs

This week I've tried to look at some of the more obscure blues musicians and the influence of the African American on Old Time, Country, and Bluegrass. When I started this week out I had only a vague idea of where I was going with this. I'm still not sure I've covered all that I had wanted to, and I seem to have run out of week. C'est la vie.

Dock Boggs seems like the perfect way to tie up a few loose ends. Moran Lee "Dock" Boggs was born near Norton VA in 1898. He learned to play the banjo as a child, learning from local musicians and by duplicating what he heard on the radio. Perhaps his most important influences were the local African-American musicians that he would worked with in the coal mine. He married in 1918 and began working as a subcontractor on a mine. His wife's poor health was the reason he returned home to earn a living moonshining and playing his banjo. In 1927 representatives for Brunswick were searching the area for new recording artists when they heard about Boggs. They took him to New York for a recording session where he recorded eight sides for the label. The records sold fairly well, mostly in his home area, but Boggs never really made it big. By 1933 the combination of the Depression and his wife's ill health forced him to hock his banjo and take a steady job back in the coal mines.

In 1963 folklorist and ethnomusicologist, Mike Seeger managed to track Boggs down at his home in Norton and convinced him to try his hand at recording again. With Seeger's encouragement Boggs recorded three albums for the Folkways label (now Smithsonian Folkways Recordings). He enjoyed a second career as a musician, playing at festivals and folk music society concerts. Dock Boggs died February 7, 1971, after finally earning his living from his music.

Dock's choice of music reflected the people he worked with and played music with all of his life. He took a liking to the blues that his black coworkers in the mines were playing. His banjo playing was quite unique also, as he played a three-finger style but struck the strings picking upwards like a finger-picked guitar rather than the knock-down style more typical of the banjo.



Dock Boggs - Country Blues.mp3

Dock Boggs - Danville Girl.mp3


As an addition to yesterday's post I have reposted Frank Hutchison's "K.C. Blues" that I originally posted last November. The Old Blue Bus has doubled the number of riders since then and I thought the four new folks would enjoy this incredible example of a white mountain boy playing the blues. Recorded on July 9, 1929.

Frank Hutchison - K.C. Blues.mp3


Y'all have a good weekend!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Hillbilly Blues

Once the bottle was uncorked there was no puttin' it back.

The white farmers, coal miners, and mill workers of the Southern Appalachians understood the low-down, hard-luck feelings of the blues. Once they were introduced to the blues stylings of the black musicians that had migrated to the cotton mills and coal mines of the mountains they took them to heart.

Two of the finest of the "white country blues" performers were Dick Justice and Frank Hutchison. I've written about both here before. For our new riders, I'll reprint the introduction I wrote last November for Frank Hutchison.

"Frank Hutchison was a white coal miner in Logan, West Virginia who could associate with the hard-luck tunes of his black coworkers. The miners, both black and white worked side by side in a dangerous, low paying job. They knew the blues as well as any share cropper in Mississippi. Hutchison learned the guitar at an early age, listening to a black railroad worker named Henry Vaughn, that he had made friends with when he was 8 years old. He played and traded licks with Bill Hunt, a crippled black guitarist who lived nearby and his neighbor, Dick Justice, both accomplished musicians also. Hutchison usually played his guitar lap style and used a pen knife as a slide. Noted author, historian, and ethnomusicologist, Charles K. Wolfe calls Hutchison the "first real white bluesman to record". His successful recording career spanned from the early '20s until pressure from his record company, Okeh, to add a fiddler and play more honky tonk tunes ended it in 1929, when he returned to Lake, West Virginia where he owned and operated a grocery store."

Dick Justice was a friend and neighbor of Hutchison's back there in the mines of Logan County.

Frank Hutchison - Coney Isle.mp3

Dick Justice - Brown Skin Blues.mp3

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Banjo Ballads & the Blues

It's funny that the banjo has become the symbol of the Bluegrass and Hillbilly music of the Southern Appalachians. The banjo is derived from an ancient African instrument, brought to this country on slave ships along with their dismal cargo.

The first European settlers of the Appalachian Mountains were the Scots and Irish immigrants. They brought with them the music of home; along with the reels and dance tunes, they brought the darker music of the ballads.

Until the traveling minstrels and the medicine shows made their way into the hills and hollows of the mountains, the music heard at weekend barn dances and church picnics in the mountains sounded very similar to the music heard in any village on the Emerald Isle. I've talked about this major change that shaped American music many times, but it's importance bears repeating. The influence of the African-American on the music that would become country and bluegrass was significant.

Start with the banjo. It was quickly adopted by the folks of the mountains. Then of course there was the sound that we know as the Blues. The subsistence farmers of this rocky region, the coal miners, and everyone who scrapped a living out of these mountains were familiar with the hardships of just getting by. When the medicine show brought black musicians from the lowlands with their unique blues stylings and licks were traded, the Celtic-based mountain music took on a new sound.

The two cuts I've posted today are examples of the period of that transition. The songs are still in the traditional mountain ballad/story style, played on the African-derived banjo.



Gaither Carlton - Omie Let Your Bangs Hang Down.mp3

Clarence "Tom" Ashley - Dark Holler.mp3


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Monday, August 28, 2006

Pickin' Women: Geeshie Wiley

The names of the blues greats of the 1920's and 30's roll off the tongue like old friends. Charley Patton, Blind Boy Fuller, Big Bill Broonzy, Memphis Minnie,...

Just like today there were plenty of lesser known artists that never got the recognition they deserved. Thankfully, the popularity of the major record labels "race records", meant that lots of those less popular artists were preserved for us on discs.

Not much is known about Geeshie Wiley, other than her name and the three records she left behind. The name "Geeshie", "Geechie", or "Geechee" was a nickname most commonly used along the coast of South Carolina, although some claim she was from the Natchez, Mississippi area. All that is truly known about Geeshie Wiley is that she was an accomplished guitar player and that she was in Grafton, Wisconsin at the studios of Paramount Records in March of 1930 to record with fellow blues guitarist Elvie Thomas (Paramount #12951 - Geeshie Wiley: Last Kind Words / Skinny Leg Blues & Paramount #12977 - Elvie Thomas & Geeshie Wiley: Motherless Child Blues / Over to My House). Both women returned to Grafton in March of 1931 to record a third disc (Paramount #13074 - Geeshie Wiley & Elvie Thomas: Pick Poor Robin Clean / Eagles On a Half).

I first came across the music of Geeshie Wiley through the documentary film "Crumb". (We have already established that many riders on the Bus are fans of R. Crumb, as is your driver, so many of you may be familiar with this film.)

Listen to the superb guitar work by Geeshie Wiley with Elvie Thomas playing second guitar. Erie, mournful blues classics.



Geeshie Wiley & Elvie Thomas - Last Kind Words.mp3

Geeshie Wiley & Elvie Thomas - Pick Poor Robin Clean.mp3


Pick Poor Robin Clean can be found on the compilation "Mississippi Masters: Early American Blues Classics 1927-1935" available at Amazon.com

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Blue Monday: Josh White

Josh White is one of those rare individuals that got the chance to reinvent himself, and he did it several times.

Born in Greenville, South Carolina to a preacher and his choir-singing wife, Josh White started his singing career in the church. As he grew older, he dropped out of school to work with other street singers throughout the Southeast. His guitar mastery and strong voice earned him a reputation as one of the premiere artists of the Piedmont Blues. As his guitar and vocal skills sharpened, his musical tastes widened and he decided to move to the urban areas of the North. There he found a middle-class, mostly white audience at the coffeehouses and his style changed to reflect what his new audience wanted, folk music, sometimes as a solo act with his guitar and sometimes accompanied by a small jazz band. During the 1940's he began to write protest songs and work for the growing civil rights movement. His involvement with political and civil rights causes got him blacklisted. In an attempt to escape the blacklist, he testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee about the communist influence in the entertainment industry. His career never fully recovered. From the mid 1950's until his death in 1969, Josh White played mostly at folk venues, coffeehouses and festivals, and his songs reflected his earlier convictions as well as the times. Today he is mostly remembered for his songs of social activism such as "One Meatball", "Jim Crow Train", and "Welfare Blues".

Here are a couple cuts from his earlier, Piedmont Style Blues recordings.

Josh White - Bad Depression Blues.mp3

Josh White - Hard Time Blues.mp3



Recordings by Josh White are available from Document Records, Amazon.com also has a few worth looking into.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Crooked Road: The Future


Old Time music is alive in the hills of the The Crooked Road. Always has been, and if the youngsters showing up at fiddlers conventions are any indication, the future will hold many more Old Time treasures.

One outstanding young fiddler is 12 year old Montana Young. She first started playing fiddle at the age of 4, after her parents took her to the Galax Old Fiddler's Convention.

Montana is from Bassett, Virginia, in Henry County. Her first teachers were a classical violinist and a local bluegrass fiddler. She has made quite a name for herself, earning the first chair in the Roanoke Junior Strings. But it was bluegrass music that she preferred to play, and she earned an apprenticeship through the Virginia Folklife Program to study under bluegrass legend Buddy Pendleton of Patrick County.

Montana Young has won over 50 blue ribbons for her fiddling and taken first place going bow-to-bow with the adults at some of the most prestigious competitions, including Sparta, Fries, and Mt. Airy fiddler's conventions.

The Virginia Folklife Program has produced a CD by Montana Young, entitled Fiddling Up A Storm, a nod to the two stormy southwest Virginia evenings on which these cuts were recorded.


Montana Young - Polecat Blues.mp3

Montana Young - Cherokee Shuffle.mp3


Buy your copy of Fiddling Up A Storm at The Virginia Folklife Program - Crooked Road CD Series. While you're there, check out the other great CD's they have from along the Crooked Road.


Y'all have a good weekend!


This is the end of this trip along The Crooked Road, although I'm sure we will return from time to time. A tip of the hat to my friend Walt, once again, for sharing his collection and filling in the holes.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Crooked Road: Early String Bands


Virginia figured promenently during the first wave of recordings in the rural south by the major record labels in the 1920's. Virginia proved to be the motherlode of Old Time string bands and rural music that the record companies were looking for, surpassed, perhaps, only by Georgia.

In the past I have featured several of those great artists that the record companies went so far into the hills to find. Fiddle greats such as Crocket Ward and Uncle Eck Dunford, who each played with Pop Stoneman and played together as the Ballard Branch Bogtrotters, Fiddlin' Cowan Powers (pictured above) and his family string band from Russell County, Danville's long bow fiddler Charley La Prade and his highly influential Blue Ridge Highballers, and Jack and Claude Grant who's band called the Tenneva Ramblers played around the Bristol area and included a singer by the name of Jimmie Rodgers up until he left the band a week or two before their recording session. Jimmie Rogers left to record his own session in Bristol that would change country music forever.

It has taken me many years to collect all of the music in my library. Those of you who want some of these great old recordings without the time and research required to collect them individually, have a much simpler solution. Back in 1994, County Records released the compilation CD "Rural String Bands of Virginia" that includes 16 of these rare recordings remastered from old 78's. The CD contains a wonderful selection of songs by some of the best Old Time string bands the Commonwealth had to offer in the 1920's and 30's. "Rural String Bands of Virginia" includes excellent liner notes including background info on all of the bands, the Old Time music scene of 1920's Virginia, and the influence these recordings had on the country music that was born in these hills.


New Roanoke Jug Band - Triangle Blues.mp3
Recorded in Richmond, VA - October 18, 1929

Fiddlin' Powers Family - Old Virginia Reel.mp3
Recorded in Winston-Salem, NC - September 28, 1927


Buy "Rural String Bands of Virginia" from County Sales or Amazon.com

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Crooked Road: Dry Branch Fire Squad


Ron Thomason was born and raised above the Clinch River in Russell County, Virginia. He began playing music at the age of 13 and has since played or recorded with some of the biggest names in Bluegrass music, The Clinch Mountain Boys, The Wilson Brothers, Joe Isaacs, Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley to name but a few. In 1976 he formed the Dry Branch Fire Squad.

The Dry Branch Fire Squad have been festival favorites for over a quarter century. The band has seen several members come and go over the years, but the humor and leadership of Ron Thomason has always held the band to high standards. They have played the Old Time and Bluegrass standards to thrilled audiences across the country and have become somewhat of a standard themselves. And they have set that standard high with superb instrumentation and sweet harmonies.

Just last year Rounder Records released the 2 CD Dry Branch Fire Squad - Live At The Newburyport Firehouse. While all of the more than two dozen CDs that the Dry Branch Fire Squad have released are excellent examples of fine Old Time and Bluegrass music, nothing can compare to their live performances for the full effect. Ron Thomason is the band's emcee, introducing each song with a witty, insightful story. The songs are all wonderful mountain standards full of emotion.

Buy Dry Branch Fire Squad - Live At The Newburyport Firehouse here.


Dry Branch Fire Squad - Hot Corn, Cold Corn.mp3

Dry Branch Fire Squad - Standing By The River.mp3

Dry Branch Fire Squad - The Orphan Train.mp3

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Crooked Road: A Family Thing

The City of Bristol sits smack on the border between Tennessee and Virginia. The north half of town is in Virginia while the south half is in Tennessee.

One of the most important recording sessions in American music history took place in Bristol. The year was 1927, and Ralph Peer, Recording Director for the Victor Talking Machine Company, had been convinced by one of his recording stars, a fellow from Fries, Virginia by the name of Pop Stoneman, that there was enough talent in the area to make a recording trip worthwhile.

That historic recording session has been called the "Big Bang of Country Music". Pop Stoneman and his wife, Hattie were the first to record in the hotel with Mr. Peer. Over the following days the original Carter Family (A.P, Sara, and Maybelle) recorded their first cuts, followed a few days later by yodler Jimmie Rogers. Although the music had been around for a long time, Bristol has the right to call itself the "Birthplace of Country Music" due to this historic session.

Ernest Van "Pop" Stoneman was born May 25, 1893 near Monarat (Iron Ridge), Carroll County, Virginia. The son of a lay preacher and his singer wife, Pop Stoneman took to music at an early age. His mother died when he was three years old and he was raised by his father and two musical cousins. He learned to play many instruments as a youngster but took a special interest in the Autoharp.

Pop Stoneman played for the amusement of friends and family and worked odd jobs as a farm hand, carpenter, and sweeper at a cotton mill in Fries. Around 1924 he heard a record by G.B. Grayson & Henry Whitter that changed his life. He decided to take his music serious and have a go at playing professionally. Stoneman went to New York and recorded several records for Okeh and Victor. His first recording "The Sinking of the Titanic", recorded in September, 1924 hit number three on the Billboard/Variety charts. The record stayed on the charts for ten weeks and sold over one million copies, the first country record to do so.

Pop moved back to southwestern Virginia and began adding his and Hattie's grown children to the family band to give them a full string band sound. When the Depression hit, it hit the rural counties of the Appalachians hard and Pop moved his family to Carmody Hills, Maryland near Washington, D.C., where Pop found steady work at a Naval gun factory. Pop Stoneman recorded over 200 records before his death June 14, 1968. The Stonemans, as the family band was now known, continued to play at festivals and TV shows across the country. Pop & Hattie's daughter, Roni Stoneman, may be best known as Ida Lee, the Ironing Board Lady on the popular Hee Haw TV show for many years.


The Stoneman Family - Watermelon On The Vine.mp3

The Stoneman Family - Little Maggie.mp3

The Stoneman Family - Life's Railway To Heaven.mp3

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Crooked Road: G.B. Grayson & Henry Whitter

I've featured some of the fine artists from southwestern Virginia on the Bus many times in the past. The region has been home to some of the most influential musicians since recordings were first made there in the 1920's.

The Commonwealth of Virginia recognized the musical contributions of the region by designating a 225 mile trail through the hills and hollows as "The Crooked Road: Virginia's Heritage Music Trail".

Perhaps the most influential artists to come from the hills of The Crooked Road were G.B. Grayson & Henry Whitter. Fiddler and singer Gilliam Banmon (G.B.) Grayson was born in nearby Ashe County, North Carolina. He worked as a traveling musician throughout the mountains of the southern Appalachians, playing at fairs, barn dances, and picnics. He was also entered and frequently won, many fiddle conventions in the region.

Guitarist and singer Henry Whitter was born in Fries, Virginia. Whitter and Grayson met at a fiddlers' convention in Mountain City, Tennessee in 1927. The two teamed up and recorded 40 songs over a three year period. Their recording of "Handsome Molly" sold over 50,000 copies! The recordings made by G.B. Grayson & Henry Whitter had a tremendous effect on country music and still does. The songs they recorded during those short three years before Grayson's death in an automobile accident are considered classics: "Cluck Old Hen," "Tom Dooley," "Rose Conley" and "Lee Highway Blues (Going Down the Lee Highway)" Ommie Wise", to name a few. Their songs have been covered by such diverse artists as Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Ralph Stanley, and Doc Watson.

Perhaps not the most famous names to be found along The Crooked Road, but G.B. Grayson & Henry Whitter were the most influential on all that followed.

This looks like a good place to start our trip along "The Crooked Road: Virginia's Heritage Music Trail".


G.B. Grayson & Henry Whitter - Tom Dooley.mp3

G.B. Grayson & Henry Whitter - Ommie Wise.mp3

G.B. Grayson & Henry Whitter - Short Life Of Trouble.mp3

G.B. Grayson & Henry Whitter - Going Down The Lee Highway

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Two Kings of Good Times - Together

After work today I'm off to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a week of beach, beer, and relaxation. I suppose my anticipation has shown through in the selections I have chosen to post this week!

As I said yesterday, and many times in the past, accordions and good-time music go hand-in-hand. Two of the kings of feel-good party music, although from vastly different styles, collaborated on a couple of songs that define a good time.

The King of Party Music, Delbert McClinton, and Polka King, Jimmy Sturr recorded a couple of get-off-your-ass-and-party songs together on Jimmy Sturr's Grammy Award winning Shake, Rattle and Polka! CD.



Jimmy Sturr with Delbert McClinton - Kansas City.mp3

Jimmy Sturr with Delbert McClinton - The Promised Land.mp3

Jimmy Sturr with Delbert McClinton - Tossin' and Turnin'.mp3


Shake, Rattle and Polka! is available from Rounder Records.

Y'all enjoy.
See ya in a week!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Accordions are cool!

The Baltimore-based Crawdaddies fuse Cajun, Zydeco, Rock, Swing, Country, Blues, Ska, and whatever else feels good. The Crawdaddies are: Kraig Greff, accordion; Chris Huntington, guitar, vocals; Rick Oleguer vocals, acoustic guitar and washboard; Tim Steele, drums, vocals; Darryl Matarozza, bass, vocals. Since 1991 the Crawdaddies have been playing to packed houses in the Baltimore/Washington area.

The accordion lends itself to good-time music and the Crawdaddies have blended some of the hottest, accordion-driven, feel-good styles to create a sound that defies you to sit still.

The Crawdaddies are another find from browsing the listings at CD Baby. Stop by the Crawdaddies website for a video and to buy their CDs Spice It Up & Accordions Are Cool.

The Crawdaddies - Shake 'N' Bake.mp3

The Crawdaddies - Gimme Some.mp3

The Crawdaddies - Swamp Music.mp3


The weekend can't be far off now!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Gettin' back to her roots

So far this week I've rambled on about a few different ways of finding new artists. I was going to post a few cuts from some great artists I had found in the past and then never heard any more from. One of my best finds back in the early 1990's was a young woman by the name of Kristen Hall. Her songwriting struck me as especially strong. She released a CD in 1991 entitled Fact and Fiction that I just about wore out with repeated playing. For some reason, I lost track of her. I just never heard of her doing anything else.

Well, those of you that listen to commercial country may have heard of the little trio she was part of until this past January. Country music chart-toppers Sugarland have had half a dozen top ten hits with songs such as "Down in Mississippi (Up to No Good)", "Baby Girl", and "Something More". I don't listen to pop country radio, so I was not familiar with Sugarland or their hit songs. In fact it was only tonight as I was doing a search to find out what ever happened to that wonderful singer/songwriter, Kristen Hall, that I found she was with and just left Sugarland to concentrate on her songwriting.

Yes, my world is small and comfortable, but the people there know me.
Here is a cut from Kristen Hall's 1991 Fact and Fiction. I hope the fame and fortune of Nashville were good to her. I must say I was happy to hear she is returning home to write again.



Kristen Hall - Too Long Running.mp3

Feelin' Good


I have talked about the revival of interest in Old Time music in the 1970's and the renewed interest in recent years in this space many times. The rural music of the Gay Nineties and early Twentieth Century hold a special interest in my musical world. It was the blending and experimentation of that period that shaped the music we have today. The Blues, Tin Pan Alley, early Jazz, Old Time, Minstrel, and the music of the Medicine Shows are the foundation that Rock and Country music were built on.

Much of the music of that pivotal point in American musical history was full of life and fun. You can hear it on those old Edison cylinders and early wax records. The energy and good times preserved for our enjoyment many decades later. The fun-loving bass and tuba-playing Mark Rubin was a founding member of the off-the-wall band Bad Livers and plays Klezmer with several Yiddish outfits. Together with brothers Jere and Greg Canote and W. B. Reid form the Bing Bang Boys. The liner notes on their CD, "I'm Feelin' Good", say they "...explore the eccentric side of old-time music with a unique selection of song, rags, blues, and stomps featuring banjos of all sizes, fiddle, cello, tuba, and harmonica." It sounds like they had a good time recording this CD and it's hard not to be drawn into their jovial, sometimes wacky world.

Bing Bang Boys - Over In The Gloryland.mp3

Bing Bang Boys - Crazy 'Bout My Chevrolet.mp3


Bing Bang Boys - "I'm Feelin' Good" can be had at CD Baby.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Military brat who sings the blues

One of my favorite ways of finding new artists is by searching the credits on the back of CDs for names of artists I am familiar with and like.

That is how I first found Lawrence J. Clark. He has been performing for over twenty years, yet I had not heard anything by or about him until I noticed the credits on his New Horizon CD. A few names caught my eye, but it was Ruthie Foster's name that really piqued my interest. I ordered the CD expecting some great blues, which New Horizon does have, but that was just the start. The son of a U.S. Air Force seargent, Lawrence J. Clark has been on the move most of his life and that gypsy lifestyle has exposed him to a wide variety of musical styles. First off, he is a singer/songwriter in the folk tradition, but as any musician who wants to continue eating and housing him or herself knows, one has to be able to play to a wider audience. Lawrence J. Clark has done a mighty fine job of playing a variety of styles, and playing them well.

Now based out of the Houston, Texas area, Clark has several CDs available and is currently working on a new CD and a book of poetry. Visit his website for more info, also visit this link for his biography and a few audio and video clips.

Lawrence J. Clark's CDs are available directly from his website or at CD Baby.

Lawrence J. Clark - In the Moonlight.mp3

Lawrence J. Clark - Gone With the Wind.mp3

Lawrence J. Clark - Who Sings the Blues.mp3

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Pickin' Women: Tennessee HeartStrings Band


It has been awhile since we've had an entry in the Pickin' Women feature here on the Bus. Not that there has been a shortage of fine female pickers, I just haven't gotten around to them in some time and I apologize for the oversight.

The Tennessee HeartString Band is a Nashville-based quartet of talented women that first took to the stage in 2001. The band consists of; Bo Jamison on rhythm guitar, Terri Corker on bass, Karen Pendley on fiddle and Casey Henry on banjo. All four of the women sing lead and add to the wonderful harmonies.

Some of you may recognize a name or two here. Bo Jamison has written or co-written songs for some of the biggest names in Bluegrass such as Larry Sparks, Gary Ferguson, Cliff Waldron, and Don Rigsby, to name a few. Her songwriting has won her several Chris Austin Songwriting Awards at MerleFest. Fiddler Karen Pendley is the daughter of famed fiddler, Carl Joyner, and has several solo CDs under her belt and a new one due out next year. Terri Corker played bass with the Wheeling Jamboree in her native West Virginia for over ten years. Casey Henry is the daughter of Red & Murphy Henry and a native Virginian. After graduating from the University of Virginia she released her acclaimed solo CD of Bluegrass banjo tunes, Real Women Drive Trucks with an impressive group of back-up help; Murphy Henry, Red Henry, Marshall Wilborn, Lynn Morris, Missy Raines, Jason Carter and others.

With these impressive individual credentials it's no surprise how good they sound together! I'm a sucker for great harmony, especially when combined with fine songwriting and superb instrumentation.


Tennessee HeartStrings Band - Keystone Coal.mp3

Tennessee HeartStrings Band - Ride Upon The Moon.mp3


I found their 2004 CD New Strings, New Hearts at CD Baby, but it also available from Elderly Instruments.

What a great way to start the weekend!
Y'all have a good one!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sweet 16 and on the road soon


Something a little different on the Bus today.

Today is a big day at our house. Our youngest child, and only daughter, is sixteen years old today. We'll have a small celebration as both of her brothers are out of town and she has plans to celebrate with her friends later.

She's growing up. Our daughter has blossomed into an intelligent, caring young woman and I'm as proud as a dad can be.

For the past few months I've been teaching her to drive a car, just as I taught her to ride a bike many years ago. I miss our evening walks together, but I understand that a young lady doesn't want her dad around all of the time. Over the years, she and I have spent many a summer Sunday afternoons sitting in the rocking chairs on the back porch, just listening to music and talking. She's also my canoeing partner on days when the rivers are too low for whitewater and a peaceful paddle on a glassy lake are in order.

Whenever I hear these two Sam Bush songs, favorites of hers, I close my eyes and we are rocking in the cool shade once again.

Sam Bush - Same Ol' River.mp3

Sam Bush - Crossing The Transippi.mp3

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

"Back on your head"

It didn't take long for the real world, as I know it, to knock me off my euphoric cloud. There's nothing like 600 acres of chemical refinery and 100F (38C) degree heat to bring one back to harsh reality.

Some time ago I used one of those calculators that financial websites provide to check your retirement savings. You know the type, punch in all your personal savings and the program let's you know how likely you are to be saying "Welcome to Walmart". Well, this particular calculator tells me I am well on my way to a comfortable retirement, - if - I retire at age 78!

I best come up with a back-up plan, as a blue apron and smiley face stickers are just not my style.


Lost & Found - Rabbit Song.mp3

Don Stover - Things in Life.mp3

Butch Robins - I'll Be On That Good Road Someday.mp3