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Bluegrass Memoirs: Jackson, Kentucky Bluegrass
Bluegrass MemoirsApr 2, 2021

(Editor's note: Read part 1 of Neil V. Rosenberg's series on the 1987 Earl Scruggs Celebration here.) My diary for Saturday September 26, 1987 -- Earl Scruggs Celebration day at Gardner-Webb College in Boiling Springs, North Carolina -- begins with an entry on foodways: I meet Tom (Hanchett) and Carol (Sawyer) at 7:30 and we…

Bluegrass Memoirs: Jackson, Kentucky Bluegrass
Bluegrass MemoirsFeb 10, 2021

I first heard the music of Etta Baker on a record in 1957. Not until thirty years later did I see her perform live, in the context of a bluegrass-oriented event, on September 26, 1987 at Gardner-Webb College's Second Annual Earl Scruggs Music Celebration.  Gardner-Webb (G-W) is in Boiling Springs, N.C., an hour's drive south…

Bluegrass Memoirs: Jackson, Kentucky Bluegrass
Bluegrass MemoirsDec 9, 2020

On October 3, 2020, during IBMA's Virtual World of Bluegrass, I watched the Bluegrass Situation's presentation of Shout & Shine Online, the fifth annual showcase celebrating equity and inclusion in bluegrass and roots music. This year it featured Black performers, including Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton, the blues, folk, bluegrass, and jazz multi-instrumentalist and vocalist from…

Bluegrass Memoirs: Jackson, Kentucky Bluegrass
Bluegrass MemoirsOct 19, 2020

On the morning of March 24, 2020 I learned Eric Weissberg had passed away when a friend posted a long and detailed obit. I found several other substantial ones online -- Rolling Stone, Variety, New York Times. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that Weissberg's family had a press release ready; he'd been in decline,…

Bluegrass Memoirs: Jackson, Kentucky Bluegrass
Bluegrass MemoirsSep 18, 2020

In December 1953, Decca released "Plunkin' Rag" by the Shenandoah Valley Boys. It was the first recording by a banjoist other than Earl Scruggs to use Scruggs pegs: Hubert Davis.  Born in Shelby, North Carolina, in 1932, Davis grew up in a musical family. He was already playing the banjo when, at the age of…