Wednesday, June 23, 2010

ROMP 2010 - Day 1

(Photo includes Tom Ewing, Curtis Blackwell, Danny Jones, Randall Franks, Bob Black and other former Bill Monroe Bluegrass Boys)

My drive to Owensboro this year was a little different than those of the past four summers. For me, driving long distances on Interstate Highways is a combination of boredom and sheer terror. I am either fighting sleep or desperately trying not to be run over by the endless convoys of big trucks bearing down on me from behind. So this year, thanks to my trusty little GPS device, at least 95% of my driving was done on state highways. The only time I got on an interstate was a short stretch of about 40 miles on I55 just before I reached Kentucky - and that is one of the more deserted interstates in the country.

I was even able to chop about 100 miles off my total driving distance this way. Of course, I added about two hours in driving time because of all the little towns I passed through on those winding two-lane highways. And you know what? I loved it. This drive was a good reminder of what America is all about - lots of people going about their business, working hard for themselves and their families, just trying to do the right thing despite the harm their elected representatives are determined to do up in Washington.

This first day of ROMP 2010 (and most of tomorrow) is a celebration of the legends of bluegrass, those guys and gals who were there when Mr. Bill started it all. Today, I had the pleasure of listening to about two dozen former Bluegrass Boys get together on stage and out in the lobby of the theater for song after song. Let me tell you, folks, these guys are still some of the finest musicians in the business.

Among today's performers were: Curtis Blackwell (guitar), R0ger Smith (fiddle), Ben Pedigo (banjo), Danny Jones (mandolin), Scottie Baugus (guitar), Bob Black (banjo), Randall Franks (fiddle), Gregg Kennedy, Wayne Jerrolds, Jim Moratto, and Bill Box...and others. And the good news is there will be even more Bluegrass Boys here tomorrow for Day 2.

As one of the guys said on stage, Bill Monroe passed so many musicians through his Bluegrass Boys they called it "making sausage." Well, Mr. Bill knew how to pick them, for sure, and a few dozen of them are here in Owensboro, Kentucky, tonight.

(Former Bluegrass Boy - banjo - Ben Pedigo)

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