For over 10 years I was involved in the production of a bluegrass music festival. Started by a former mayor, it involved a genre of music that I had no prior interest in, had little knowledge about, and jumped in only because it was a favor to a friend. I ultimately ended up being the executive director of the non-profit foundation that produced the event, heard fantastic music, and met some great people along the way.
Our little festival hosted the rock stars of bluegrass. Grammy winners. Living legends. And, despite the rigors of road tours, they are generally the nicest, most genuine people. They always take time to meet their fans. They sit backstage and pick (jam) with other artists, because they love what they do. It is fascinating to watch, and a joy to listen to.
I am still not an everyday fan of bluegrass, though I sure appreciate and admire the talent of bluegrass artists. There are songs, and musicians, that I truly enjoy, but you won't often find me tuning to a bluegrass radio station. (After 10 years of scouting talent and booking bands, I have more bluegrass CDs than I could ever hope to listen to). Bluegrass artists are often the authors or musicians behind bigger names and more popular genres, and I am always tickled when I hear a familiar voice, riff, or name. I heard one of 'my' performers this morning, and though most radio stations don't credit him with the vocal, I know better, and am so proud to hear Dan Tyminski's voice on Top 40 radio: