Bluegrass and Guitars at Their Very Best

by Allan Brooks

Indeed, there was magic afoot that wonderful April 4th Saturday afternoon at a concert presented by the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association in Poughkeepsie New York, but first a brief background peek as to why I was there…

In recent years I had been nibbling at the periphery of the bluegrass sound without really tasting the “down home” flavor of some true “getting down stuff” (as very aptly described in detail to me by looong time friends and HVBA supporters, Lynn and Steve Lipton). To solve this problem, they invited my wife and me to attend an HVBA sponsored concert to listen to “BLUEGRASS AT ITS BEST.”

Well, that certainly was not an understatement as the house was packed for a show featuring Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass band. Besides extraordinary mandolin, banjo, guitar, bass and fiddle playing, not to mention singing, this group of long time, multi-generational bluegrass entertainers, sported the 9 year old son of Danny Paisley himself.  Little Ryan strummed the mandolin with the stage presence and savoir-faire of a long time veteran…with body language that just oozed the musical precociousness clearly gifted to him by several generations of talented musicians.

As special guests the Sleepy Hollow String Band also provided some first-rate entertainment with some good foot stomping, thigh slapping music of their own. So it is safe to say that the music was enjoyable beyond the most optimistic expectations.

Oh yes, did I mention earlier that there was “magic afoot” that day? Well, so there was. At the conclusion of the concert, attended easily by several hundred people, there was a raffle drawing for CDs of the performers and, to top it all, an absolutely magnificent rosewood Babicz guitar. So help me the following is true: The last two digits on my (I guess you have already guessed) winning ticket was 39, the year I was born, old coot that I am. I turned to my wife before the winning ticket was drawn and said, “I’m going to win that beauty.”  After many years I am going to resume playing again now that I am the proud owner of such a deeply resonant and mellow sounding guitar.

Thank you Lynn, Steve, and HVBA.


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