Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bodhrán to Bluegrass

My mind wanders around in circles like it's lost and can't get it's bearings.

Thus my posts wander.

Case in point...

Big Daddy and I hit the pub on a Saturday night not too long ago.

This is newsworthy because it has been awhile. We wandered down Branson way and ended up at Waxy’s.

Dirty Old Towne is the house band and being the old farts we are, we always seem to leave before they play. That evening we stayed.

I was going to post about them.

About how they start later than most bands because during the height of tourist season their fiddle player is that cute little Haygood boy from down to the strip. He comes complete with a blinding, mega-watt Branson smile. He has to finish his paying job before he can come let loose down at the bar.

The young girls dig him.

Not me of course.


I was going to post about how they cover a lot of Celtic stuff and about the drummer who has a vocal range not to be believed, and how I got a little light-headed and started to swoon when he broke out the bodhrán .

And me without my smelling salts.

I was going to post about their kilt-wearing, lead-guitar player and if I weren’t so lazy I’d research what those little tab thingies on the side of his stockings are for.

Maybe one of y'all can fill us in.

I was going to comment that all they are missing is a whistle and an accordion.

But, I know where they can find at least one of those.

I was going to post about all that.



I guess I just did.

But instead, my little Ozark hillbilly heart is just beating with something base and primal and elemental because their top-hat wearing electric bass player, at one point in the evening, turned off the power, and started slappin’ the upright.

Oh. My. Sweet. Lord.

The bass is not an American instrument, but when someone puts down the bow and starts slappin’ it with their hand, the instrument becomes something else entirely.

It becomes Bluegrass.

Which is American.

These boys were definitely not playing bluegrass that evening, but I definitely went home and scoured my modest collection looking for some.

I suddenly had a powerful hankering for something with an upright and a mandolin and a banjo and a fiddle and maybe even a…

Dare I say it?

‘worsh’ board.

I wanted to hear sweet, high harmony like you find nowhere else in music complete with sustaining notes that hang for hours before they resolve.

I wanted to play it loud in my car so I could harmonize along off-key and slap my hand on the steering wheel and cause passers-by to give me odd looks.

(You sing in your car, too and you dang well know it.)

Maybe I’ll resurrect the Tuesday Playlist and throw out my bluegrass favorites.

Or maybe I’ll just direct you to the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou? and be done with it.

So excuse me for now. I’m going for a drive. I have to sing 'I am Weary'.

…and laugh and weep simultaneously from the sheer beauty of it.


Anonymous said...

... Hillbillies in kilts??..... oh my!...


Bou said...

Oh I LOVE that soundtrack. I have it and play it frequently.

Yup, I sing in my car, although I think the boys wish sometimes I did not. :)

Sugar Britches said...

You're right, Eric. Hillbillies in Kilts? Scary, idnit?

Bou, my boys used to sing with me. Come to think of it, sometimes they still do!