Monday, March 25, 2013

Blue Grass Music

A local group, The Low Water String Band, was invited by the Riverton Library to play a concert Saturday night.  It was absolutely delightful.  They had such fun picking out songs to perform, highlighting the multiple talents of each member.  They all sing, they all play multiple instruments, and they all enjoy the beauty of a bluegrass beat and lyric. 

They played for a full two hours, and it was just wonderful.  One lyric that drew a laugh from the crowd was the opening lyric of a song that begins, "I put some whiskey in my whiskey..."  Another cute song, written by the banjo player, starts out with an opening lyric saying, "Mama gave me a pistol for my first toy..."  Oh, you've got to love blue grass lyrics! The time went by too quickly. 

I took in an instrument for Joe to look at after the concert.  It's a mandolin that came from my dad's side of the family.  Nobody in the family seemed to have much information about it, but my Dad inherited it.  I have to wonder how often it was played in some blue grass jam session...

One Christmas, maybe 35 years ago, Mom decided to have the instrument refurbished as a surprise for my dad.  She went to great lengths and considerable expense to find a guy to work on it.   This was going to be a lovely surprise, assuming Dad had some sentimental links to this instrument. 

When he opened it, he was amazed alright.  He had forgotten about it.  Furthermore, he had no idea why he was receiving this mandolin, and apparently, and much to our surprise, there was no sentimental link.  Oh man!!  I know Mom was really disappointed.  I don't remember Dad ever touching or playing it, and I eventually asked if I could have it.  Mom was pretty happy about that.  I bought a mandolin book, sat for hours building up some calloused finger tips, and learned to pick out a few tunes.  But that was years ago.

It's been sitting in my basement for a long time.  Just a few weeks ago, I got it out to take a look at it, and I discovered that it had a new crack on the front.  It's just so darned dry in this part of the country, that this is not unusual.  But, I tuned it up and got out the mandolin book to try a few chords and easy songs.  It's got a great sound. 

Anyway, Joe took a look at it, as did a few other folks. They offered a couple of ideas for getting it repaired.  The fiddle player (Jacob) thought that the instrument most likely came from eastern Europe, and he said you don't see many of these around.  The case intrigued him too.  It's definitely an old one, having traveled many miles. Another guy saw it and was really surprised, saying that he had one just like it, and the case looked similar too.  He didn't know much about the history of his instrument either, so there's much to be discovered. Oh how I wish it could tell me its story!!


  1. You may not know it's history, but you can make it's future. You should write down what you do know so that it can build from there and your kid's kids may have a love for it just like you do.

  2. I'm glad that it came to live at your house. Has Dennis given it a whirl, too?

  3. The mandolin is beautiful! Dave is a guitarist so there's always interesting stringed instruments coming in and out of our house. Not that I can play any of them - but they are beautiful!

  4. Such a pretty instrument; I'm so glad it found you. Dee's suggestion to write down what you know is a good idea for the future owner.