came here looking for some "herb" or looking to get your yard
landscaped, then Google has mislead you. Considering
how many banjo pickers come from Earl Scrugg's home state of North
Carolina, it's a wonder some feller didn't already make off with a cool
band name like "Bogue
Sound Grass Company".
Instead, fate reserved that simple, profound moniker just for us.
all started one day at Manning Brothers General Store when I
stopped in to get me a moon pie and a Coca~Cola. It was a
day and Mr. Henry had the coal stove glowing red, so I sat down on the
bench beside the stove to rest a spell and eat my moon pie.
minutes later this old feller walked in and sat down. After a
minutes he looked over at me and said, "You want to buy a mandolin?"
said, "No. Don't know
how to play a mandolin." A few minutes later he
leans over and says, "You
want to buy a guitar?" I said, "No. I don't
know how to play a guitar." After a few minutes
he says, "Well what do
you know how to play?" and I says, "I pick the banjer."
finished up his Coca~Cola and then the old feller asks, "You got a banjer?"
I said "I got one at home."
So then he says, "I
tell you what. You go home and get your banjer and
home and get my guitar, and I'll meet you back here in twenty minutes."
Twenty minutes later he showed up with his guitar
grandson who also played the guitar. Turns out, Mr. Henry's
stock boy who came in to work after school knew how to play the
mandolin and had it under the counter.
I remember right, we started off with Cripple Creek and Banjo in the
Hollow to get the "feel" for each others style. Before long
were into the more complicated stuff such as Slimey River
Julie Anne, Reubens Train, How Mountain Girls Can Love, Dixie, Glendale
Train, East Virginia Blues, Fireball Mail, Foggy Mountain Breakdown
(the bluegrass national anthem), Clinch Mountain Backstep, Doing my
Time, Molly Rose, Folsom Prison Blues, Lonesome Road Blues, I Wonder
Where You Are Tonight, John Henry, Salt Creek, Martha White, even some
good old stuff from The New Riders of the Purple Sage (you fellers that
wanted to be hippies in the 70's remember them) and some tunes by the
Huffman from Johnston County, NC and of course, any self
bluegrass band will take you back to the church house with them good
old gospel tunes such as I'll Fly Away, Will the Circle be
Unbroken, and House of Gold.
An hour later we had drawed us a sizeable crowd. Mr. Henry
all the business we brought in so much that he didn't even charge me
the moon pie and Coca~Cola. He said it was "on the house" for
all the fine music we played and for the crowd we brought in to his
That was nine years ago, and basically I'm still picking the banjer
for moon pies and a Coca~Cola.
If you're ever down east in the Newport area,
this is your invite to
stop in every first and third friday evening about 6pm, brang what you
and join us at Bob's Pickin' and Grinnin' jam session at the
Woodmen of the World building on
Howard Boulevard. We ask a $2 donation at the box
by the door for them Woodmen
of the World fellers for the
generous use of their building.