Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dancin' Dave: "Me and Sammy"

Dancin' Dave is well-known personality on the roots festival scene. Besides boogie-ing, he supports the festival industry by providing a camp setup service for out-of-town attendees at about a dozen festivals a year. In the past we have posted some of his regular email musings. Now we are glad to see that he has launched a regular blog.

The first several posts are some thoughts on the upcoming MerleFest. Today he began a series of posts about Sam Bush, whom he regards as the "king of newgrass" and his all-time favorite musician. As our welcome to the blogosphere for a fellow festival head, here is an excerpt from Dave's first "me and Sammy" installment. Go here for the full report plus more to come.

I had known for a long time that I should visit Nashville. I finally did in 1996, when I had some extra time on my hands while on the way to Merlefest. I met some friends who were headed down to New Orleans for the Jazzfest, and we spent a couple of days exploring the Music City. It was a blast!

I had heard of the Station Inn in Nashville, so this was one spot that had to be checked out. We went there on Friday night, and upon entering the building I noticed a small, hand-written note on a torn off piece of paper, announcing that Sam Bush was playing the next night. So that evening for my first Station Inn show was Butch Balassardi's Nashville Mandolin Ensemble—eight mandolins, one guitar and bass. It was amazing.

The next day we were driving around Nashville, thinking of getting something to eat, when I realized that we were near the Station Inn. Just for giggles, I mentioned that we ought to stop to see if Sam was rehearsing. We actually did drive over and noticed that the padlock was unlocked and just hanging on the door. My friend Sandra jumped out of the car, rushed into the place, came back out, and motioned for us to join her. Sure enough, Sam and his buddies were about to start to rehearse. I asked Sam (we didn't know each other at this point) if I could hang around and he graciously said: "Sure, make yourself at home...we're breaking in a new guitar player, a fellow named Darrell Scott, and he's a dandy."

Brian and Sandra were still hungry so they took off, but I somehow lost my appetite, so I stayed and watched as Sam and John Cowan taught Darrell some songs. Larry Atamaniuk was drummin' up a storm, and I hung around all afternoon. I was the only person in the place, other than the band and two sound men. At one point Sam pointed out that there was beer in the coolers behind the bar, so now I was really in bluegrass heaven. Later that night, Sam and the boys rocked the joint!

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