I’m going to the races
to see my pony run
and if I get some greenbacks
we’re sure gonna have some fun
Kentucky IS the Bluegrass State. This year the Kentucky Derby is running on May 6. Bill Monroe and the first generation bluegrass artists were into horses and horse races. This song was recorded by Bill Monroe, the Stanley Brothers, the Country Gentlemen and Creek Bend (on “That Home Far Away”). This YouTube example is David Grisman and his friends recorded at the Freight and Salvage music venue in Oakland, Calif.
Monroe also wrote and recorded “Molly and Tenbrooks,” the true story of a legendary horse race between Molly from California and Tenbrooks from Kentucky. The colorful account of the race and Kyper, the jockey riding Tenbrooks has been sung by bluegrass bands since Bill introduced it to the bluegrass community in 1947. Since you probably know that Bill Monroe was born in Kentucky and his band was named the Bluegrass Boys, guess who wins? Yep, Tenbrooks wins and Molly is then buried “in a coffin ready made” Here is a version by Tony Rice and J.D. Crowe
Here are some young pickers playing it in a hotel in Nashville during the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA) annual convention during a jam session.
May has a few local events happening.
- Monday, May 1, the Buffalo Bluegrass Youth Ensemble is playing a free concert at Wayside Church in Hamburg, starting at 7 p.m. The church is located at 5017 Lakeshore Rd. The group is made up of middle school and high school Bluegrass musicians from all corners of Western New York. Here is a video feature on BuffaloBluegrass.com about the Ensemble.
On Saturday, May 20, Danny Paisley and Southern Grass will be at the West Falls Center For the Arts with a concert starting at 7 p.m. and a mandolin workshop by Ryan Paisley at 4 p.m. Danny is an award-winning lead vocalist and greatly respected throughout the bluegrass world. The Buffalo Bluegrass Youth Ensemble will play a short set before the show. I was lucky to play a set with Danny a few years back and I’ve included a video of that great experience.
- The Bluegrass All Stars play at the Sportsmen’s on Thursday May 4 and May 18 from noon to 2:15 p.m.
- Creek Bend is playing the Apple Blossom Festival at the Newfane Historical Society in the Town of Newfane from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 21.
Jams in the area
The monthly Bluegrass Jam at Bennington Lanes in Bennington will take place on Sunday, May 14, from 2 to 7 p.m.
- The United Heritage Fiddlers have an open jam at the Dayton Fire Hall on Route 62 near Gowanda on Sunday, May 21, from 2 to 5 p.m.
- Also on May 21, there is an Old Time Music Jam at 42 North in East Aurora from 4 to 7 p.m.
Hope everyone can get out to see some live music this month and if you have an instrument lying around the house that you haven’t touched in a while, how about getting it out a time or two this May?
Have great month and, as always,
Keep on Pickin’!