Well, summer has slipped away and the colorful majesty of fall is upon us. The Country Gentlemen from the Washington DC area recorded the song “God’s Coloring Book” shortly after it was written by Dolly Parton. This season finds me looking it up and humming as I admire the blaze of colors.

by Mark Panfil

Bluegrass seems to fit this season like a square dance fits into a harvest time party. And 2020 has not been business as usual by any means but things are starting to settle into a new normal for the time being.

The longest running bluegrass jam session has started up again at the Bennington Lanes in Bennington, N.Y., on the second Sundays of the month from 2 to 7 p.m. Pickers, singers and fans come from near and far to play a breakdown or sing a mountain ballad or just to have a pizza and listen with a cold beer. There’s no cover charge and it’s always a good time.

A vintage Bennington jam from 2016.

The Bluegrass All Stars provide “incidental” Bluegrass music as you enjoy the great food at the Sportsmen’s Tavern every first and third Thursday of the month from noon to 2:15 PM. Again, there is no cover charge.

Becker Farms in Gasport, N.Y., will be serving up great food along with wine and beer that they make at their own vineyard and brewery. If you go there on Saturday, Oct. 24, or Sunday, Oct. 25, between noon and 4 p.m. some of the members of Creek Bend may open up their cases and jam some Bluegrass music.

If this were a normal fall, I would be packing up my dobro and heading to Raleigh, N.C., for the annual Bluegrass music convention and fan fest. Raleigh has postponed the live festivities until 2021, but the conference and show are going on in a virtual manner anyhow. The convention features workshops for people in the industry such as bands, DJ’s and promoters and the fan fest features live shows by the top names in Bluegrass music on the national scene. This year it’s all live online and you can find out the details at www.IBMA.org. The convention has a discount price and the fan fest is free! You will need to register to see it though.

The late Bill McEuen

I have sad news again unfortunately. The producer, musician, sound engineer and musical visionary William McEuen passed away at the age of 79 on Sept. 24. Besides producing many of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s albums and the groundbreaking “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” projects, he also produced several of Steve Martin’s early comedy albums and films.

My sincere hope is that you are all coping with this pandemic and are remaining healthy. I also hope that you have found a chance to listen to some great bluegrass online and on CDs. I would personally recommend the Seldom Scene, the Country Gentlemen, Molly Tuttle, Billy Strings, Del McCoury, Grasstowne, Tony Rice and the Steel Drivers. Maybe it’s also a good time to listen to the “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” albums again or for your first time. It’s just so good.

Till next time, keep on pickin’


The Editor

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