My peers schooled me about music. "Country is for nerds. Rock is cool."
Holding a hairbrush like a microphone, I sang along to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Guess Who and Crosby, Still, Nash and Young--but mostly Young. I thought Neil Young was so dreamy.
"Who's Peter Rowan?" I asked and he put the CD into his sound system. I was captivated by what I identified as a folk musician.
“Where are the drums?” I wondered out loud.
“Do you know who that is?” I followed his line of sight to a man playing guitar. Just some guy. “That's Peter Rowan.”
We took the elevator down to the concert hall and I was lost in thought. The father of Bluegrass? This music is ancient; he must be older than dirt.
We found our seats and the master of ceremonies introduced the first act, "Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys."
On mass, the audience gave the band claiming the stage a standing ovation--just for showing up.
Bill Monroe looked so old, so fragile--like he should have been in a wheelchair. I hoped nothing happened to him on stage.
To his credit, Bill made it safely through the first couple of songs. But then he appeared to keel over--bending forward at the waist. All of us, the entire audience, offered a collective moan.
A younger band member voiced our concern, "Is Bill okay?"
The answer came from his older bandmate. "Bill? Sure, he's just getting down."
Bill's hand flew across the strings. And he proved right then, right there why this was his music.
Bluegrass' high, lonesome sound stole my heart. It's the voice of the common man--the people I grew up around, where I'm from. And if that makes me a hick, I'll wear the title proudly.