I have been realizing that the last few months have been great for playing bluegrass and fiddle music. It started with the New Years Jam at the White Tanks Park with members of the Arizona Bluegrass Association. This was followed by a bluegrass jam and fish fry at the KC Hall in Glendale in early January. It was fun to get acquainted with musicians from the Valley of the Sun.
We attendee Midwinter Festival in Denver in February, and got to jam with Mike Metzger, Brian Peel, Warrie Means, Robin Smith, Jack, etc. I also jammed with Larry E. whom I had met in Arizona. Mike and Brian were in North Platte in April for the festival at the fairgrounds.
I wrote a new fiddle tune in May, and named it Kelly Reel after my friend Jay Kelly. In May we were in Atkinson and I got to play some tunes with Jay. Jay was also at Springview for the Kenaston Jamboree where we played some great tunes with Vanessa Kenaston, Sharon Kenaston and Roger Kenaston. The bluegrass set on the stage at the jamboree was a real highlight.
We were in Omaha in June, and got to spend an evening visiting and playing with our old pals Jenni Wallace and Kathy and Jim Wood who still perform as Rivertown String Band.
The Black Hills Festival was in June, and I played with Mike Martin, the Merchant family, Rod Long, and Dan Seelye. I wrote a new tune called Hollis Was Here while in the Black Hills.
In July I spent a couple of evenings with Warrie Means playing fiddle tunes. Great fun!
Tom and Marilyn Bryan had a jam on in July, and I got to play with Stan and Tom.
We took a trip north in July and spent time fiddling with Kelly Wells. We also had a jam with her friends in Cody. We continued on to the Big Horn Mountain Festival and played with the McGehee family, Reid Buckley, Fred Buckley, Warrie Means Will MacLean, Jacob Means, etc. I played guitar with Vern Billingsley on fiddle. I first met Vern in the 1970s at the Ainsworth Festival in Nebraska. A highlight of this festival was writing a new tune called Under the Cottonwoods, and then getting to immediately play it with Suzanne McGehee on old time banjo.
We continued on to Neligh, Nebraska for a reunion with my old band Sweet Corn. John Wells, Jerry Schrader, Gloria Christiansen and I performed at the Ida County Fair in Ida Grove, Iowa. The concert was arranged by Eric Wells, son of John and grandson of Jerry. Great to see everyone and know that we could still sound pretty good!
At the end of July my Laramie fiddle band performed at Woods Landing Dance Hall. Cedar and Flint performers that night were Hollis Marriott, Julia Obert, Pete Ellsworth, Liza Millett, Tom Bryan, Dave Mullens and me.
It was great fun to play some fiddle/banjo with Al Kalbfleisch We spent an afternoon with Al and Mary on the way to state fiddle.
Bill McKay and I played on Monday nights all summer at the Vee Bar Guest Ranch. It is fun to provide live music for the guests on the wagon ride and at the steak fry.
Over the years I have learned from every one of the people mentioned above. It was great to play with people I have known for 40 years and with people that are pretty new to me. What a wonderful musical adventure!