>Bluegrass at the Ryman

>Last summer, I made my first visit to the Ryman for a concert for part of the Bluegrass series. One show got me hooked–not only on the Ryman as a great place to hear a show but also on bluegrass music.

This year, when my parents offered to buy me a season ticket for my birthday present to the series, I jumped at the chance. I was hoping to hear more of the great music I’d experienced last year.

Well, after the first concert of the year, I can say, so far, so good.

Last night, the season kicked off with one of the legends of bluegrass, Earl Scruggs. Now, while I enjoyed country music back in the day, I have to admit my knowledge of bluegrass and its history is rather limited. I know what I enjoy and thanks to the library, I’ve sampled a variety of artists in the past year, but I still don’t know a lot about it. So, while I knew the name Earl Scruggs, I wasn’t necessarily familiar with a lot of his music and his influence. To be honest, he was the guy who’d been featured on a couple of episodes of “The Beverly Hillbillies” and I think he was on “Hee Haw.” But that’s about where my familiarity ended.

As Scruggs took the stage last night, I wasn’t sure what to expect. At first, he seemed a bit weak (he just turned 83). I wondered if he’d make it through the first two songs, much less the hour and a half of so that he entertained the crowd. He and his band (which included two of his sons) played a variety of songs from the long career Scruggs has enjoyed. It was all wonderful and like I said, it made an hour and a half seem like five minutes had passed. Scruggs and company brought the house down with the theme from “The Beverly Hillbillies” as well as the theme from “Bonnie and Clyde” (Foggy Mountain Breakdown).

But what impressed me was the talent of everyone on stage. Scruggs was great, but he was surrounded by superb talent, all of whom got a chance to showcase what they can do.

A great evening and the good part is–I’ve got five more concerts to look forward to this summer.

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