Yee – Haw! I sure like to go to hear some down home pickin’ & singin’. So do my human’s! The photo and video clip in this blog are from a trip to one of our neighboring towns, Okeechobee. The Geezer and Mrs. G went to see the “Kieth Bass & Florida Bluegrass Express,” a band that they have enjoyed listening to and visiting for years.
Many who live in the Sunshine State aren’t aware that bluegrass and country music are part of Florida’s frontier heritage. Florida? Frontier heritage? Many will be skeptical when told Florida was part of the frontier well past 1900. It was, and still is, one of the leading cattle producing states in the US. Many of Florida’s early inhabitants were Scotch-Irish from Georgia and the Carolinas. Most of these hardy souls were “cow hunters” or were associated with them in some way. They brought their instruments and music with them.
I remember my parents going square dancing on Friday nights when I was in elementary school in Fort Myers. Dancing to banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and bass was a deep tradition, not only in Florida, but throughout the South and the frontier West. There is great artistry in the “pickin” of these instruments that have no electric assists to make the musicians sound better than they are. If you want to hear the sounds of our American roots there are two places to do it. Find black blues, jazz, and soul music in an off-the-main-street lounge or bar. Find a country, bluegrass, or folk music show in a rural location that is its home.
If you’re worried about the welcome you might receive, don’t be. The folk who attend bluegrass events are among some of the friendliest you’ll find. Don’t go formal…no one else will be. Just brush the straw off your Stetson, be sure there’s no manure on your boots and you’re ready to go!
Kieth Bass & The Florida Bluegrass Express is representative of the bands that play this traditional music. They play it because they love it. Bluegrass (and country/folk) tell the story of the life these people led. Mule Skinner Blues, Foggy Mountain Breakdown, Tom Dooley, Fox on the Run, and I’m So Lonely I Could Cry are tidbits torn from the fabric of their every-day living. Below is a clip of the KBFBE band playing at the get-together my humans went to.
If you’d like more information and get a chance to enjoy some real traditional music visit the face book link below. It has schedules and all you need to know to have a thoroughly fun time!
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The Geezer (or DL Havlin as you humans call him) starts his fall and winter speaking schedule on September 21st., at The Landings Yacht, Golf, & Tennis Club in Ft Myers. He’ll be speaking to the American Association of University Women about Florida’s “Patriot War.” To find when, where, and what DL is presenting visit http://www.dlhavlin.com and click on his schedule of events.
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