photo by Rick Easton- Summersville Bluegrass Festival June 29, 2003
  

KY-WV Tour June 2003

True Blue had an eventful tour through the "motherlode" of bluegrass music:  Eastern KY and WV. Our first stop was Americana Crossroads Live, a syndicated radio program produced by WMKY at Morehead State University in Morehead, KY. The shows, hosted by Paul Hitchcock, are held in a recital hall before a live audience.  They are then edited down  and distributed to 16 stations. The broadcast version of the show in MP3 format is currently available on WMKY's website and later may be accessible in archived shows.

Earlier that afternoon, three of us visited the Kentucky Folk Art Center.  It houses an interested exhibit of KY Appalachian folk art, invluding wood carvings, walking canes, paintings and sculpture.  Of particular interest were the beautiful black & white portraits of the artists themselves that line the staircase to the second floor.

The next morning we headed down the road to Grayson, KY to perform at Rudyfest.  It was a small, but very congenial festival with mostly groups local to the area.  One such group, EK Railroad, was selling their CD's at the table next to us, so got to talking.  At one point it came up that Del's dad, Vern, is from Arkansas.  One of the men asked if he was a "Dover Williams", which he is.  It turns out that members of that band are related by marriage to Del's family still living and playing bluegrass music in  AR.  That was a pretty amazing coincidence.  

Sunday morning we high-tailed it to Summersville, WV for our early set.  Summersville is one of the largest and oldest bluegrass festivals in the area.  It is put on by a wonderful elderly couple, Mr & Mrs Kitchen, who own the campground.  The property goes back generations in Mrs. Kitchen's family.  They now run it as a campground year-round.  It is a nice facility with a shaded audience area and lots of trees.  All of the bands that played there were of the highest quality.  

Next to us Jessie McReynolds had a table set up.  He is still working, now with his own Virginia Boys.  The image of his draped table, which just happened to cover the "Jim and Jesse" part of the banner was strangely moving, so we took this picture in remembrance of Jim McReynolds.

When we woke up Monday morning, we expected an uneventful hour-and-a half drive to the Lexington airport, but it didn't turn out quite like that.  We stopped in a friendly-looking cafe, the Lighthouse (aka Plunkett's) outside of Grayson, KY for breakfast because it had a sign advertising bluegrass music on Saturday nights.  We were also attracted to the sign outside that read: "Mind your manners...Granny's got a paddle". Sure enough, there was a stage area on one end with mics set up.  They were needing a band for the next Saturday night.  We had to decline, but Ed, Avram and Del got out their instruments and played a couple tunes for the ladies in the restaurant.   There was even some dancin' with Festus, the only available dance partner in the house.  Ed swears that he had the best breakfast in KY at Pluckett's.

That morning we were feeling the weight of alot of running and not enough coffee or sleep.  

This photo below of Ed's meal in Grayson is the first installment of a new feature on our website, entitled "Ed's Breakfast".  Many people want to know how he stays so slim and trim, and also how this legendary man conducts his daily life.  We will attempt to provide insights into both of those things in coming months.

 

We thought our adventures had come to an end when we departed the Lighthouse Restaurant.  Not so.  We pulled into a gas station so we could make the last 40 miles....exactly when the operator was coming out to ostensibly LOWER the gas prices on the pump.  We thought "bonus!" as we merrily began pumping.  Suddenly, Del realized that something was terribly wrong at the pump and turned it off  quickly  to avert band bankruptcy.  We thought the cost of living was high in California!!!  Fortunately, we got reimbursed for the overcharge, and went on our way, but we could see it was definitely not going to be business as usual back at the station! 

So Long Kentucky! We'll be back.

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