IBMA 2008
Mountain Music's Journal
On Sunday, Sept 28th we locked up the store and headed for Nashville.  After another great meal at Vittorios's Buon Appetito in Wickliffe, Ohio and a good night's sleep at the Hampton Inn in Columbus we arrived in Nashville (see our room) just in time to catch this year's Keynote Address.
Our guest speaker for 2008 was Roger H. Brown, president of Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass.  He delivered a speech that strived to highlight the history of Bluegrass in relation to social, cultural, and historical events and trends that came together after World War II which led to the emergence of the diverse  American musical genre of Bebop & Bluegrass.  It was interesting to listen to someone from outside our tradition attempting to understand the development of our music.  He clearly had done his homework and displayed some fresh and unique insights.  It was a thought provoking speech and well worth hearing.  However, one cannot help but wonder where we will end up as the understanding and interpretation of our music becomes increasingly intellectualized and defined by academics.   Annual IBMA meetings have certainly changed over the past 3 or 4 years (see the following articles on our News Page: "IBMA 2005: Is Bigger Better?" and "2006 IBMA Annual Meeting ~ Our View")  For those who yearn for that past sense of family and want to immerse themselves in the Bluegrass tradition without the politics consider attending the SPBGMA National Convention in Nashville this winter.
Tuesday was spent at the Exposition Hall checking out the new and interesting products, visiting with our suppliers, and talking with some of the serious fans and performers.  The folks from The Bass Place were back ~ they have the best double bass inventory on the planet!  Ran into Jimmy Gaudreau and David Gartland at the Saga Booth.  Jimmy is considering a special custom "blue" Kentucky mandolin.  We saw Greg Rich at The Music Link.   He has built a custom banjo in memory of Bill Sullivan that is on sale at the First Quality booth (photo).  The proceeds will go to help build a park in Bill's name in Louisville.  We also spent time with our friends at Deering Banjos, including: Janet Deering, Carolina Bridges, Lawson Peets, and Jens Kruger.  Its always good to see them!  In terms of new instruments, we are looking at Tom Nechville's banjos.  He has applied modern technology and innovative design features to build some great instruments.  We will be talking to Tom later this fall to see if his banjos will be a good fit in our inventory. (photos)
We ended our afternoon at the Songwriter Showcase with hosts Ron Block, Sierra Hull, and Cia Cherryholmes. (photo)
Wednesday started with a Showcase Brunch where we were treated to performances by Alecia Nugent, Sawmill Road, and Lonesome River Band. (photos)  We sat with Carolina Bridges and Janet Deering from Deering Banjos during the Showcase. Also ran into Bill Knowlton, host WCNY's Bluegrass Ramble.  All three bands were great!  Sammy Shelor, LRB, is one of my favorite banjo players.  His sense of time and right hand dynamics are incredible!  After a brief rest we headed back to the Exposition Hall for the rest of the afternoon.
After signing up as professional members (photo) of the International Bluegrass Music Museum that has its home in Owensboro, Ky,  we caught  Jerry Douglas (photo) at the Beard booth ~ Wow!  Back at the Deering booth we ran into Todd Wright, Mike Seeger, and Sammy Shelor ~ I got Sammy to autograph my copy of The Banjo Newsletter!  Carolina graciously posed for a snapshot for our grandson, David (photo).  Then we watched Andrea Roberts being interviewed by a film crew from (photo).  Finally, we checked out some "high end" ukes at Martin and then called it a day (photos).
On Thursday we attended the The Special Awards Luncheon sponsored by Homespun Tapes (see award recipients).  We were honored to share our table with two more of my favorite musicians ~  banjo player, Alison Brown & mandolin player, Ronnie McCoury!  Then back to the Exhibit Hall to continue visiting with our suppliers and looking for new ideas for future products that might be of interest to our customers.
Friday morning we said our goodbyes to Nashville and hit the road for Savannah, Georgia for a few days of R&R.  Will open the store on Saturday, October 11th.  See you then!
                                                                                                              Izzie & Al