Well…….I’ll start this post by stating the obvious (just in case somebody comes across it years, maybe even decades from now). Our world is facing a pandemic right now known primarily as the Coronavirus, but also known as COVID 19. Everyone is being affected by this in different ways. Untold numbers of people have tested positive for it, many have died as a result most notably the great country singer, Joe Diffie. On top of all that though this situation has literally turned our world upside down. Most people can’t work right now, our current generation of school students, teachers and faculty are having to learn and settle in with the new reality of online learning and those who work at what are considered essential places of business are taking risks each and every day when they step out of their homes.
This pandemic has definitely affected me in different ways. For one thing I’ve had some shows cancelled and due to the uncertainty of this current situation, I’m not sure when I will find myself on a stage again. I have also halted booking performance dates for myself or anyone else right now as a result. I’m fortunate in that this isn’t affecting me too much financially speaking, but for many of the artists I love and admire this is taking a huge toll on them. With that being said, I would encourage you to do one of three things if you’re able. One is to buy their music or other merchandise from them directly. Many bands are doing live stream concerts through different internet platforms. If your favorite artist is doing one, tune in and donate to them. Lastly, I would encourage you to make a donation to the IBMA’s Bluegrass Trust Fund. I’m very proud to be a member of this organization. I can assure you that this will help out many musicians and others in the industry during this difficult time. Every little bit will help.
Another thing has been affected is my different therapy services that I have in relation to my disability. I don’t know when they will resume, but for the most part I’ve been doing a pretty good job keeping up my physical activity such as walking on the treadmill among other things.
I’ve had a pretty good amount of free time since all this started. While I’ve mostly been reading, watching different shows/movies and playing on my family’s 10 year old Nintendo Wii, I’ve also been playing and listening to a good bit of music. Last month I was surprised to discover that my great uncle, Jim Nelson of Ruston, Louisiana had been building a beautiful A-style mandolin for me since July of last year. He primarily builds guitars as a hobby, but he wanted to see if he could build a mandolin. My family and I drove to Ruston the weekend after he finished it and picked it up. It was the neatest surprise I’ve ever experienced to date. I’ve been playing it just about every day, especially since all this started and it’s gotten better and better. I also used it to make one of the hardest home recordings I’ve made to date, a trio mandolin rendition of the Bill Monroe song, “I’m Blue I’m Lonesome.” I used my new hand-built A style plus my Collings MT and Kentucky KM-606 to record all of the harmony parts during the instrumental solos. If you look at the picture which accompanies the song on the YouTube link, my new mando is the one on the far end with the gorgeous blonde finish! It took two days and many hours to record, but it was a fun labor of love. I’m thinking about potentially doing some more recording soon.
Once I finish writing this post I’m gonna get my shoes on, get on the treadmill and crank up John Hartford’s “Live at College Station, Pennsylvania” through my Bluetooth headphones. I hope all of you stay safe and healthy during this time.