Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stella Yellin Non-Get-Alongs

For about as long as I can remember I have attended the Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival in Winfield, Kansas for most of the months of September.
It's been years now since I attended but I still have a completely romanticized warm and fuzzy feeling about it.
One of my very first years there I came upon a camp of musicians who were in the newspaper industry and from Joplin, Missouri. Among them was a man named Jim Moss.
While most of that festival in particular remains something of a blur, I have been having really vivid memories of the time he shared with me and the key to the John Prine universe that he unlocked.

He taught me a huge chunk of the songs that I'm still playing today.
I can play those songs (and have) with almost anyone, almost anywhere - and I find people to sing along and play amazing leads and share stories, food and drink till well past sunrise.
I don't know where Jim Moss is anymore (although I suspect he's still somewhere near Joplin) and I doubt I'll ever be able to thank him for the gift he gave me ~ But, almost every day I play something that he either taught me or showed me that I could learn and, for that, I'm grateful.

If you are one of the thousands that saves up your precious vacation time for those moments in the Pecan Grove, just yell "Stellllllllllla" for me sometime around 4am and then start singing "That's The Way That The World Goes Round."
I think you've only got about 100 more days to build a plan that involves that request.

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