The following is an account from Wayne Taylor, describing his tour this past September in England and Scotland with his group, Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa.
On September 21, 1995 in Rosine, Kentucky, the US Navy’s Country Current bluegrass group performed for the birthday celebration and plaque dedication ceremony for Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass Music. At that ceremony, as the leader of Country Current, I had a conversation with John Sheldon, the Secretary of the Scottish Bluegrass Association from Penicuik Scotland. As we were talking, John inquired about the possibility of Country Current performing in the United Kingdom but, at that time, the possibility of a performance would not come to fruition.
John spoke face to face with the Father of Bluegrass Music on that day and made a vow that he would do all he could to promote bluegrass music in the United Kingdom. Bill boasted with pride that his music would continue to grow around the globe. Since that ceremony in 1995, John has worked feverishly to fulfill his promise by hosting tours for over 100 USA, Canadian, and European bluegrass bands in the UK.
Upon my retirement from Country Current, I contacted John Sheldon to get the wheels rolling toward getting my new group, Wayne Taylor and Appaloosa to the UK. John arranged a thirteen-day tour, a series of performances ranging from state of the art theaters in Newcastle, England to Moniaive’s first annual bluegrass festival in the south of Scotland. We also did a pair of Music in the Schools performances for 500+ children in grades Kindergarten through 6th grade, which was funded by the International Bluegrass Music Association and the Scottish Bluegrass Association. Our schedule also included group and individual workshops.
Throughout the 13-day tour WT and Appaloosa traveled many miles, performing 18 shows for hundreds of bluegrass enthusiasts as ambassadors of bluegrass music and as US citizens. The tour was highly successful. John continues to fulfill his promise to Bill Monroe with other groups lined up for next year.
I would highly recommend this adventure for any bluegrass group who would like to experience the trip of a life time to see some of the most amazing scenery, landscapes, castles and meet some of the friendliest people anywhere.
Here are a few photos from our trip.