If you catch Missy Raines playing a show in the next few weeks, it’ll be hard to miss her newest accessory – a dark sling to help immobilize her right arm and shoulder. Missy fell in a Y gym in mid-January, fracturing the humerus bone of her arm in two places near the shoulder.
Fortunately, her right hand and elbow weren’t affected by the injury. “I can still play, and have been playing gigs,” Missy said one day last week as she prepared to start physical therapy. She didn’t need surgery and should be able to start moving her shoulder in about a month. For now, Missy wears the sling when she plays, and she plays a bit higher on the fingerboard than she usually does. Because she can’t move her shoulder, she can’t dig in the way she usually does and slapping is out.
But she CAN keep time, which is a bass player’s primary responsibility anyway. “Having some limitations forced me to really get down to the core of the song,” Missy wrote to her online students at the Academy of Bluegrass School of Bass. “I will be very glad when I have my arm back but I feel incredibly lucky, and even learned something along the way.”
She’s also had a chance to sharpen her sense of humor. The “breaking news” part of the headline on this story is hers, for example, and she’s got a pretty good riff about how breaking your humerus isn’t humorous. She can joke, of course, because the injury doesn’t interfere with her ability to earn a living.
And as anyone who knows Missy can tell you, laughing through adversity is a regular thing for her. After undergoing hip surgery a few years back, she struck out on her own, calling her band The New Hip. Missy, who will have a new CD out soon, should be back to 100% this spring.