One of the endearing aspects of bluegrass music is the way that we treat our early pioneers. Instead of being shuffled to the sidelines, the founders of our music are celebrated by current bluegrass artists, and the larger audience generally welcomes the opportunity to show their appreciation for the contributions they have made.
A great example will be on display at next weekend’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in San Francisco, CA. When The David Grisman Experience performs on this free, 3 day festival on October 7 in Golden Gate Park, David will welcome Curly Seckler to join him on stage.
Curly had a hand in shaping the way bluegrass tenor is sung, and is widely regarded as being as influential in the earliest days as Bill Monroe or Ralph Stanley. Not only did he record more than 100 tracks with Flatt & Scruggs during his 12 years with the band, he also wrote several of their most memorable songs, like No Mother Or Dad and That Old Book of Mine.
Curly performed as a member of Lester Flatt and The Nashville Grass from 1973 until Lester’s passing in ’79, and then fronted the band himself up to his retirement in 1994. He didn’t retire completely, however, and marked the year 2004 – his 70th in bluegrass music – by recording a total of 28 tracks, released as two CDs on the Copper Creek label (hear audio samples in iTunes).
Later that same year, he was inducted into the IBMA Hall of Honor, and gave a memorable performance at the 2004 awards show.
You can find more details about the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival on their web site. Austin City Limits will be filming at the festival, and we sure hope that Curly will make the cut and appear when the footage is aired.
Three cheers for Curly Seckler – and for David Grisman as well!