Tim Carter, banjo player with Hayseed Dixie, owner/operator of Treehouse Studio in Nashville, and one half of The Carter Brothers, has shared a truly lovely story about the sensory power of music.
Hayseed Dixie is an interesting band, formed in 2001 by John Wheeler, and he brought the Reno brothers on to take the show on the road and play bluegrass covers of AC/DC songs. They ended up becoming quite popular, especially in Europe where they tour regularly. The Renos moved on in 2013, but the group continues to record and tour with their distinctive “rockgrass” style, expanding beyond the AC/DC repertoire and even writing new music of their own.
In addition to Tim on banjo, Hayseed Dixie is John Wheeler on guitar, Hippy Joe Hymas on mandolin, and Jake “Bakesnake” Byers on bass.
While on tour last month in Wales, Tim encountered a teenaged girl named Teagan who was thoroughly enjoying their set, even though she was blind. He had a sudden inspiration that both offered Teagan a very special experience, and left Carter with a lasting memory.
Let’s have him tell the story…
On October 21, 2022, three weeks into a six week tour through the UK and Europe with Hayseed Dixie, I had a most unusual experience while playing at The Queens Hall in Narberth, Wales. While most all shows we play have barriers in front of the stage, this particular one did not, so the audience could get right to the front edge of the stage.
I noticed a beautiful young girl of maybe 16 yrs old with purple-ish hair standing in front of me, with an older man that I guessed was her Dad. She appeared to be blind, but she was rockin’ out and havin a blast. Hayseed is a very visual band, we’re having as much fun as anyone, and I wished she could see it all, but she felt it for sure.
We were approaching the end of our two hour show when I bent down to ask the gentleman if this was his daughter. He replied, ‘Yes’, and I asked ‘Is she blind? ‘Yes.’ ‘Would you mind at some point if she would like to place her hand on top of my picking hand?’ He said, ‘No, that’d be grand.
I’ve never done this, so I waited ’till we were playing something very fast, and I bent down in front of her and her Dad placed her hand on top of mine while I was soloing. She became very still, taking in every movement of my right hand. On our last song I did it again, this time she put both hands on top of both my hands. In my 50 yrs of playing I’ve never experienced anything as emotional as this. It literally brought tears to my eyes.
After we finished I asked a security guard if he would escort the young girl and her Dad backstage so I could properly meet her. She was so excited and gracious. I asked her what the experience was like, and she said, ‘I could feel everything you were doing, it was incredible.’ She plays a little guitar and could basically tell I was fingerpicking.
She thanked me and I thanked her back for this most extraordinary experience.”
Many thanks to Tim Carter for passing this story along, and for having the foresight and wisdom to offer Teagan this chance to get to know banjo picking by touch and feel.
While they didn’t capture any video, Teagan’s dad, Paul, was able to snap these photos.
Well done all!