Firebox Restaurant, Hartford, CT

Hey all! A couple weeks ago I blogged here telling all about our new venue, and asked for bands to help out. (Yes, there is a stipend). I want to relate a story to you, representing exactly the scenario I have envisioned for this place. This was week two of the Sunday night bluegrass series, and the band was “TrueGrass” with guest Pete Kelly on the five. You can look the band up if you like! We were well into our second hour of bluegrass and I had been noticing one table in particular. A couple, and he was singing along to the songs. I always appreciate when folks sing along, and he seemed to really enjoy our show. We had a guest come up and sing a couple, and I worked/shmoozed the room. I made my way to the table and spoke with the gentleman, and his wife. He was from England, had seen me before, liked the harmony and enjoyed the music. He told me he played in the past, and asked me if he could get up and sing. I usually don’t just let anyone up unless I know what I’m getting myself into. Well, I forget what he sang, but let me tell you, he had a beautiful crooner’s voice, so smooth, so sweet. Everyone loved him. You could tell he had done this before…very comfortable. (He would say he wasn’t!)

After the song, we spoke briefly, and the show finished up. He told me his name, and when I arrived home, I did a little research and learned that Mr. Martin Hollis, from Coventry, England, was a charter member of Europe’s most famous and loved country/bluegrass band, the “Down County Boys!” I read his history, and that of the bands, and was very happy we had met. Talking via email this past week, Martin told me how happy he was to sing, and how rusty he felt with the guitar…missing a G-run…but loved the music. He said the only playing he had been doing was award shows and presentations! He also promised to return!

This is exactly why I love this music so much, and what I want to happen at our new venue! So…my offer stands, if you are passing through New England on a Sunday afternoon, contact me. We need the diversity of performers to keep the folks interested! Best regards to all.