I’m back after a skillfully negotiated three weeks off, following my 400th column. My hope is that you hadn’t actually noticed and that the reruns seemed exactly as fresh as the first time they ran (which may range from moderately fresh to three days past their “best before” date, depending on your impression at the time).
It’s been no vacation, though, I assure you. I’ve been busy with the kinds of activities hopelessly out of work musicians engage in: weeding potatoes, sorting a sock drawer, looking up Orlando Cepeda’s 1961 slugging percentage. And, last but not least, selecting a winner in the name-that-column contest we’ve been running for the past few weeks.
It was a highly competitive contest, and I’m grateful for all the entries, but as in badminton, there can only be one winner (unless you’re playing doubles—perhaps it was backgammon I was thinking of). I hereby congratulate Connie Fitzgerald of Ohio for the winning entry: “From the Side of the Road.” It’s a reference to the Tom T. and Dixie Hall song which I recorded, The Man On the Side of the Road. Though there were perhaps funnier or cleverer entries, I liked the simplicity of this one and thought it set the right tone, and the Bluegrass Today staff at BT Towers in Roanoke agreed. Thank you, Connie!
Before we launch headlong into new material, I thought it best to get to our annual column quiz, to make sure that at least some of the useless and/or outright false information related here in the past year has been retained.
Below are five questions relating to material I’ve written about within the last 12 months (most within the last six months). If you get all five right, you will be officially crowned a TRAP (Top Reader And Patron, or “Patrón” if you prefer). You may consider this a consolation prize if you submitted a column name that didn’t win. Since there was no prize for the winning entry, it’s really a fine line anyway. If you get four out of five, you’re a SRIRACHA (Semi-regular, Interested Reader, And Comprehender of Humorous Anecdotes). Three out of five: you’re a PRUDE (Periodic Reader Unless Distracted Elsewhere). Two out of five: an OBS (Occasional Browser and Skimmer). One out of five: At least you’re reading this.
1) What does “Surgeon General on a Spruce Tree” refer to?
A. Your possible pandemic fiddle tune name
B. Something seen recently on the White House grounds
C. The secret code used by IBMA board members just before each meeting (now you know)
D. The line that comes right before “pickin’ up dough”
E. Social distancing taken to an extreme
2) Complete the following sentence: The two-tone train whistle imitation is attractive to the opposite sex…
B. If you were married to Boxcar Willie
C. If you’re a bird
D. In an alternate reality
D. After two weeks of self-isolation
3) “Hey, my new single, Mama Made Shine drops on Friday! Click here to order! Can’t wait to hear it on the radio! LOL” When something like this appears in the comments of a DJ’s personal social media post about his/her close friends’ recent wedding, it’s a prime example of . . .
A. What’s wrong with 2020
B. The kind of persistent and aggressive marketing that eventually yields results
C. People commenting on posts they haven’t actually read
D. Clumsy self-promotion
E. A, C, & D
4) According to Mr. Bluegrass Manners, wearing pants is unnecessary . . .
A. When playing the post-supper break set at a bluegrass festival
B. When doing a livestream concert, as long as the camera angle isn’t showing you below the waist
C. When playing hockey
E. In a “man cave’ if it’s an actual cave
She’s my little white dove, she gives me that good love
Everything I want on a moonlit night
Two kegs on a flatbed, step back jump ahead
You know she’s gonna make me want to fly, sky high
My white dove
5) The above lyrics are . . .
B. What would have happened if a committee of Bro-country songwriters had written White Dove instead of Carter Stanley
D. Like a lot of other songs that have made a great deal of money, unfortunately
E. All of the above
Answer key: 1: A, 2: C, 3: E, 4: B, 5: E