Five months into the pandemic and many bluegrass musicians have settled into one of two categories: the hustlers and the layabouts.
The hustlers are busy producing instructional material, hosting livestream concerts, making sure to leave some spare time to renovate the house, alphabetize that old cassette collection, and write the great American novel.
The layabouts have taken the opportunity to binge-watch every TV series they’ve ever wanted to see, and some they didn’t care that much about, including season 4 of Three’s Company. And this approach is just as valid as the hustlers’. I read an article recently that suggested that in these times we shouldn’t put too much pressure on ourselves; our goal should simply be to get to the other side of this alive and relatively sane.
For the layabout group, that has slowly run out of entertainment options (Season 3 of F Troop was a cry for help), what’s needed are some mindless games gleaned from the internet, preferably the kind not designed to rob your identity.
I have just such a game, which I became aware of thanks to a friend of mine in Michigan, David Fink, who wrote a post suggesting that we should ruin a band’s name by changing just one letter. He opened with “The Rolling Scones.” This was followed by some pretty amusing entries in the comments section, like “Bob Seger and the Silver Pullet Band” (perfect for all of us who have gotten into the poultry business during the pandemic).
I immediately thought of applying this exclusively to bluegrass bands, and I got some interesting results. See if you agree:
Alison Krauss and Onion Station (because bassist/farmer Barry Bales has expanded into onion-growing, and plans to sell them at the merch table as soon as the band is touring again)
The Seldom Scent (The best bands don’t overexpose their aroma.)
Hot Rice (Apparently what you serve as a side dish with Hot Tuna)
Rhonda Vincent & the Cage (Rhonda has announced that in 2021 her band will be performing from inside a small, portable jail cell placed on the stage.)
Boone Creep (Let’s face it, not everyone was a fan of Daniel Boone.)
Bill Monroe & The Blue Grass Bots (Very 2020)
The Lonesome Pine Riddlers (featuring the Clines, Melvin Goins, and Frank Gorshen)
Gibson Brothels (The famed instrument maker diversifies.)
J.D. Crowe and the New Mouth (The band, post-dental surgery.)
Nashville Bluegrass Bank (Finally! A place where I can get approved for a loan to buy a Lloyd Loar.)
Glue Highway (The band that sticks together . . .)
Sitter Sadie (The band plans to do all 2021 shows sitting down.)
Volume Fife (In a stylistic change, the band has decided to focus exclusively on very loud Revolutionary War songs.)
Steep Canyon Ranters (They’re talking more on stage than they used to)
Pig Country Bluegrass (for the band’s planned relocation from Virginia to Iowa.)
Lorraine Jordan and Carolina Toad (Everybody needs a mascot.)
Last, but not least . . . wait for it . . .
IIIrd Time Out (How weird!)