Holiday Poem 2011

A new tradition launches here at Bluegrass Today: Chris Stuart’s Holiday Poem. Enjoy our 2011 year-in-review, or click below and listen to Chris read it aloud.



Dear friends out in the blogosphere,

I hope a link has brought you here,

To read and pass a pleasant time,

Or search your name amongst the rhyme.

“O brother,” you say, “a holiday poem.”

Yes! So grab your jeraboam,

And stay a while, this won’t take long,

At least it’s not another song

To make you weep or grab your heart—

Then with a click your cash departs.

It’s simply yet another way,

To spend time at Bluegrass Today.


I feel that we should celebrate,

The year that was 2008.

What?! O numbered days to heaven,

Are we nearly past 2011?

Then let’s not dawdle, lag or tarry,

Pass the egg nog and the sherry.

Let us toast the year that was,

The art, the artists, and the buzz.

So shall we paint a summer rose

In the bleak midwinter snows.

(Actually, I’m in my Winnebago,

On the beach in San Diego.)


At the top, at number one,

The 100th birthday of Big Mon.

The cross-eyed child who’s with us still,

The one, the only whippoorwill.

So many tributes were recorded,

Some just fair, but some awarded,

Mostly, when I had a choice,

I listened to the master’s voice.

From there the drop-off’s mighty steep,

I bought a banjo on the cheap.

Sorry . . . I could not resist,

Onward now with this year’s list!


Two gentlemen to much acclaim,

Were voted in the Hall of Fame,

I don’t know who I think is lovelier,

Del McCoury or George Shuffler.

For Entertainer, a no-brainer,

Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers.

They played the White House on the Mall,

Leno and Letterman, Conan and all.

It’s hard to choose, if I had my druthers,

The Boxcars or the Gibson Brothers.

The former, Instrumental in their win,

The latter took Vocals and Best of Kin.


O the voices that we listened to gladly,

Russell Moore and Dale Ann Bradley.

Crowe and Lawson and Paul Williams:

In a better world, they’d sell millions.

And here’s to a man who has not one heckler,

Hats off then to Curly Seckler.

And look who also played the White House,

Sierra and Dan and Alison Krauss.

The Boxcars climbed the charts with spins,

While Tina and Adam, the Steffeys, had twins.

But nothing made the years seem so weighty

As Bobby Osborne turning 80!


The Steve Martin Prize went to Shelor, Sammy.

Loveless, Patty won the bluegrass grammy.

And just as strong as morning coffee:

The keynote address by Chris Pandolfi.


On the airwaves we had a virtual festival,

With hard-working DJs—online and terrestrial.

Chris Jones on Sirius went upper decky,

With Joey and Kyle and Ned Luberecki.

And out of DC with charm and good cheer,

Katy Daley won Broadcaster of the Year.

A bunch of great DJs, a smorgasbord,

Spun the tunes at

This year a few bands had anniversaries,

Dry Branch Fire Squad and Special C,

Both turned 35, but goodness! O Lordy!

The Seldom Scene is now over 40!


And look how the banjo roared past infamy,

Bela’s Banjo Concerto with the Nashville Symphony,

And Give Me the Banjo on PBS,

Now banjo’s on top, Oblige Noblesse!

Then something that happens once in a blue moon:

Noam Pikelny and a banjo in a New Yorker cartoon.

The Academy of Bluegrass with Tony Trischka,

On the ‘Net these folks are more famous than Mishka.

Missy Raines and Mike Marshall, on guitar Bryan Sutton,

Darol Anger on fiddle. More! I’m a glutton!

And for a resonator’s dream,

Rob Ickes on the cover of Guitar Player magazine.


Yet, it’s not all about the big dogs at the top,

Let us salute the nurse and the cop,

Who come home from work and play just for pleasure,

Who buy all the tab and learn every measure.

To the luthiers, labels, the local clubs,

To the engineers who fix all our flubs.

To all who love bluegrass, the 99 percent.

Like it or not, we need a big tent.


But before we come to the end (at last),

Let us pause and remember those who have passed,

The people we loved who went to their Maker,

Wilma Lee Cooper and Kenny Baker,

Carlton Haney, Charlie Louvin, and Wade Mainer,

Harley Allen, Hazel Dickens, all great entertainers.

But let us not end with a sad attitude,

We remember their time with deep gratitude.


That’s all for this year, still deep in recession,

It was something of a Goat Rodeo Session,

Still, through it all we managed to jam,

Sing some old songs, and share half a dram.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this minor reprieve,

From shopping and wrapping for Christmas Eve.

But if you feel that the quality varied,

Or I failed to note some luminary,

Please add a comment down below,

Underneath this mistletoe.


That’s all for now, for what it’s worth,

Keep on pickin’ and peace on earth!

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About the Author

Chris Stuart

Chris Stuart is a writer and songwriter living in San Diego. He was the 2008 recipient of the IBMA Print Media Person of the Year award, co-writer of the 2009 IBMA Song of the Year, and past winner of the Merlefest Chris Austin Songwriting contest in bluegrass and gospel categories. You can follow him on Twitter @cvstuart, on Facebook, and at On Tuesdays you can find him having fish tacos at Roberto’s in Del Mar.