This post is a contribution from popular bluegrass artist and radio man, Joe Mullins. He and The Radio Ramblers are celebrating 10 years together with their very first tour of England and Switzerland this week. Joe has promised to send photos and stories while they are away.
Tonight JMRR worked in Portsmouth, Great Britain, right along Portsmouth Harbor. Its the historic home of the British Royal Navy and where the D Day invasion was planned. Ken and Donna Brown host concerts at the Square Tower beside the harbor wall. We are enjoying our stay at the Queens Hotel, a wonderful property also with a great history. The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Winston Churchill and now The Radio Ramblers, have all been hotel guests.
The Square Tower has a fascinating history going back to late 1400’s. Except for the Bluegrass Underground Volcano room, it may be the oldest venue we have ever worked. And it has a bluegrass connection. Sir Walter Raleigh left through the levy gate beside the tower when he embarked on his journey to the new world and thus the founding of Virginia and what is now the host city of IBMA World of Bluegrass.
A full house tonight of very welcoming fans. Some had been long time bluegrass enthusiasts and we made new converts out of others. It was a thrill to have requests to fill from our song catalog and have folks ask for more of our gospel songs. One highlight was when a gentlemen told me he had been a fan of bluegrass since the 1950’s. He spoke beautifully about the long standing, respectful and loving relationship between the British and Americans. He said with today’s political climate around the world bring way too uncertain, our music and presentation had really reconfirmed his love for Americans and our music. Very touching indeed. The reception from the audience was a great blessing and we are thankful for the experience.
Our concert presenters saw our band while visiting the US last year and attending the Grand Ole Opry on a night we were guesting. The Browns are remarkable hosts and promoters and we certainly hope to see them again soon.
On to Switzerland tomorrow.