Moments in Bluegrass BG75 #5 – memories on stage

Herb Pedersen and Thierry Schoysman

Following an invitation that the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) extended to its members that they share a memory from “75 years of bluegrass,” we thought that we would collect a few to share with you. 

Belgian Thierry Schoysman began playing the banjo when he was 13 years old. Since then he has developed into one of the most highly respected bluegrass musicians in Europe. Currently Schoysman plays banjo with the band Rawhide and mandolin in the Sons of Navarone.

“In 1976/1977, that was before my time in bluegrass, Bill Keith, David Grisman and Tony Rice played in Europe and Japan under different band names; Bill Keith band, The Bluegrass Quintet, Bicentennial bluegrass band. with Richard Greene or Darol Anger on fiddle, Bill Amatneek or Todd Philips on bass.

They never made an official recording, although David Grisman has put out a live show in Japan.

But they recorded together on several projects: the David Grisman Rounder Album, Bill Keith’s Something Bluegrass and the A side of Tony Trischka’s Banjoland.

Still today, Bill Keith, David Grisman and Tony Rice remain my absolute favorites on their respective instruments, and Tony Rice as vocalist as well.

Newcomer Brayden Williamson is a singer-songwriter whom we have featured in our Young Uns series.

“I will always remember the first time I had the opportunity to play on stage with Larry Sparks in Barboursville, West Virginia. He invited me to come and play on his show at the Mountaineer Opry House. Around the end of the first set, I played my original song, Watching the Grass Grow, then followed that up with an instrumental version of Wildwood Flower. Larry’s band, The Lonesome Ramblers, accompanied my songs very well. Wonderful people and talented top-notch musicians. 

Then after the second set of the night, he then invited me back up to play the last half of the set with him. We played What Kind of Man, Dark Hollow and a fiddle tune by his fiddler, Mike Feagan. Larry nodded at me to play the instrumental in both songs.”

Herb Pedersen began his career in Bay Area playing in a band called The Pine Valley Boys. He then went on to work with Vern Williams and Ray Park; The Dillards; and The Desert Rose Band; to form The Laurel Canyon Ramblers; to record and perform with Tony Rice, Larry Rice and Chris Hillman; and form a duo with Hillman, with whom he still works in various settings.

“One of my cherished memories would be back in 1967, subbing for Earl with Lester and the Foggys.

Great learning experience, and a great bunch of guys to boot.”

Pedersen – in his early 20s – filled in for Scruggs while the then 42-year old recovered from a hip operation, doing a few shows in Virginia and North Carolina.

OK, readers, does this story trigger any thoughts of bluegrass music in days gone by? What related event would you like remembered? Please share in comments. Thanks.

Share this:

About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.