Nedski and Mojo Travelogue – Day 6

Ned Luberecki and Stephen Mougin are a pair of busy bluegrass boys. Both serve as sidemen and band members with different outfits (Chris Jones and Sam Bush respectively), and have “regular jobs” in the biz as well. Ned is an on-air host on Sirius-XM’s Bluegrass Junction, and Stephen operates a studio, Dark Shadow Recording. When they have some free time, they tour as a duo, Nedski & Mojo.

They have agreed to chronicle their current N&M tour for the readers of Bluegrass Today. Day 6 takes them to Mojo’s old stomping grounds in Massachusetts.

Day 6 – It’s another early morning as Nedski and Mojo head to the Colonial Inn in Concord, MA for the Boston Bluegrass Union’s Jam’n Weekend. Today we’re teaching master classes on banjo and harmony singing.

On the drive, Stephen pointed out that we were very near Walden Pond. In fact, I was told that the banjo workshop was held in the same room where Henry David Thoreau once held a banjo workshop. Or something like that… It was very historic anyway.

From the looks of it, the BBU was going to have a great turnout for the weekend. Our workshops were actually in advance of the weekend jam. Ned’s banjo workshop focused on jamming skills and how to work up breaks “on the fly” with the hope that the students could put them to use right away.

Stephen had his bluegrass harmony class singing three part harmony, switching parts and even had them re-arranging harmony parts in different inversions to accommodate higher harmony parts like high baritone or high lead. It’s a great way to arrange songs for female singers, or guys who sing as high as Bobby Osborne. It looked like the jam was going to be a fun event. We wish we could have stuck around, but had to head out to Orange, MA for tonight’s show.

This time the tour took us through Mojo territory. Stephen used to live in Orange, MA, long enough ago that the drive into town was filled with memories of where things used to be and exclamations of “When did they build that?

Most notable on this trip was the first time that Nedski and Mojo would get to play for Ginny, the inspiration for the song Ginny Danced, one he wrote with Craig Market for our Nothing More CD.

Ginny was a choreographer that Stephen worked with when he was a high school music teacher producing musicals. Several photo albums were flipped through, stories told, and memories shared. At 86 years young, she’s still a sprightly gal (she even joined us in “The Pose”)!

Mojo had a difficult time getting through Ginny Danced while looking out at Ginny, her daughters, and piles of friends. At the end of the song we got a rousing standing ovation, and then the entire audience turned and applauded her directly. Not a dry eye in the room.

Several of Mojo’s former students came out to the show, as well as parents of students who have moved away from the area. Getting to visit old friends and familiar places takes some of the sting out of all the miles of travel.

And speaking of visiting, we’re off to Ashfield (Stephen’s home town) to stay at Stephen’s “old home place” and a show at Elmer’s General Store. We played here a couple of years ago and had a blast! Looking forward to it again.

Now it’s late and Stephen pointed out a place on the way into town that he says has the world’s greatest pancakes… Crabcakes in MD… Pancakes in MA… Something else to take the sting out of the miles.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.