What did all the Nashville bluegrass pickers do on returning from attendance at Bill Monroe’s funeral in 1996? They did what they always do; got together and played a little bluegrass music. The likes of Roland White, Mike Compton, J T Gray, Charlie Smith, Dan Jones and Wayne Lewis gathered at Gray’s Station Inn on 12th Avenue South, in Nashville, and played some of the songs and tunes that they knew best – the music of Bill Monroe.
That informal jam session spawned the first of what was to become an annual tribute to the Father of Bluegrass Music, the 1st Annual Bill Monroe Appreciation Night that took place in December 1997.
The core band consisted of Roland White, Missy Raines, Charlie Smith, Vic Jordan and Pat Enright. The guest musicians were Bobby Hicks, Doug Green, James Monroe, J. T. Gray, John Hedgecoth, John Hartford, Mike Compton, David Grier, Chris Sharp, Diane Bouska and Gordon Reid.
With Roland White in the vanguard the Bill Monroe Appreciation Night has become a regular feature as the festive season approaches.
This year’s event, the 16th, takes place on Saturday, December 1 and will be led as usual by the Roland White Band – with triple fiddlers Shad Cobb, Brian Christianson and Matt Combs; along with Richard Bailey; Diane Bouska; and Jon Weisberger.
Special guests booked to participate are Pat Enright, Larry Stephenson, Ben Surratt, JT and Paul Gray, Kathy Chiavola, Missy Raines and Mike Compton.
Show time is 8:00 p.m., and additional information about the Bill Monroe Appreciation Night can be found at the Station Inn website.