The Annual Bill Monroe Appreciation Night

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.

Although it was a low key event, WSM Radio’s Anna Marie Ritter acted as host, and bluegrass guru Mary Yeomans captured activities with her trusted camera.

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.

This year, as a special feature, the Vickie Vaughn Band with Casey Campbell, Justin Hiltner, Zach White and Maggie Estes; and Chris Henry and the Hardcore Grass are included on the bill.

Show time is 8:00 p.m., and additional information about the Bill Monroe Appreciation Night can be found at the Station Inn website.

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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.