Every year I do my best to compile what I believe to be the year’s most uninteresting developments in the bluegrass music world. Sometimes this requires a little digging, as there are some surprisingly captivating stories in our music over the course of a year. Just this past year, for instance, we’ve learned of the development of a spring-loaded flatpick/thumbpick hybrid and an online scammer masquerading as Rhonda Vincent, who extorted half a million dollars from an unsuspecting fan. Delving deeper into the year’s archives of Bluegrass Today as well as regional publications, though, it’s usually possible to find some truly boring stories.
You would think the pandemic would make this job a little easier in 2020, since so many of us are leading more monotonous lives than ever, but it’s actually made it more challenging. That’s because our standards for what we consider “boring” have become unnaturally elevated in the past few months. After all, just getting a haircut after three months, doing grocery shopping on a different day than usual, or taking a journey into the next room now seem like newsworthy enough events to text somebody about. I looked up some of the top boring stories I’d collected in years past and found myself actually interested in the story about a bluegrass artist I’d never heard of delaying a chest x-ray.
I hope the following top 5 will live up to our new sheltering-in-place yawn-worthy standards. As always, I’ve categorized these by various boring subjects:
The economic statement of the obvious:
Bluegrass Music Professionals Hit Hard Economically Because Nothing is Happening
In a recent economic analysis commissioned by the IBMA, it was found that those involved in the bluegrass music industry, from musicians to event producers, are dealing with unprecedented financial hardship due to the fact that no bluegrass music events are happening. As economist Gerald Freeley explained, “when an industry is driven by ticket sales, income tends to dry up when no one’s buying any. There being no events to buy tickets for is certainly a big factor.”
A band we’ve never heard of goes on hiatus . . . again:
Dusty Surface Returns to Hiatus
Dusty Surface, a once-popular Indiana band has decided to go on hiatus again, after briefly reuniting for a short tour of two midwestern states. Band leader Jason Jackson explained: “It was good to get back together for a few shows, and we were hoping to do more, but some of our band members still find that their priorities lie elsewhere, so we’ve decided to suspend things for the near future.” He continued, “We remain good friends as we’ve always been. This just isn’t a good time for us to resume in a full time capacity.” They had been working on a third album, with the working title “3”, but Jackson says that too will be on hold.
Telecommunication choices of the stars:
Brandi Baker Changes Cell Phone Providers
Brandi Baker of Brandi Baker and Grass Pipeline has made the decision to part with the cell phone carrier she had been with for over two years. “It was just time,” she said. “I wasn’t that unhappy with them, but I got offered a deal that was hard to beat, including more data for a lower monthly fee.” Her new carrier seems to be providing a little better reception in those areas of traditionally limited service: “We were just playing at Bluegrass Under The Sky and I was the only one in our band who was able to get a text on the festival grounds. I’m pretty happy with the change.”
Trends of the times:
Pandemic-themed Single Drops For Aggressive Hollow
On the heels of their recent successful ode to bluegrass music and its father, Bill Monroe’s Hat, Aggressive Hollow has just released a new song that draws on the hardships of the COVID-19 situation, called I Miss All The Festivals. Lead singer and writer of the song, Corey Plankton, said he wanted to write something that everyone could relate to during the pandemic: “I got the idea because I was just missing all the festivals this summer. I’m probably not the only one who is. Then the title, ‘I Miss All the Festivals’ just hit me like a lightning bolt.” One thing led to another, and the song was born, as Plankton explained: “Once I had the title, the banjo player and I traded some ideas and we wrote it all in about half an hour. A lot of the best songs are written quickly like that, I think.”
Keeping up with apparel:
Family Band Purchases New Stage Outfits as Children Get Bigger
The parents of the family band The Wilkinsons have reported that the children in the band appear to be growing taller and larger every year, a trend which is common to a number of family bands. This has necessitated the purchasing of new clothes for the younger performers in the band, something they’ve had to do before, as the father Billy Wilkinson remarked: “It’s something we do almost every year. This will probably continue until the kids are in their late teens, I expect.”