Top 5 Boring Bluegrass Stories of 2017

Happy New Year! This is the time of year when lists flourish and proliferate. If you’re in a much more lucrative career than I am, and you have money to invest, you might consider buying stock in any company specializing in ranking and listing things. Right now you’ve got a wide choice of lists, ranging from Bluegrass Today’s most played songs, to the top 5 cat Instagram accounts.

What I haven’t seen anywhere yet is a list of someone’s favorite “best of 2017” lists, so I was thinking of compiling one, but  then found that I was only really excited about three of them, (not counting Bluegrass Today’s, of course): The Top 15 bluegrass Songs About Grandpa, The Top 10 Okra-related Hashtags, and The Top 5 Dance Moves of the Trivago Guy. 

It didn’t make for much of a list, so once again I’ll have to fall back on my annual listing tradition: the Top 5 Boring Bluegrass Stories of 2017. Every year, Bluegrass Today and some of the lesser-known bluegrass tabloids, like The Weekly Bluegrass News, and The Bluegrass Enquirer, come up with stories that make our collective mind wander about midway through the first paragraph, or sometimes right after reading the headline. These are stories that were either very predictable, mundane, or just generally dreary.

It’s true there were lots of interesting developments in the bluegrass world in 2017. Here are my picks for the top 5 stories about developments that weren’t:

Man Unable to Find Bluegrass Festival

Gerald Cornwall, of Zanesville, OH spent over 45 minutes driving in and around West Plainview, Indiana, in search of the second annual Bluegrass In a Field festival. “At first I didn’t want to ask directions,” said Cornwall. “In my family, that’s just not a thing we were taught to do. Eventually, though, I had to ask some of the locals in West Plainview, where the festival was, and no one had ever heard of it. They thought maybe I was in the wrong state.” The lost festival-goer said that his GPS had also failed him: “It said, ‘you have reached your destination’ when I came to the Dairy Queen. It seemed like much too small a place to host a bluegrass festival.” Finally, Cornwall spotted an RV with a “BANJO YES” license plate on it, and I just followed it straight to the event.

Woman Has Her Instrument Damaged By Airline

Christine Pillsworth, a member of the Tri-state Bluegrass Friends of Fairfield, Connecticut had her mandolin severely damaged after she checked it in a soft case on a recent flight between New York and San Francisco. It was a Hondo brand, valued at over $85.00. “Maybe it wasn’t the  best mandolin in the world, but I was attached to it” said Pillsworth, who had been playing the instrument for almost two years. “I just had a soft case for it, but the ticket agent asked me to check it, so I did. I thought they would be gentler with musical instruments.” The mandolin was insured, but unfortunately the deductible was more than the value of the instrument.

Cody Holloway to Twysted Valley (Every year I have to include my top pick among band personnel change stories about people and bands we’ve never heard of)

Cody Holloway, who had performed for several years with his family Gospel band, The Holloways, and more recently with the progressive string band Milkhouse Madness, has signed on with Twysted Valley, a bluegrass quintet led by guitar player/lead singer Terence Campbell. He takes over the mandolin spot in the band, previously held by Daniel French, who has left to “pursue other goals.” Campbell says of Holloway, “Cody brings a nice steady chop to our band. He does fine with the baritone parts, too. Nothing against Danny, but the harmony parts weren’t  his strong suit.” Twysted Valley just released their third album, entitled Number 3.

Bluegrass Musician Alienates Friends With Angry Facebook Rants

Gary Buckboard, banjo player with Wet Creek, began regularly posting about politics on his personal Facebook page, which friends of his say have grown increasingly angry and insulting to any friends who disagree with him. When asked for comment, Buckboard simply said, “they’re wrong, and they’re idiots.”

Dental Procedure Delayed For Brian Walters

Longtime Lonesome Parka bandleader Brian Walters will not be going in to have two fillings replaced, as originally planned. “It was a scheduling mixup,” Brian explained. “I had an afternoon gig that conflicted with the time.” His appointment has been rescheduled for two weeks from Thursday.

May your 2018 be an uninteresting one.