WAMU’s Bluegrass Country is broadcasting live from Nashville September 26-30. Click here for a complete schedule of our live programming. In addition to our broadcast, we’ll also be blogging daily. Today’s blogger is Bluegrass Country host Rosemarie Nielsen.
Support for today’s blog comes from Make Welcome Entertainment.
Today is Wednesday of our week-long trip to IBMA in Nashville. It’s my first time at IBMA and my first time in Nashville! It’s been a very busy week and nonstop fun.
My morning began with a tour of the Country Music Hall of Fame, guided by historian John Rumble. The exhibits I spent time in trace the early roots of the old-time and bluegrass music played on Bluegrass Country. Fame was very different in the 1920’s. Fiddlers became well-known by attending fiddler’s contests. When radio began, those players were asked to play their music live on the air. When recording technology advanced enough to make affordable and decent-sounding record players, the record companies would take portable recording equipment to put those same performers on 78’s. The first such “star” was Fiddling John Carson. The two songs were “Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane” and “The Old Hen She Cackled and the Rooster’s Going to Crow.” And the rest, as they say, is history.
The architecture of the Hall is extremely interesting (below).
I also took photos from the Walkway of Stars, a lovely park across the street from the Hall.
On the walk back from the Hall of Fame, I stopped in at Gruhn Guitars. I’m a clawhammer banjo player, and there were many banjos that caught my eye—and my ear.
I also went past Merchant’s Restaurant (above). The building is famous for having been a hotel where many country musicians stayed.
Of course, you should not miss the honky tonks on Broadway. The neon signs are bright even in full sun! And there are many Elvises on view!
Finally, I got back to the IBMA Exhibit Hall. It’s a musician’s delight! On view are guitars, banjos, dobros and mandolins of all makes and ages. I stopped in at several booths and test-drove open-back banjos. I was also treated to some impromptu performances, such as when Foghorn String Band’s Caleb Klauder played a vintage Gibson mandolin that was priced at over $200,000 (below)! Or when I got to listen to Paul Beard playing one of his dobros!
Finally, the time came for the Bluegrass Country broadcast, live from the convention center! I got to hear Blue Moon Rising, Kenny and Amanda Smith, Wayne Taylor and Appaloosa, Missy Werner, The Gibson Brothers, and The Lonesome River Band. Our live audience was at capacity, and gave all the acts a warm welcome.
There’s something fun to do all the time at the IBMA! But if you can’t be here in person, tune in to our remaining live broadcasts—we’ll be on the air between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. (ET) on Thursday and Friday.