Katy Daley is emceeing the International Bluegrass Music Museum’s ROMP 2009 music festival and providing Bluegrass Country with regular on-air and online news updates.
9:14 am CT, Thursday
Last night I attended a wonderful concert at the RiverPark Center. The show was a 60-year anniversary celebration of the Wax Works, which is a family business now owned by Terry Woodward. Terry is a supporter of the International Bluegrass Music Museum and generously donated the proceeds of the concert to the museum.
What a night! WAMU’s Bluegrass Country’s friend, Fred Bartenstein served as the Master of Ceremonies and started the show with a talented young clogging team, Barry Lanham’s Foot Stompin’ Express. Then came Mike Snider’s String Band. I don’t know whether to describe him as a fantastic musician or a stand-up comedian. He’s both. He told some hilarious stories (usually about his wife, “Sweetie”) between songs. He was a real crowd pleaser.
After a short intermission it was time for Marty Stuart and The Fabulous Superlatives. I should say it was time for the FABULOUS Marty Stuart. What a set those hillbilly hipsters put on. “Handsome Harry” was on drums, and “Cousin Kenny” wowed us with his guitar playing. They covered every musical base from gospel to rockabilly. The audience brought them back for an encore of three more songs. FABULOUS!!!!!
Then it was time for the set this old Del-Head was waiting for: The Del McCoury Band and they played all the audience’s favorites — High on the Mountaintop, Vincent Black Lightning, Cheek to Cheek with the Blues and more. They asked Marty Stuart to come out for a mandolin duet with Ronnie. They burned their way through “Bluegrass Breakdown.” Then the IBMMuseum’s executive director, Gabrielle Gray, brought out a new exhibit: Uncle Pen’s fiddle. Yes, the fiddle that Bill Monroe made famous in the song will now be on display at the museum. Gabrielle played along with the band for a few measures and then bowed off stage.
After the show, in true bluegrass fashion, the bands stayed for “shake and howdy” time with all the fans and friends. And since it’s a gathering of bluegrass pioneers, there were a lot of those on hand. What a great night it was.
8:05 am CT, Thursday
My traveling companions are Pete and Kitsy Kuykendall. Pete is the publisher of Bluegrass Unlimited and Kitsy is on the International Bluegrass Music Museum board of directors. In addition to enjoying being with long-time friends, I am benefiting from all their bluegrass knowledge, but that’s a story for another entry.
Tonight we’re attending a ceremony where the bronze plaques for Bluegrass Hall of Fame inductees Bill Clifton and Charles K. Wolfe will be unveiled. Pete wanted to wear something special for the party and bought a pair of vintage (read previously owned) spectator shoes at an antique store in Virginia. There was a small problem with one of the buckles so he was really glad to see a sign advertising “Raines Shoe Hospital” in downtown Owensboro. He said we wouldn’t believe the place or the owner so, of course, Kitsy and I had to see it, too.
Don Raines, who I call the Shoe Doctor, runs the place now but it was started by his father a long, long, long time ago. And Don likes the store just the way his dad left it. Even if you don’t need your shoes repaired, it’s worth a visit to see all the antique toys, Christmas decorations, etc. he has there. His telephone is an old model used by the electric company lineman made famous by the Glen Campbell song, “I Am a Lineman for the County.” The phone company has offered to update it but Don likes that old dial phone.
He showed me a tool that he uses to put a metal tip on the end of a shoelace. That saves his customers the price a new pair of shoelaces. He keeps all that in a wooden CUBAN cigar box, which he said his father bought when it was legal to have Cuban cigars.
Don Raines tells great stories about the town and its residents. Be sure to visit him sometime: Raines Shoe Hospital, 333 Frederica Street, Owensboro, Kentucky