From the time I was two years old until I was nine, we lived in River Rouge, Michigan a suburb to Detroit’s immediate south. That covered the span beginning in 1967 until December of 1974.
My Dad & Mom, Tracy & Joyce Shetley Tweed, were both music lovers. Dad was really big into Bluegrass, Jim Reeves & Merle Haggard while Mom liked traditional Rock & Roll and Female Country Artists such as Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn and Donna Fargo.
Needless to say, my musical tastes are all over the place due to the variations of sounds I heard growing up. I like everything from Elvis Pressley, Ernest Tubb & The Stanley Brothers all the way to Creedence Clearwater Revival, ZZ Top, The Eagles, Metallica and The Offspring.
Dad & Mom had an RCA standup console stereo with a record turntable and radio in our two bedroom apartment.
Mom was a member of one of the record clubs, so the stream of music never stopped entering our house.
However, my tastes were not always so diverse.
Dad frequented the bars in town which were only a couple of blocks away.
Just as surely as the sun had rose that morning, you could bet that when Dad returned home after partaking in one of his hangouts he would break out the stack off 33 RPM albums.
It was almost always Bluegrass, with his favorites being The Stanley Brothers, Don Reno, The Osborne Brothers, Flatt & Scruggs as well as healthy dose of The Chuck Wagon Gang.
As Mom had introduced me to Elvis, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino & Jerry Lee Lewis, I thought Dad’s taste in musical fare was absolutely horrible at the time.
I hated to see him coming because I knew it was going to be endless hours of musical infusion.
Little did I know at the time he was doing me a huge favor.
As I got older, my musical tastes changed as I became disgusted with the establishment and in my thirties, I “discovered” Bluegrass music.
Now, living in Madison County is a fiddle player named Bobby Hicks. Not just any old fiddle player mind you, but Bobby Hicks.
For those not in the know, Bobby was THE fiddle player for Bill Monroe from 1954 until 1960. Later on, Mr. Hicks became THE fiddle player for Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder.
Well, Bobby had decided that he was going to put on a concert for his 80th Birthday on Blannahassett Island in downtown Marshall…..for FREE!!
I wasn’t about to miss that one!
The day of the concert could not have been better with breaking clouds and a soft breeze.
The show was opened my local folk legend Joe Penland before Bobby Hicks and his group took over.
Early in the set, I noticed a big tour bus roll in in. I was aware of what was going on, as it was one of the worst kept secrets in Madison County history; Except for Bobby Hicks. He didn’t know what was coming.
In the middle of a tune, you could see the wonderment and surprise in his eyes as the crowd rose to their feet and a huge roar went up.
Bobby looked over his left shoulder to see bluegrass legends Del McCoury, Jerry McCoury, J.D. Crowe & Bobby Osborne walking up the stage steps!
The show was absolutely fantastic, with Bobby Osborne even doing a rendition of “Ruby”, his signature song.
Afterwards, the group welcomed fans, signing autographs and taking photographs.
The photographs I took that day are not great either but document how far I have come in my photography exploration.
Looking back now, my dad had given me a love of art and the greatest musical gift.
It even came with bows; The ones used on fiddles by Bobby Hicks, Vassar Clements, Chubby Wise and others on their fiddles.
However, by introducing me to our Appalachian Culture and Music at such an early age, dad had served as my greatest musical influence.
Y’all have a great week!