There is always a story to tell and usually there are many stories that blend together to make up a story. Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. So I'll go ahead and start this at the beginning.
The time frame is late eighties or early nineties. I am almost thiry, married, three kids, with a job at the grocery store. I am also a guitar player. Not a good guitar player but I have taken a few lessons and I really love playing the guitar. I want to get better. I want to play in a band or at least play with other musicians.
I read in the paper about a bluegrass event at 45th and Shawnee Heights Road. Bring your instrument and come out and play. It was on Sunday afternoon from 1-6. So I take my guitar and off I go. It was in an old one room school house. It had a stage at the front and the rest was just a big room. This was where the bands would get up and play songs for a small crowd of other musicians and their wives and families. That was great, it was an audience.
This one room school house also had a basement. There would be different groups of musicians playing in each group. Usually they had a couple guitar player, a fiddle player, maybe a banjo player and if you were lucky you might even have a bass player.
They would go around the circle and when it was your turn, you got to pick the song that you were going to sing and play. You would also get to pick the key that you would be playing the song in. I wasn't very good so mostly I just played along with others and also I knew that I wasn't and didn't want to be the singer.
The basement was loud and confusing. You had three or four different bands playing different songs in different keys as the music echoed off the concrete walls. It was not pretty to listen to. If you were lucky and the weather was nice you could go outside and play. In Kansas, in the late fall and winter, that wasn't the way it worked out.
I never became a member of a bluegrass band from this experience. I knew that I didn't quite fit in. Bluegrass and banjos was not my perferred music. I was more into the Eagles, CCR, a little country and some rock.
I did get up one time and play a song that I wrote. It was an Alabama song called Feels so Right. I had changed the lyrics, but not the title. I wrote my own lyrics. It was a song about going through my divorce and how I felt bad to feel good. That didn't make sense to me. I got closer to the Lord during this time of hardship. And even though it was difficult, I was okay with it.
Other folks from the group would go on to form bands, play together and go out and play events. This small group was the beginning of the Kansas Prairie Pickers Association. It was a group that promoted bluegrass music in the north east part of Kansas.
I knew that I wanted to be on stage and play but it never worked out for me at this stage in my musical journey. (to be continued)