WNCBluegrass.com Some banjo lore I thought you'd like to read about. July 19, 2015, 5:08 pm
TO ALL FANS: thanks for making this happen, for if you had not given me .. and NGDB.. a 'following, this would not have happened..:
Even after 45 years of showbiz, You never know who’s going to call…
It was one of the strangest calls ever; also, one of the most welcome, though sad. Finding out I had made someone’s life more fun, and brought feelings and moments of inspiration, was rewarding. The caller said this man, who had influenced myself and my children for 35 years, was someone who “always wanted to meet me” and was a fan of all my solo recordings. The caller was his wonderful wife, Russi.
Wayne Allwine, the voice of Mickey Mouse for 35 years, , married Russi, who does the voice of Minnie (they met when she auditioned 30 years ago – she got the job. They married two years later). Wayne was also ‘the heart and soul of the mouse’… and some have said over the years the mouse made the man. It was known that he knew the right things that Mickey would or should not say, and his judgment was always deferred to in those cases. when “Mickey wouldn’t say that.” Wayne would not say “hey, dudes,” etc., even if it were in the script of what that day’s job was. Mickey wouldn’t be heard saying it if Wayne did not think it was right.
It became clear why we always felt comfortable when kids were listening to what Mickey had to say. With no color, ethnic, political, nor age boundaries, life and happiness was for all. Wayne played the banjo (and many other instruments).
Shocked that after all those teenage years working in Disneyland I am now talking to one of the voices I had heard everywhere, she continued.
Why she called was Wayne had passed away a few days prior to her call, and she wanted me to play his banjo at his burial service, and possibly do a few songs from the “Circle” album. I gladly accepted this honor during that first phone call, and marveled, as she spoke with grace in the present tense, of how much Wayne will love this; as she continued, she started sounding more and more like Minnie Mouse.
Two days later, it was a happy group of co-workers and family gathered around the peaceful grounds of Forest Lawn that Sunday., The words and stories about this man brought smiles, with tears both happy and sad, to the group of about 45 people, all honoring a man who had been an inspiration in life and how to live it, one who saw the humor where others may not have, one who treated all people as friends. A life like his, I was thinking, is how I want to live.
I was proud to have my 40 year old daughter Noel there, as she had a bedroom with everything Mickey in it. Her husband to be once told me he didn’t know if he was marrying a mouse or a woman. And, this crowd approved 100% of the small tattoo on her back shoulder: Steamboat Willie. I even did this time. I played my 20 minute requested set, and as it ended with everyone singing Circle it reminded me of playing that song at my mother’s memorial… her request too.
Then came ‘the time’: Russi said “John, it’s time to play the song”. Using Wayne’s long-neck banjo in C Tuning, I started a slow version of the famed Mickey Mouse song.. the 2nd time though the gathered surrounded the grave site, singing as Mickey’s…or Wayne’s… casket was lowered in to the ground. With the chorus by the voices of Donald Duck, Pluto, Gonzo, Kermit and others, as it went down, and the words ‘‘see you real soon’ by the whole group was followed by Minnie ‘why? because we love you’. There ‘wasn’t a dry eye in the house’. All were happy to be there and sad to see him go. This was the most moving use of music I have ever been involved in.
Everyone marveled at the 24 doves, released a pair at a time, that all circled the area once then flew over Walt’s crypt on their way home.
Later someone said that I put the fun back in funeral.
John McEuen More info
WNCBluegrass.com Reminder Asheville's ShinDig on Green is tomorrow night! July 10, 2015, 4:47 pm
Sultry days and nights fill with free music shows, ticketed concerts and mountain dance. More info
Shindig on the Green and the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival Visit post Happy Independence Day, folks! We are taking a break from Shindig on the Green this weekend to make way for all of the 4th of July activities downtown - but we'll be back next Saturday, July 11th. In the meantime, have a fun and safe weekend! (Photo: "American Banjo" by Kristie Bonnewell, fineartamerica.com)
Gary Reid The North Carolina Stage Company in Asheville is presenting five performances of "A Life of Sorrow - the Life and Times of Carter Stanley" from August 12 thru August 16 (Wed thru Sat @ 7:30 and Sun @ 2:30). As one half of the legendary Stanley Brothers duo, Carter Stanley helped to lay the foundations of what is today known as bluegrass. He played the music, he wrote the songs, and... he self-destructed. Gone from the music scene for nearly 50 years, "A Life of Sorrow" gives today's audiences a chance to connect with a bluegrass legend. For a brief overview, check out the following YouTube clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjEQy-BcKW8 July 4, 2015, 5:29 pm
WNCBluegrass.com Remember! As you start going to jams and festivals remember thieves WILL break into your car, trunk, trailer -- or just pick up your instrument and just all off with it.
Fans, if you see something strange happening, let somebody know asap. June 13, 2015, 3:29 pm
Stacey Wright The Kevin Prater Band from Belcher, KY. will be at Younts Center for Performing Arts in Fountain Inn, SC on Saturday July 18. Doors open at 5:00 pm and show at 6:00 pm. On Sunday July 19, we will be at Feed and Seed in Fletcher, NC. at the 11:00 am Church Service. Come join us for great Traditional Bluegrass and Gospel Music. More information at www.thekevinpraterband.com . June 8, 2015, 6:19 pm
Elizabeth Munns Hello there! A Parks and Recreation Management class at Western Carolina University is trying to put together a contra dance on April 16 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM. We are currently looking for a band to play the dance, and willing to pay for a reasonable price! Please private message/comment if you could point me in the right direction of a band (we are located in Cullowhee, NC). Thank you! March 27, 2015, 2:01 pm
Buy tickets for BrewGrass 2015 at Memorial Stadium- Brewgrass Festival from Etix More info
WNCBluegrass.com Bands. I will be updating the bands and venues page once again. I am looking into supporting bands which use BandInTown calendars and display part of their schedule on wncbluegrass.com site AND the bands' site AND post to Facebook.
Let me know if you've had good bad or indifferent experiences! January 17, 2015, 11:48 pm
WNCBluegrass.com -- Connecting Bluegrass Fans with Western North Carolina Bands! More info