October newsletter-with remembrance of Bill Richardson

--Tellico at Highland Brewing September 2014 AKA toddler fall floor-rolling kidfest complete with trippy light show and fog machine
October Newsletter

September has been a poignant month, as it always is, signaling the changes that come with the end of summer. We started off with a wonderful show in Winston-Salem for the Fiddle and Bow Society. We were so honored to play for such a committed community of music lovers in an organization that has been working at promoting acoustic/traditional music since 1981! Their volunteer staff were so welcoming and supportive, and the crowd was fantastic. They put a great calendar of events together and it's definitely worth the trip to Winston to check out a show! More info at www.fiddleandbow.org.

On the way home from that show, I learned that a member of the old-time community in my hometown of Blacksburg, Va had falling ill and was in palliative care. I got to thinking on the drive back that, if it hadn't been for Bill Richardson, I don't think I would be playing music today. I was living in California when I came home for a visit at Christmas of 2002. I heard Bill's country swing band "F150" playing and was just so taken with the music, I can still remember how big an impression it made on me. As a kid, I sang and played violin and guitar, but hadn't touched an instrument in like 10 years. Somehow seeing him up there playing, I guess I just couldn't imagine anything more fun than being a fiddler in a country band.

After that, I brought my fiddle back to California with me and started studying bluegrass fiddle, taking lessons and going to jams and parties and festivals with the Northern California Bluegrass Association folks. But when the opportunity to come back to Blacksburg presented itself I jumped at the chance, I just wanted to get back closer to the music. THE music. And so when I moved back to Blacksburg I started going to all the jams, festivals, and fiddler's conventions with my singing partner Jackson Cunningham, now of Whitetop, Va.
--Bill Richardson, fiddler for The Jugbusters, Blacksburg, Va

When it became obvious that Bill was going to die, the old time list serve sent out an email saying that Bill wanted everyone to come and see him and bring an instrument. What transpired from there was so beautiful it made the front page of the Roanoke Times (our regional newspaper). Click to read about the "Sick No More" Jam for Bill.

I cancelled a few things to go home during the gatherings following Bill's death to reconnect with some of the folks from the old time community that  are keeping old time music and dance alive in Southwest Virginia. They were so supportive and encouraging of my music with Jackson during the year we started performing and went on to record a cd of old time duets together through The Crooked Road Virginia Music Heritage Trail, my first project.  

Bill's passing was a chance to remember that community is really the most important thing we have. It gives us a chance to give, to receive, to have fun, to forget we are lonely, and to build things together. I wanted to dedicate this newsletter to the memory of Bill, for his lifelong work at appreciating, preserving and playing the music of the region, for inspiring myself and many others, and for the amazing community he helped create that gathered around him at the end to celebrate his life and work.

boots at jamming at hippie jacks
boots at Jamming at Hippie Jack's Fall Festival

All this thinking about community came full circle at Jammin' at Hippie Jack's fall music festival, where we had a wonderful inaugural appearance as Tellico at a festival that has supported our music since Dehlia Low performed there in 2009. As I mentioned in the previous newsletter, Hippie Jack has a fantastic festival every spring and fall at his farm in middle Tennessee and, among the many wonderful things about it, the most special and unique part is the community. While there are always great new entertainers to the stage, he brings his favorite acts back time and time again so that, over the years, the fans and artists get to know each other. The fans love seeing the artists as new albums come out, new configurations are formed, etc, and we have a chance to make personal connections in a way that doesn't normally happen at most festivals. Coming back from the festival this year was rejuvenating, reassuring, inspiring. And it didn't hurt to hear a couple of amazing hours of music with Darrell Scott! Put it on your bucket list. It's a lot cheaper than the Inca Trail!

If you are still reading, thank you, thank you for being a part of our music and our community. And for the communities you are part of, yes! Get it, get it, get more of it!

Happy fall...and...by the way, please come out to a show this month! Click here for our schedule!

Thurs       Oct 16     The Purple Onion          Saluda NC
Friday      Oct 17     French Broad Brewery  Asheville NC
Friday      Oct 24     Jack of the Wood          Asheville NC

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