There aren’t enough days in the month for bluegrass, but this is how it is now:
From January on for the rest of 2015 (at least), you can hear local bluegrass performed by Brunswick resident Eric Knowles (formerly of ClearSpring) and friends from around here at Beans in the Belfry on the Second and Fourth Thursday from 7 to 9pm. It makes for a relaxing evening with good harmonies, deft picking and fine fellowship. You can get supper there as well, such as homemade beef stew, chili with corn muffins, hot grilled paninis and more.
On the First Thursday of the month, from 6:30 to 9pm, Bobby Bales of the Grassy Ridge and Claude Jones will host an Open Bluegrass Jam. The first day will be Thursday, February 5! This is what Lisa Proulx writes in the local newspaper The Brunswick Citizen: “ Known as a bluegrass legend, musician Bobby Bales began playing guitar at the tender age of 12 by watching other people play. Today, that passion for music is still alive and well…. His first gig was with the Country Diamonds when one of the band members was Ernie Bradley. He went on to play with Bob Duley and the Country Stars, South Mash Band, Southern Itch, The Cando Band and others. Most recently, for twelve years, he was with Bad Moon Rising Band and King Street Bluegrass. After all these years, he has come full circle and is back playing music with Ernie Bradley.”
Also sponsoring this event will be musician/manager/sound engineer/promoter Claude Jones. Says Claude, “Bluegrass music is a very welcoming culture for people to just come out and jam.” Bobby agrees, “Bluegrass incorporates families, is multi-generational and it nurtures musicians of all ages.” Bobby, a native of Maryland, lives in Brunswick and has one son, Justin, who is also into music… He enjoys “jamming” as often as possible and lends his special talent to many different genres. His moto is “If it ain’t fund – don’t do it!”
And that’s not all: on Second and Fifth Sunday, from 3 to 5pm, is another Open Bluegrass Jam lead by Claude Jones. Here is how Juliana Jones describes her experience of the Sunday Open Bluegrass Jam on March 10, 2013:
It was a fine afternoon at Beans in the Belfry. Ernie Bradley from Grassy Ridge, in the black hat on banjo, de facto led us; his brother, directly behind Claude Jones, Randy Leith, played terrific resonator guitar; to the left, Eric Knowles from Clearspring played banjo and guitar (that’s his son peering up from behind the couch); Roger Worthington from Hagerstown is on the bass; that’s Linda Adkins on fiddle; Mike Ward is in the white Tee with his back to us; Josh Ungar is next to him on mandolin and next to him is Jason Hannan also of Clearspring who played guitar – there were a couple more guitar players not seen in this photo, Jerry Swope out of Hagerstown, and a newer player who’s name escapes at the moment.
Are you new to bluegrass? It’s derived from Bill Monroe’s ‘Blue Grass Boys’ and his home in the Bluegrass State of Kentucky. It’s a version of the ballads that were brought to Appalachia from the Scottish, Irish and Welsh and then fused with African American jazz, to make it a unique American genre of music. Hear it from Bill Monroe himself: “It’s Scottish bagpipes and ole-time fiddlin’. It’s Methodist and Holiness and Baptist. It’s blues and jazz, and it has a high lonesome sound.”
Join the jams or plan to listen. Come hungry and thirsty because Beans in the Belfry serves terrific eats that you can pair them with a local beer or glass of red wine. Get yummy desserts too and the best espresso or latte in around!