I mentioned a band “Shagbark Hickory” in “How to Train a Sound Tech.” Here’s another “Shagbark” story…
When I sat in with them they played a bluegrass standard “Blackberry Blossom.” Onstage communication was the best I’d ever worked with.
However, when “Blackberry Blossom” would come up I would opt out because I hadn’t worked out a solo for it yet. It’s a complex sounding song but is based on a simple descending scale.
Their pedal steel player, Tom Webb and I, liked to needle each other a bit and one night, as Florie started the song Tom leaned back and said, “You gonna play it tonight?”
“Naw, I don’t think so.” I said.
Tom leaned back again and with a twinkle and a grin said, “Jerry DOUGLAS can play it!”
That did it!
So when Florie made eye contact asking if I wanted in, I dove into the tune and, if I say so myself, pulled it off quite handily. I still play pretty much the same break when called on to do that song and think of those guys every time I play it…
To this day I still haven’t had the opportunity to hear the Jerry Douglas version.