I fell under the spell of bluegrass music long before the Coen brothers' O Brother, Where Art Thou? I was 9 and riding with my grandpa through the pinewood forests surrounding Hot Springs, Arkansas. Grandpa was running errands. I was tagging along. He slid a cassette into the tape player, and the truck's cab filled with the high, lonesome mountain-blues sound of Bill Monroe's plaintive voice accompanied by a banjo, mandolin and fiddle. I started tapping my foot. Grandpa noticed. He asked if I liked the music. I answered yes. That year, grandpa took me to my first bluegrass festival, and I've loved the music ever since. Today, the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation kicks off their First Annual Bluegrass Heritage Festival in Arlington at the South Oaks Baptist Church, 5925 Highway 287. A dozen bands are scheduled to perform. The festival starts at noon, but show up early for "jamming under the old oak trees." Tickets are $18 in advance or $20 at the door. Children 12 and younger are free. For tickets, or more information, visit bluegrassheritage.org.
Sat., Sept. 6, noon, 2008