My Dad was in the Army when I was born and my mother and I lived with my Father’s parents. I’ve often thought this shaped my musical tastes. They had a large ’78 collection of Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs and Roy Acuff, and they listened to this music all of the time. They also had a big Airline radio that I still have , that they listened to the Opry and radio programs of the mid ’50’s. Growing up in Columbus , we used to go to the Brown County Jamboree in Bean Blossom ,Indiana to see the shows they had on Sundays. So I saw a lot of Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, and tons of Opry acts there. My Dad had bands around the area so I remember lots of musicians coming by to pick around the house with my Dad and myself.
I started playing guitar and dobro (actually Hawaiian music on electric slide guitars). I really got inspired to play steel guitar, but my dad didn’t want to spring for the money to buy a pedal steel until he saw I was going to stick with it. I’d seen Buddy Emmons with Ray Price at the Crump Theatre in Columbus and just went crazy over his playing. So I started taking steel lessons from Tom Pickett in Columbus.
Along about this time I heard Earl Scruggs’ Mercury Recording of Foggy Mountain Breakdown. I thought (still do) it was the greatest thing I had ever heard, and I just had to have a banjo. So I got a banjo and started learning everything I could get my hands on of Earl’s music.
In the mid 60’s I started playing guitar and piano and organ in some of the rock bands around Columbus , then started playing with Don Davis’ bluegrass band when I was a teenager. I met Roger Smith, an ex-Bluegrass Boy who had moved to southern Indiana to work with Monroe at Bean Blossom and had stayed there. He showed me a lot about fiddling and banjo playing, and was like a time capsule. He played just like had in the ’50’s and was a really good person to learn stuff from.
So I’m going along playing several different instruments ’till a fateful day in 1971. My Dad and I went to Bean Blossom for a Sunday show, really to see Ralph Stanley. Monroe was on the show, but we’d seen Bill so many time when Bill came on we were actually leaving. I got to the back of the place by the concession stand when they kicked into Uncle Penn. What happened next would forever change my life …Kenny Baker was playing fiddle and I thought it was the best thing I’d ever heard. He had such a great tone and just enough blues to go that stately sense of phrasing.
I’d been ruined. From that moment on I threw myself headlong into being a Professional Fiddler. Glen Duncan’s website.