I was one of many Yankees who got turned on to bluegrass when it added its surging energy and “high-lonesome” sound to the Folk Music Revival of the 1960s.
Since then, I’ve contributed my singing and mandolin playing to numerous bands, other peoples’ and my own.
Of all the ensembles I’ve led, my favorite came together several years ago when I had an administrative day job at Princeton University.
By incredibly good fortune (but I’d like to think there are no “accidental” meetings, especially for the good) I connected with then-Geosciences graduate student Sean Long (vocals/guitar).
After just one great-fun, everything-clicked jam session, Sean and I formed Prospect Crossing (named after a famous street running through campus).
We quickly recruited two amazingly gifted undergrads — Brittany Haas (fiddle, now a busy Nashville-based show and session player) and Theo Beers (bass, now a PhD candidate specializing in Persian literature at University of Chicago).
Later, we were joined by a New Jersey bluegrass and contra dance music comrade of mine, veteran multi-instrumentalist Paul Prestopino.
We’ve all gone on to other things. (Sean’s now an Associate Professor at Washington State University.) Although we never got into a recording studio, we captured Prospect Crossing during some memorable live performances, some of which I hope to release on CD.
Meanwhile, here we are (via YouTube) at a Princeton University variety show, performing the classic “Blue and Lonesome,” co-written by “Father of Bluegrass” Bill Monroe and country music legend Hank Williams.