Get ready for the foot-stomping music of Kenny Hall
Special to The Union
A few years ago while cutting my teeth on old time music and bluegrass, I was camped out at the Nevada County Fairgrounds for a week of pickin’ under the pines during the annual Fathers Day Bluegrass Festival.
One evening Al Ferguson, the old banjo player who introduced me to traditional music, said, “Hey, Kenny Hall’s here. I played with him this afternoon, and he’s hosting a jam at the Wine Pavilion tonight. Let’s go.”
Now, I had heard the name before, and Al said he was an Old Time Music Legend, so we lit outta camp and jumped on the chance.
No one but Kenny and his young understudy, Morgan Meadows on fiddle, was at the Wine Pavilion. We skipped the formalities of introductions and immediately started tuning our instruments from the warm day’s sun.
Kenny, blind from birth, right away hollers at Jonathan, our guitar player, “Bring them fifth and sixth strings up. They’re way off.”
“Well, I got this special tuning to go with the banjo,” Jonathan tried to explain.
“Why would you wanna tune a guitar like that?” argued Kenny.
“Well, it just works” resigned Jonathan.
“OK then. Here we go. ‘Chinquapin Huntin’ in D.”
And off we went to the rodeo, nonstop from sunset to the wee hours. The circle of musicians grew and grew, and outside the musicians were dancers, and soon the pavilion was full of utterly infectious foot-stompin’ mayhem, all powered by the driving fiddle and mandolin of the legendary Kenny Hall.
Though this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me, this is a regular occurrence for Kenny and is how he spreads the aural tradition of Old Time American Music.
We have another rare opportunity to hear Kenny Hall and his Skiffle Symphony on Saturday.
KNOW & GO
WHAT: Old Time Master Kenny Hall and his Skiffle Symphony
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Stonehouse Restaurant, Nevada City
INFORMATION: Call 265-5050
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