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Butler Ice Jam

Posted by pawoodwkr on Saturday, January 14, 2012

Went to the January Ice Jam at the Days Inn on Rt 8 last nite. Got home too late to post. Let me say this is THE place for Pa Bluegrass music! Best part was meeting the ones that had their room doors open before they took to the stage at 7 PM. Was fortunate enough to meet one Bert Cochran, an excellent picker in the Earl Scruggs tradition. Was walking by a room and heard a few riffs of "Cripple Creek" which I just learned but was looking for tips to get that "bounce" exactly right. He was playing a very ornate banjo that had "every autograph but Earl's" according to its owner, on the head. Bert then invited me bac to his room to show me some more on his own instrument, a 1989 Gibson re-issue. In the room was Juanita, who sang and played guitar. Then in came Jim with a fine Fender accoustic, and Dayton from West Va with his fiddle. Terry, with his 4 string electric bass showed up next, with amplifier in tow. His guitar was highly worn above the upper pick-up and into the neck from his constant "slap slap" style. Bert launched in to "Cripple Creek" and everyone joined in. Lord, it was Heaven! I was almost overwhelmed, for it was like nothing I'd ever experience before. I got in close to keep a watchful eye on Bert's right hand to see how he was doing the 2-4 third string slide. Then Juanita sang "Burning Old Love Letters", followed by Lee Sparks' "Love of the Mountains" (Two Trees). Dayton got to play his fiddle on Kenny Baker's "Washington County". I think "Salt Creek" was next, with each player intuitively knowing when to take their turn. I stood their totally entrawlled for over an hour. My God, these guys were good!

Not wanting wear out my welcome, I walked down to one of the Jam Rooms the Inn had dedicated and as luck would have it enjoyed two ladies playng guitars and singing "Hobo Heaven" accompanied on mandolin played expertly by Charlie Rappaport. They followed that with Dolly Parton's "Coat of Many Colors". Even as many times as I've heard it, I bearly made it through without crying.

By 6:30, figured I better get over to the ballroom where the acts would be performing and was fortunate to see "Bits N Pieces" rehearsing. So many great bands, so many great banjo pickers. Must confess, I didn't know if I left inspired, or more prone to give it up completely, that's how good they all were. But most I'd like to thank Bert for including me in on what was a truly unforgettable experience.

1 comment on “Butler Ice Jam”

LNP Says:
Sunday, January 15, 2012 @3:04:18 PM

I was there too. I wonder how many hangout members were there. Larry

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