A word from Peter Thompson

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(Editor’s Note: We’re leaving Peter’s Welcome up another day because, even after my solemn promise to do do, yours truly forget to install links in his article. RC)

Walking the dog around the neighborhood is still allowed, and I found myself (silently) singing the old Jimmy Witherspoon blues song, “Times Getting Tougher Than Tough” throughout today’s stroll. As far as I know, there’s no bluegrass version of the song, but the sentiments apply.

Because of escalating concerns about the spread of COVID-19, there is now a “Shelter In Place” directive until April 7th for seven Bay Area counties, with more sure to follow. Along with non-essential travel, non-essential gatherings of any size are now banned, and, of course, concerts, festivals, jams, classes, and dances are deemed “non-essential.” We all know that the music IS essential, whether it be for nourishment of the soul, transportation to another reality, or income.

So how to experience it during these tough times? Online concerts and lessons, gift certificates and Patreon memberships, bandcamp and artist web sites, woodshedding and projects like Tristan Scroggins’ #quarantunechallenge, and other at-home music-related activities all can contribute to the well-being of musicians, musical pals, and ourownselves. Following bands on social media will lead you to a variety of events that can be experienced online.

This week, Nashville’s Station Inn began broadcasting shows, available to the public for free online via Station Inn TV, the Station Inn’s Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/stationinn1974), and Facebook pages of the bands. Each show will be posted with a fundraiser link for that band to raise money to help them financially survive this quarantine.

The response of quarantined Italians, some of whom are musicians, is pretty inspiring: see https://www.vox.com/culture/2020/3/13/21179293/coronavirus-italy-covid19-music-balconies-sing and https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/flashmobsonoro for some examples.

It’s also an excellent time for listening to bluegrass and old time music on the radio. I’d previously posted a list of bluegrass and old time music shows on California radio (http://www.bgsignal.com/california-radio-programs.html), but I’ve expanded the list to include an additional 10 stations plus 50 programs from around the world. This new list (http://www.bgsignal.com/turn-your-radio-on.html) is based on the recommendations of other listeners as well as my own experiences. I encourage additional suggestions via <[email protected]>, and will add them asap. Please note that some programming will not be available because of station closures or move to automation.

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology (and some dedicated station folks), Bluegrass Signal continues on KALW. Tonight’s show was recorded last week, and is a celebration of Eric Thompson’s birthday, presented by Eric and daughter Allegra Thompson. Details here: https://www.cbaweb.org/MessageBoard/Topic/88394

Elbow bump!

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