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Friday, October 15, 2010


l to r: ernest joines, billy dancy, charlie edwards, gary joines

This evening was practice for the Hillbilly Show tomorrow night in Sparta. It's a great deal of fun for all concerned. We have a country band with Joe Irwin, who is running for County Commissioner as an Independent, singing 2 Johnny Cash songs. His voice naturally sings like JohnnyCash, so it's easy for him. Kermit Pruitt played electric guitar with him. Tomorrow night Kermit will lip-sync two George Jones songs. Audience loves George Jones and Kermit too. Lynn Worth and her feller, Eddie Bakeberg, ended the show with him playing guitar and Lynn playing banjo and singing Sixteen Chickens and a Tambourine very well.

It was fun for me to be among the bunch of people that were there, the people of BROC in the county, Blue Ridge Opportunity Commission. Our branch of BROC is the Alleghany Planning Committee. It's about a dozen of us. I like them an awful lot. What we do is what I believe churches are here to do, but they don't, for the most part. We raise money with the Hillbilly Show to give scholarships, pay electric bills and fuel bills for people who are not able, the general purpose being to help people of the county having a rough go of it. We have Hospice now because the medical community does not value the human touch. In like manner, we have BROC because churches don't do much to help the poor.

Over the last 5 years, the show has been getting better every year. There is no time wasted between skits anymore and the performers get better every year too. The music is always good. Ernest Joines plays mandolin, Billy Dancy banjo, Charlie Edwards guitar and vocals, and Gary Joines, bass, as The Darlings, the band on the Andy Griffith Show. A skit around the Andy Griffith Show happens when Jean Osborne sings and plays Charlene. When she's done with the song, I'm to run out as Ernest T Bass and talk to Charlene the way Ernest T does and chase her around until she runs off the stage. I wasn't sure I could let go of inhibition long enough to do what Agnes wanted me to do. However, as soon as it started, it was on. I can act stupid. That's what's called method acting where you be yourself. Like African Americans play African Americans well, I play stupid well. I just cut loose and got stupid.

It strikes me funny that we go through our days tying not to let stupid show, keep it hidden from self, and for self it's all denial. Naw I aint stupid. I'm just dumber'n shit. I like what Lao Tzu wrote, "Not-knowing is true knowledge. Presuming to know is a disease." That being the case, I'm overflowing with true knowledge. Since I've witnessed fluid mind's uncertainty every day of my life and watched mind abandon Jr Maxwell who had a brilliant mind, fast, good at figuring things out. He made his own capos of aluminum and black tape in his tractor repair shop. They worked so well for him, he wouldn't have a bought one. And I'm right there with presuming to know is a disease. It throws me back to school days, learning to affect the appearance of knowing, learning to sound like I know what I'm talking about. Learning that it's important to sound credible is a game of appearance. The appearance of knowing what we're talking about is something we study young that becomes incredibly important.

I love it on NPR, All Things Considered news always consults an "expert" in a given field. A guy told me one day he wanted to interview me on film because I'm an expert on mountain music. That one made me jump in alarm. I told him I'm not an expert on anything, especially not mountain music. I can't honestly say I know anything about it. I know who a lot of the musicians were and are, the names of a lot of tunes, but that's not knowing anything about it. People that know mountain music are people like Ralph Stanley and they can't tell you anything about it, because they are it.

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