Seasons Changing, Bringing Gratitude & New Adventures - 9/28/2017

As we traveled to the IBMA World of Bluegrass Convention in Raleigh yesterday I began to think about what this time of year means to me. The colors are beginning to change and crops, if not already cleared from the the land, will very soon be. I love this time of the year--always have.

Growing up on a dairy farm our work was never completely finished. A farmer has daily chores that set the day's rhythm, but the seasons bring their own set of tasks too. And no season does that quite like summer. In the summer the days are long, the mornings early and work that needs to be done is everywhere.  It seems like every minute not spent doing chores is filled with more work. 

So the shorter and usually cooler days of late September bring a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and what I now know as reflection. As a young farmer I could see the hay in the barn, the corn bagged and firewood stacked neatly next to the house. I could see what we had done and felt good about it. But I also knew that tomorrow would bring more work and a new set of seasonal tasks, and I couldn't simply rest on what I'd done today. The greatest life lesson from the greatest man I'll ever know, my father.

Our approach to work hasn't changed that much. Though we now plow a different kind of field the ethic from the farm remains. We've been honored by our peers in the IBMA with several awards over the years and are in the running again this year. For that we are truly thankful, but know tomorrow and the days that follow will find us back at work. 

Maybe it's because I started in this life as a farmer that I feel more rewarded by a sense of work ethic than anything else. Nothing feels as right as working hard towards something that will benefit my family and others. And I think because my father held neighbors who worked hard in such high esteem that I recognize that in others and am drawn towards it now in music. I admire other musicians who grind out a living on the road. It's not easy, trust me, and not for everyone. When I see an artist that works hard all the time like Sierra Hull, Rhonda Vincent or the Kruger Brothers I have to tip my cap. All of them would certainly be successful at whatever they tried but choose to do what they love and the rest of us are better for it.

It's not just musicians I admire. I've worked with engineers like Ben Surratt and Dave Sinko that have more stamina than I can fathom. Neither seems to tire on a console and are first to the studio and last to leave. Thank you boys for that. 

We've been blessed to be around the likes of Barry Poss, Bev Paul and Ken Irwin to name a few- record executives that care enough to both support and challenge their artists to further the music. I'm thankful to have worked with you all.

And none of us would still be here playing music without the work of promoters. From DA Callaway to Candi Sawyer to countless others I thank you. You've built the stage we present our music and ourselves from. Thank you for being in the business that keeps us in business.

I need to specifically thank Norman Adams, who for nearly fifty years has successfully brought good people together to enjoy good music. I can't imagine where anyone in our industry would be without your impact. You should be an IBMA hall of famer simply on the merit of how many people you've exposed to Bluegrass through your tireless work of creating and presenting festivals. My dad would have respected you, sir, and I do very much.

This was meant to be quick but I guess I was more thankful than I even knew and it's a long ride. Can't wait to see you all in Raleigh.

- Leigh