Butch rented a beautiful loghouse near a lake in Draper Virginia, where we stayed for the first week. We did bandrehearsals there. Liz, our cook/masseuse provided us with all sorts of healthy foods and Bruce the chiropractor kept us in shape. There was also plenty to drink and every night guests came over to keep us company. One time someone brought a boat for us to take a trip up the lake, which was truely beautiful:
Butch wanted us to record a few tunes for a souvenir-CD for the folks to buy. He wrote a Christmas song and an instrumental for this. For the third song he wanted us all to join in for ‘Will the circle be unbroken’. It wasn’t the usual version, but the version the Monroe Brothers recorded, which is all different. Tim White of the VW Boys came along and brought a guitar which once belonged to Jimmie Rodgers. He let us record with it, which was wonderful:
The first gig was in a beautiful barn behind Rockwood Manor in Dublin, Virginia. Betsy Mabry and Tommy Edwards, who did most of the tourmanaging for us, put up all sorts of decorations, together with a whole team of volunteers, and made the barn look really beautiful. About 500 people showed up which was really good, especially for a Wednesdaynight. The folks were really enthousiastic and the first ever gig of the World International Blue Grass Band was a huge succes altogether. The next day there were some really good reviews in the newspapers.
The next gig was at a school in Richlands, Virginia. By then Swedish fiddler Jan Johanssen had to go back to his home in North Carolina because of his health. Luckily he joined us again for the last gig in Marion, Virginia a week and a half later. The Australian fiddler Hamish Davidson went to Kentucky and decided he wouldn’t come down to Virginia for this performance, so Butch called around and got us another Australian fiddler who lives in North Carolina. He did a fine job and the international character of the band remained intact.
Then we went on to Nashville, Tennessee for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s festivalweek. We had rooms at the Hilton and at the Renaissance hotels, but mostly hung around our suite on 24th floor at the Renaissance, where many musicians dropped by for wonderful sessions (such as Buddy Spicher, Mike Compton and David Grier). Also Aaron Till joined the band with his girlfriend Tabea from Switzerland. About every day throughout the week there were showcases which the World International Blue Grass Band opened and closed most of the time. Butch also organised a few international ‘Monroe-jams’.
Then fanfest started and the World International Blue Grass Band was given the honour to open that. Unfortunately Aaron and Tabea couldn’t make it, but we got helped out by Kathy Chiavola and everything worked out fine.
For the last gig we had to go back to Virginia. We were going to perform for a tv-show called ‘Song of the Mountains’, hosted by Tim White. The Lincoln Theatre is really a beautiful theatre and the place was packed when we came on. The show was a huge succes; especially our rendition of Bill Monroe’s mandolin-instrumental ‘Raw Hide’ brought the house down. About every member of the audience came to shake our hands after the show. It was a wonderful last gig of a wonderful tour. Special thanks to Betsy, Tommy, Liz, Bruce and all the friends who came to see us. And last but not least, special thanks to Butch Robins for putting it all together and making a few dreams come true!