Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

I played Mike Auldridge's dobro last night

So yesterday I asked one of my friends what he was doing, and he said that while he was busy, there was gonna be a bluegrass band playing at a local restaurant at 6. So I looked it up and discovered that it was the Sabine River Bend bluegrass band, which I had seen last year, so I went. (Just to watch, the food is expensive and I’m cheap)

I arrived while they were setting up, so I went to chat with the banjo player (who’s banjo I played last year, it’s a Gibson Earl Scruggs signature :heart_eyes:) and he remembered me but not from where. Actually I talked to the dobroist first, who wasn’t with them last year when I saw them. They started out their set with a couple bluegrass standards, which was really cool, and I managed to film a little bit.
Here’s Carolina in the Pines

Which I really love.
So the band is Earl (I don’t remember his last name) on Guitar and vocals, his son Trey on banjo and vocals, Reuben Maddox on mandolin and vocals, Brad Hight on bass (and sometimes vocals) and Eddie Ortego on dobro and occasionally vocals.

Shortly after they started, a little girl (I think possibly Trey’s daughter) came up and requested the song on her shirt (she was wearing a shirt with the words “mama tried” on it) so they played that too:

After about 30 minutes they took a fifteen minute break, at which time Eddie asked me about the mix, I said it sounds good, but the dobro should be louder, which they fixed.
I then asked if I could play his dobro and he said sure! So I got out my picks and bar (which I had wisely brought). I looked at the instrument when he handed it to me (he had previously told me it was a Guernsey) and noticed the “Mike Auldridge” inlay at the twelfth fret, so I commented that I had thought it looked like a Mike Auldridge signature, and Eddie said “that was Mike’s personal touring guitar.” So now I’m kinda starstruck, turns out it was Mike’s first signature model Guernsey, and he also owns a matching eight string that also belonged to Mike. So I played a couple tunes, and he gave me a little feedback on technique, then he played a couple tunes, it was awesome!

Then the break was over, and they went back on. They played several more bluegrass standards and a few grassed up country songs. I requested sunny side of the mountain, to which they responded with uncertainty, and then proceeded to do it fantastically. They swapped lead singing between songs, and took several great breaks on banjo, mandolin and dobro. About halfway through the second half, someone came up and dropped a tip in the bucket, and I recognized him as my friend who told me about the concert, but he didn’t see me. So I slapped him on the shoulder to get his attention and he was quite surprised to see me lol. So I went over to where he’d sat and chatted with him and his wife for a while (he’s one of my dad’s best friends). Then when they were almost done, I went back up to my seat (literally about six feet from Reuben) and watched the rest of the music. When they finished, I went and asked Earl what kind of guitar he was playing, because me and my friend had been talking about it. He said it’s a 1979 D28 (Martin) so I asked can I play it? And he said sure! So I played it a bit with his TAD1-R 35 Bluechip pick. It was awesome! The neck was slightly thicker than I prefer, but it sounded great! At this point one of the band asked “why didn’t we get you up here to play one?” And I’m like, I assume because you didn’t know I played… (I played Ben’s John Hardy) and then I asked if I could play Reuben’s mandolin and he said (wait for it) sure! So I tried to play John Henry, and failed, then I played something else a bit better and Brad said “Reuben you’re fired” :joy::joy: I played it for a while (it’s a Michael Kelly, but it sounds really good) and also chatted the band more. They said if I come to another show of their’s I can come up and play one with them, and I said if they need a fiddler in this area, let me know, and I’ll see if i can make it. My friend then gave me a ride home cuz he lives near me.

I had a great time and enjoyed the whole thing!
Also, Trey looks like Rob McCoury…

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We can’t wait to see you perform before live audience and share it here! You have everything you require to do it.

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That’s an awesome evening for sure! I cant believe you asked to play their instruments & they said yes! :grin: That’s great! And you’re way braver than I! I would have chickened out without a doubt! So many musicians just dont want to be bothered to interact with folks, let alone turn loose their instruments! Good on them! Glad you had such a nice nite!! :grin::+1:t2: and when someday you play with them (yup, I said when, not if) make sure someone’s recording it for you!! :movie_camera:

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:joy::joy: well, if I see an instrument I want to play it, and these folks are nice, down to earth very personable people, asking wasn’t too nervous, and after they’d seen me play the guitar, the mandolinist practically offered to let me play his mandolin lol.

It was a great experience! Whenever I do a show with them I’ll try to get it recorded for y’all

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