Musical inspirations no longer with us


Oct 25, 2017
Lately the passing of music giants in my life has been much on my mind.
My mother was one of those people who could pick up just about any instrument and make music on it - but her main instrument was bass. She played in bluegrass bands all through the 70s and 80s (pictured in the yellow shirt below - that's an old picture from the 70s). She started a music festival in our home town that still takes over the town for a weekend every year. When I was a kid it was not unusual to have a Norman Blake or a Bela Fleck jamming in our living room and I had no idea what that meant. She passed away in November. I still think of musical thoughts - usually how music relates to something else in life - and think I will tell her because she's one of the few people who will get it. And then I remember; no, I can't tell her about that now. Her loss didn't really hit me until I was driving home with a bass in my little mini van. My sister and I grew up sitting in the back seats of small Japanese station wagons, crooking our necks sideways because of the upright bass taking up the whole middle of the car. My mom wanted my daughter to have her bass so I was bringing it home and I thought "here I am again with a bass in my car after all these years." That was the first moment I really realized she was gone.
Oddly I've also been thinking of Townes VanZandt. I knew him and his family pretty well when I lived in Nashville. I wasn't playing music at the time - but in the past few years I picked up guitar again, determined to learn fingerstyle. More recently started gravitating toward acoustic fingerstyle and wound up trying to learn some of Townes' songs. He passed away over 20 years ago but just this week I suddenly wanted to play his songs and as soon as I started I wondered why it took me all this time.
And I'm playing a guitar my mom gave me. She knew Stuart Mossman back in the day and bought one of his guitars in the fire sale. When she did (geez, I was halfway through typing 'does') play guitar, it was always classical and the Mossman sat in her closet for 40 plus years. When I started playing again she asked me if I would like to have it. Well, yes, very much so. For a while I felt almost guilty playing a guitar this nice but lately I've been gravitating to the Mossman more and more.
Last night I was playing "If I Needed You" and it was just so beautiful and sad. In good way, actually. Not looking for condolences here - it's a weird feeling of loss and gratitude for having my life touched by these two gifted music people.
I have a great family but they aren't music people. Well, my son has talent for piano/keyboards and my daughter plays bass, but they're a little young for these thoughts. Somehow I wanted to post these thoughts here where there are a lot of music people who can understand how deeply we can be moved by the music people in our lives.


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Poster Extraordinaire
Gold Supporter
Dec 21, 2004
central ky
i don't know what to say except a cliche: "loss is a part of life".

very sorry for your loss.


Jan 1, 2023
Ute Pass Colorado
Hey man,
So very sorry for the loss of your Mom. Loosing our parents is a difficult thing and it takes time for the hurt to ease up. My mom has been gone 3 years now and I still catch myself thinking of things to tell her. You have been blessed with wonderful stories about your mom! I think sharing these stories is a good way to honour her memory. If I have learned anything in life it’s that you always seem to meet great folks at bluegrass festivals!


Feb 16, 2020
Nobody was seriously musically inclined in my family. My mother had 2 big acoustics - one was junk.

I have wondered lately about families who lose a professional player that filled a home with noodling or the creative process. The silence ...

It must be an awful change. I'm sorry for your loss.