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A Man Can Dream - Looking at 2015 Through Bluegrass Colored Glasses

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James ReamsBy Guest Columnist James Reams
If you’re like me, you get really excited about having a brand new year stretching out in front of you…the possibilities are endless and as to probabilities, well fuggedaboudit! I love watching all those “Year in Review” shows too as they look back over the major happenings and then make predictions about the upcoming year. And it got me to thinking about living in a perfect bluegrass world and what might be in store for the next year. I popped the top off of the best bottle of bubbly I could afford, Pabst Blue Ribbon in case you were wondering, put on my bluegrass colored glasses and settled back in the recliner while visions of the following monthly headlines floated off the calendar.

January – At last the United States Post Office recognizes the demographic that still uses their blasted stamps by announcing the latest addition to its Music Icon series…slap bass, please…it’s a commemorative stamp honoring the Stoneman Family!!! And no one in bluegrass circles argues about who it should have been. Pinch me, I must be dreaming.

February – In one of those “what took you so long” moments, the Grammy’s finally embrace banjo-toting Steve Martin as the host of the award show. The enormous popularity of the bluegrass sound rocks the music world as Coldplay takes Best Album with Hillbilly Lullaby featuring virtuoso mandolinist Chris Thile. Lady Gaga and Ralph Stanley win Best Song for the revamped “I’m Not A Man of Constant Sorrow Anymore.” Bill Monroe must be spinning like a vinyl record in his grave.

March – Bluegrass fans had practically turned blue in the face waiting for the Bill Monroe film “Blue Moon of Kentucky” to be released. But our patience paid off as the movie swept the Oscars including Best Film, Best Soundtrack (duh!), and Best Actor/Actress for Michael Shannon and Olivia Wilde. Ed Helms and John C. Reilly dueled it out for Best Supporting Actor with Ed just edging out John by a pick and a peg. Move over “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” there’s a new blockbuster in town!

April – UN Peacekeeping Ambassador, Si Kahn, wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in bringing about world peace through music. When the humble songwriter was reached for a comment about his achievement he replied, “I’ve always heard that music soothes the savage beast – I shoulda known it would be bluegrass!”

May – In honor of Bluegrass Month, everyone involved in bluegrass finally reaches agreement regarding what defines bluegrass music. And now for the weather report…hell has finally frozen over.

June – As presidential candidates start coming forward, the US is rocked by the announcement that Alison Krauss, the Queen of Bluegrass, will seek our nation’s highest office. With seasoned veteran Del McCoury as her running mate, polls are predicting a landslide victory. Even critics agree that her angelic voice will charm the pants off…no wait, scratch that…win over the most hardened world leaders.

July – The #1 Show on TV is the breakout hit “The Wives of Bluegrass.” Americans are glued to their sets on Tuesday nights, fascinated by the inner workings of the bluegrass world. From the makers of Duck Dynasty and The Wives of Orange County, this reality show includes such great episodes as “The Bluegrass Spa” and “Don’t Make Me Get the Skillet.”

August – Inductees into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame are announced and Hazel Dickens finally made it! In a related event, hospitals are overrun by bluegrass fans experiencing symptoms similar to a heart attack.

September – Bill Monroe’s birthday (September 13th) is declared a National holiday and every radio station in the US is required to play bluegrass music for 24 hours straight in tribute. Folks everywhere pulled out their folding chairs, popped the tops on cans of Vienna sausages, and jammed along.

October – As host city for “World of Bluegrass” (only the biggest event of the year!), Raleigh, NC announces that they are changing the name of their airport to the Earl Scruggs International Airport featuring bluegrass themed restaurants, shops, art and live bluegrass music. Officials claim, “We wanted to make the airport a destination, not just a starting point.” Side story: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) adopts the slogan “I’ll Fly Away”.

November – In response to demands by its top customers - yup, you guessed it, bluegrass bands - Cadillac releases it’s new tour bus line. Models include the Breakdown, the Jammer, and the top of the line? Well, what else could it be but Rocky Top.

December – The Official Times Square New Years Eve broadcast features Rhonda Vincent as the host. The traditional ball drop is replaced by a giant rhinestone studded banjo sliding down the flagpole while picking out Bela Fleck’s international #1 hit “Old Dang Sign.”

And then I woke up.

This article by James Reams originally appeared on the California Bluegrass Association's webzine in January.

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