Travels with MaryE

Most things I love best are about good light and good timing. That's where the adventures start. Don't be in no hurry here. Here you'll find a little bit about bluegrass music, fox hunting, life on the road, time on the mountain, and a whole lot about other things, too.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

"Bean Blossom: Its People and Its Music" by Jim Peva

Jim Peva at Bean Blossom with friends from Bluegrass 45.

My good buddy, Jim Peva, who recently self-published the delightful book, "Bean Blossom: Its People and Its Music" reminds me that I haven't shared my June 2006 experiences at Bean Blossom ("BB") with my blog I will soon! But first, check out Jim's book at this link: There are numerous reviews of Jim's book (all raves, by the way) at this site. And here's my take on this wonderful book to add to your bluegrass collection or to give to a friend:

Crowd at Bean Blossom, June 2006
(left - photo by MaryE)

Bean Blossom: Its People and Its Music. Reviewed by: MaryE -- Colonel Jim Peva is a man who knows what he loves and he's not the least bit afraid to share his passion for the music of Bill Monroe - and the music park Monroe held dear to his heart - with any and all who will listen. Here in Peva's captivating book of memories and anecdotes, illustrated with photographs he and others have made, is a gem of a book that each and every bluegrass lover should well consider adding to their collection. Here's a bare bones Bean Blossom history from a man who has well earned the right to share it. Along the way Peva dishes up some general bluegrass history as well. Written in a casual, down home style, you'll find this right-priced guide to Bean Blossom an exceedingly easy read. Go sit out under a tree and read this book from cover to cover, linger over the photographs contained herein and take yourself back to a time when the world was content to move a little slower. Savor the precious moments Peva shares and dream about having similar times at Bean Blossom or a bluegrass festival near you. Peva's book is especially noteworthy for his keen insights into the heart of Monroe. I particularly found Jim's perception of the way Monroe took the sights and sounds of the natural world, filtered them through his soul and then gave them a voice through his fingertips on the fretboard of his mandolin as a true revelation; on that could only be made by a person who had the good fortune to know Mr. Monroe well. In this book Jim Peva talks about the musical melting pot at Bean Blossom - and it surely is. With more than a few Bean Blossoms under my belt I can attest to his assertions. Peva points out that Monroe's music bridges "social, economic, educational, political cultural and international boundaries." Mr. Peva pays special homage to the Japanese visitors who have been making pilgrimages to Bean Blossom since 1971 (in fact, this year Bluegrass 45, the Japanese group that played at BB 35 years ago, returned to BB and put on wonderful shows which were very well-received). Along the way Peva points out some thought-provoking political insights. I enjoyed the anecdotes Jim shared about Monroe's life as a farmer and the way he liked to drive fans at Bean Blossom around the grounds in a wagon pulled by a team of mules. Peva offers in this book a good picture of Monroe - the man - a clear sense of the ambiance and grounds that make up Bean Blossom, the people who come again and again to share memories on this hallowed ground, and the special feeling we return to there among the trees. Peva has a nice, easy way with words and his photos convey a clear sense of "what is Bean Blossom." In additon to his many photographs and long-ish story captions, Peva adds 9 pages of narrative further describing his heartfelt, personal connection with the place - and with Bill Monroe. This may be Peva's first book about Bean Blossom, but I hope it won't be his last. It's that good. Buy it!

Hope you enjoy your copy as much as I'm enjoying mine. And it's the perfect thing to bring along to Bean Blossom to get those autographs!


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