Sad news: Bluegrass loses another great, banjo player Dale Vanderpool, a good friend.

We lost another great one, one of the greats that I was lucky to call a friend.

Dale Vanderpool lost his long battle with cancer last night.

I am eternally grateful for his generosity in taking me under his wing and showing me what REAL bluegrass is all about. I knew I had arrived in the Columbus Bluegrass scene when I got a call from Dale to come over and jam.

I was as nervous as a guy could be to go jam with his crew, but he made feel right at home and we banged out a bunch of great tunes. Like in golf you tend to play up (or down) to the level of those around you they all elevated me to a new level entirely. After a few living room jams he asked me to play in his band at a few shows, and he didn’t ask many people to do that, so I was stoked. That’s when I knew had really gone from a parking lot picker to a stage dwelling, card carrying member of the Bluegrass Police.

Dale was generous, kind, humble, opinionated, sharp witted, quiet, and note perfect – pretty much all the time. Dale was Dale for every person, no matter who you were.

One time, an older lady walked in the Bluegrass shop where Dale worked carrying a 1930s Gisbon Granada Banjo worth more than most people’s houses and did Dale ask to buy for a few thousand doallrs, which the lady would have been happy with? No, he told her it’s real value and helped her get a life-altering amount of money for it.

Another time I was hanging out in the shop when George Clinton walked in. Yes, that George Clinton, the one from P-funk… yeah. It was only slightly awkward, but Dale was a cool as he was to any hardcore Bluegrasser and we laughed and joked and had a really nice time talking to George about music.

Here’s a good video of Dale playing Train 45 with Don Rigsby and JD Crowe among others. Dale takes the second banjo break. He makes that shit look so effortless… we should all add a little bit of that to our style.

Please keep Anita, and his whole family in your prayers.

For a trip back in time to July 14th, 2009, the first post on this blog featured me playing a show with Mr Vanderpool.