KING RO SESSION

I can't exactly say how long it's been going, but it's four or five years, anyway. In the small town of Rond Pond, Maine, down aways on the Pemaquid Peninsula, in front of the King Ro Market (the only grocery/beer/supply store), a musical scene has developed. First, it was just a few guys getting together on Monday evenings to toss around some bluegrass tunes. Then a local musician named Steve Bixby (Katadhin Valley Boys) took the lead to bring in a few ringers on banjo and fiddle and --- presto!--- the King Ro Session began to swell in numbers. Folks came out with a pizza from the Market and some beers or soda and sat in their beach chairs or a blanket. Some sat in their cars, like an old time drive-in. Maybe 15 or more musicians picked bluegrass tunes in a circle, and took turns with tune choices and solos. 

This year the crowds reached 60 or 70 during prime summer. Steve still comes down sometimes, but the music and players are more diverse. Mark Jespersen plays Dylan. Roger Selverstone is a pretty consistent participant, and calls for Steve Earle or Mr. Spaceman. Alan will call Will The Circle Be Unbroken and so on around the circle for two hours, from 5 until 7 pm. It is interesting that new players show up every week. In fact, we've seen some real hotshots from Virginia, Texas and Nashville pros show up and sit in. Sometimes BJ and his wife Lori, owners of King Ro, will come out, and BJ will sit in. In the winter, the session continues indoors, inside the Market.

The scene is a bit like Norman Rockwell. A relaxed, completely unpretentious time of family fun and pretty good music. The first time I saw it, I got a bit choked up. This is small-town America in a good moment: sunlight waning, kids and dogs and snacks spread out on the lawn, and a homemade, random band of new friends chugging through Mountain Dew with gusto. I don't think it gets better. 

Here is an early video from 2012. Steve Bixby, on bass fiddle, leads the band through my original
tune, Playing Bluegrass Music at King Ro:

 


 

 


 

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