What’s it like playing with Grammy Award winners?

Jon Silpayamanant playing with Yo-Yo Ma and Eric Edberg in Kresge Auditorium during DePauw Discourse.  September 29, 2011.
Jon Silpayamanant playing with Multi Grammy Award winner, Yo-Yo Ma, and my former cello teacher, Eric Edberg, in Kresge Auditorium during DePauw Discourse. September 29, 2011.

Sometimes it’s good just to reflect on your musical experiences.  I know I’ve said that in the grand scheme of things the Grammy Awards don’t mean much and given what I said in my previous post even a figure some of us might consider to be the elder statesmen of post WWII Anglo-American pop doesn’t seem to be known by a wide swath of younger audiences, it does still matter to some folks.

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“How do you get to the Grand Ol’ Opry?”

with Crystal Gayle after our show with her in Lancaster, PA at the American Music Theatre (Sep. 18, 2008)
Me with Crystal Gayle after our show with her in Lancaster, PA at the American Music Theatre (September 18, 2008)

Practice, practice, practice?

That’s one way.

Two years today it was just part of my regular gig.  I mentioned the other day that one of the search phrases that brought someone to this blog was “don helms” who was the steel guitarist of the Drifting Cowboys, who were the back-up band for Hank Williams Sr.  I mentioned that I played a tribute show in Nashville after his passing–the tribute show happened two years ago tomorrow (March 8, 2009).

So what’s a classically-trained/world/experimental cellist doing at the what is otherwise known as the “Carnegie Hall of Country Music” (hence the joke in the blog post title)?

Well, a little over a year before the weekend referred to above I started playing in the back-up band of another Country Music legend, Ray Price.  He’s a multi-Grammy award winner with a group called the Cherokee Cowboys named in honer of the Drifting Cowboys and Hank Williams Sr. since the Chief (That’s what we called Mr. Price) was with Williams in the last year or so of his life.  After Hank Williams Sr.’s death, he took over the band and called them the Cherokee Cowboys.

Some former members of this band were Roger Miller, Willie Nelson, Darrell McCall, Johnny Paycheck, Bobby Flores and Johnny Bush (amongst many others).  This was the band I was a member of (so yeah, it’s kinda cool to say I played in the same band that Willie Nelson played in!).

How did I get there?  That was due to my brother, Joe.

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