April 19 HAPPY BIRTHDAY ‘Stretch’ Brewer

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Gary ‘Stretch’ Brewer, born, April 19, 1965, a Louisville-born is the latest in a line of family musicians that goes back six generations. Brewer has led his own band, the Kentucky Ramblers, for three decades. Brewer picked up a pair of nominations in 2000 from the International Bluegrass Music Association, was a Guitar Player of the Year finalist, and his “Jimmy Martin Songs for Dinner” was a Song of the Year finalist. Brewer and his band have performed at Lincoln Center, as well as on a variety of radio and television programs. The artist also put out a video of instruction for banjo titled “Learn to Play Old Style Mountain Banjo with Gary Brewer,” which was released by a Louisville company, MUMs the Video. He has several albums on the Copper Creek label.
Brewer shares his recollections of the events leading up to the session at Fox Farm Recording, Nashville, Tennessee, “While touring with a package show backed by the Grand Ole’ Opry, me and my band (Gary Brewer and the Kentucky Ramblers), Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, James Monroe and the Midnite Ramblers, and the Sullivan Family (on a few dates), were performing at the Roy Clark theater in Branson, Missouri. Bill and myself were visiting in our dressing room and he asked to see my guitar, he ran through several notes and chords and said, ‘I’d like to show you a couple songs I wrote for the guitar.’ Of course, I was humbled to see and learn these tunes, straight from the master’s hands. I learned them note for note and added my own flavor, and he was very well pleased.
Anyways, the tunes became part of my shows and Bill asked me if I would do him a favor, I said, ‘Sure, anything you want,’ he said, ‘Would you record these numbers?’ I said, ‘I would be honored,’ and he replied, ‘Would you let me play the mandolin on them?’ I said, ‘Yes Sir!’ Of the recording session, Brewer adds, “I went to Bill’s cabin and we visited awhile then went to the studio. He was very excited about the session and we began the recording. We’ll anyways, once we had a few tunes down, Bill said, ‘How do you like a hound-dog guitar?’ I said, I do, and he said, ‘I believe this tune needs one, (he was talking about; The Old Kentucky Blues), I said, who would you suggest? He said, ‘Buck Graves,’ so I said, ‘I’ll call him.’ Uncle Josh, was honored to take part in the session.
Once we all got together at the studio, the three of us began talking and the short of it was; Bill had been performing 55 years and Uncle Josh had been going 53 years and they had never recorded together!
So this really turned out to be a very historic recording.”

About the author

I enjoy researching Bluegrass, Bluegrass Gospel, and Country birthdays, anniversaries and interesting trivia dates. I am a piano/organ performance major who has taught privately and served as church accompanist since 1968 in North Carolina and Central Kentucky. Although classically trained, I appreciate all genres of music. My mother, who was also a church musician and taught public school music grades K-12, knew that Bluegrass music was the purest American music. She always introduced her students to this fine genre and began my musical studies with her at age 2. Bach to Berachah Valley, Mozart to Jimmy Martin, Sibelius to Stanley Brothers, the list goes on, I hope you find some moments of enjoyment and learn a few interesting facts along the way.
I am thankful for the many resources we have at our fingertips including Google. FaceBook and BluegrassBios by Wayne Rice. It was he who inspired me to tackle the task of trying to pass on knowledge about Bluegrass music. Thanks Wayne~!
Lou Ellen Wilkie

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