Michelle and I were both off last Friday so, on the recommendation of a friend, we took the time to drive over to New Athen’s Illinois to visit The Bluegrass Shack. We’ve both been trying our hands at music for right at a year now; Michelle learning banjo while I learn guitar. Neither of us think we’re any good at it but we somehow landed with a group from church and we’ve had several practice sessions that focused on some old bluegrass gospel tunes. It’s a total blast to play with other people and, while we’re far from professional, I think we’re reasonably entertaining.
As soon as we walked in the door to the Bluegrass Shack I recognized Chris Talley from some of her YouTube videos. Our friend Doug, who told us about the shack, said she was a very cool person and I couldn’t agree more with his assessment. I have never in my life gotten such focused attention of a store owner. We took Michelle’s banjo to have some work done to it and Chris saw to it personally. She took the time to explain, in detail, the nature of the repairs and upgrades and pointed out both the good and bad aspects of Michelle’s banjo. That gal sure knows what she’s doing because that banjo sounds MUCH better now.
While Chris worked on Michelle’s banjo and tended with other customers and the store’s needs we had the opportunity to meet with two young siblings, Lucas and Katarina Worthington, 14 and 18; their father a pastor. They were both excellent musicians and so much fun to talk with. They come from a family of 10 kids that all form a bluegrass band of their own. Katarina has only been playing guitar for a couple months and just screams through the chord changes… I swear, I’m so jealous. She picked up a vintage Martin guitar while Lucas played a Gold Tone banjo. They pounded out a cool gospel tune with which they both sang. Man, if Michelle and I could only play that good. Katarina, Lucas, keep up the good work.
We ended up spending a little over 3 1/2 hours at the shack talking with the Chris and the two Worthington children. What makes them even cooler, at least in my book, is that they are all solid KJV Bible believers. I dropped a couple of DPBC‘s cards off and invited them to listen to some of Dan Schmidt’s sermons. I hope they do.
Now, at this point we’d been hanging around the shack for over 2 1/2 hours and then Chris takes Michelle and I to one of her private classrooms and spent some one on one time with us. She listened to Michelle play and gave her several pointers. She also gave me some great pointers for the guitar. It was a fantastic time to get to know our new found friend and sister in Christ as she even shared some of her own struggles with us. To top it off, bless her heart, she even wrote about our visit in her personal blog.
The whole day was absolutely fantastic, thanks to Chris, Katarina, Lucas, the employees, and even some of the clientele that we met. Chris Talley’s love for music is evident from the very moment you meet her and her faith in Christ evident in the genuine care that she extends to others. Even though it’s about an hour and a half from our house, I am fully committed to give The Bluegrass Shack as much of my personal business as I possibly can. We’re actually hoping to go back next Saturday to watch the Fiddle, Banjo & Flattop Guitar Contest. If you’re within a few hours of New Athen’s Illinois, do yourself a favor… drop in and visit the Bluegrass Shack.
Chris and friends, thanks very much for a GREAT day.