Just Pickin'

For South Florida bluegrass fans, it's not just music, it's life

"If you're born and raised in Nashville, you're going to be exposed to bluegrass, country, all of it," she says. "When I was a child I'd lie in bed on Saturday nights and listen to the Grand Ole Opry. At that time they were playing the older country music, which is very much like bluegrass. But if it wasn't for the arthritis, I'd probably still be playing jazz and classical guitar. I play bluegrass because that's where the dobro fits in." She found the Banjo Shop in 1980 after asking different musicians in Miami where the bluegrass players hung out. Picking up dobro pointers here and there, soon Hill was at the Hollywood store, jamming with some of the musicians she now works with in Cross Roads Bluegrass, a mainstay at SFBA functions and one of the finer area bluegrass groups.

"About the only stuff I listen to now is classical and bluegrass," Hill says just before leaving town for a weekend trip to the twentieth annual Kissimmee Bluegrass Festival. "The stuff they call country now is not as good as the old stuff. It all sounds so much alike. Every now and then you'll hear a great voice, like Garth Brooks or Patty Loveless, but I don't go out of my way to listen to any of them. I just like bluegrass better. It doesn't have that manufactured sound of country today. It's all acoustic and these people are improvising off one another. It's almost like jazz, really. And if it wasn't for bluegrass, I wouldn't be playing music today.

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