Long lost band, the Department of Bluegrass, will be having a reunion at the National Folk Festival this year. The original line up of will be back with at their best at the Troubadour at 7pm Saturday 22 March. “This is probably the first National that all the guys will be together, so a reunion gig seemed like the right thing to do. We also didn’t have a lot of choice” said John (Human Resources and Admin Manager) for the Department.
The Department was established in the early days of the 21st Century, and was orginally tagged as Chubby Thighs and the Lower Molonglo Mountain Boys. That was, however, considered irreverant and not in keeping with proper principles of governance in the National Capital. By Executive Decree (Donal Baylor, Permanent Head and general Bossman) changed the name and established an accountability and responsibility matrix – Donal Baylor (fiddle), Chris Jacobs (guitar and vocals), John Taylor (banjo and vocals), Tony Hunter (mandolin./dobro and vocals). The bass position was vacant and filled on a casual as-needs basis.
The Department debuted with Donal, Chris, John and Tony at the National in or 2002 in a gig at the Merry Muse made famous for the floor being awash due to the unseasonal rains that year. Due to the bass vacancy, Jack Sommers was recruited. The lack of a permanent bass player changed after Sam Martin was apprehended by JT (who was on duty at the time moonlighting as a Sheriff) at the Festival without a wristband. After it was established that Sam was there to play with his Dad’s bad, Collector, and would be attending the School of Music in Canberra studying the double bass he was quickly drafted into the lineup. A couple of rehearsals and a few local gigs at the Merry Muse and sundry beer gardens later and the Department were established favourites with the bluegrass/roots music afflicted in the region.
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