COSHOCTON -- Bluegrass music is defined as a form of American roots music.
Those "roots" and a deep family tradition has led one Newcomerstown man to celebrate the genre in a monthly event in the Coshocton area.
One could say Duane Hardesty of Newcomerstown has truly grown-up in a musical family -- having his parents, uncles, sisters, brothers, etc. all play or perform in some type of music. That family tradition continues today when Hardesty, along with members of the bluegrass band he belongs to, Chestnut Hill, joined together to create a monthly bluegrass music/jam night in Coshocton.
Hardesty wanted to help the Three Rivers Fire District in Canal Lewisville with a fund-raiser so the band decided to play as a way to raise money for the fire department. In a matter of a few months, the location (in the newly-constructed firehouse) was soon filled.
So, the bluegrass music/jam moved to its new location at the Agents Realty and Auction Services on State Route 36 and County Road 621, just east of Coshocton.
Now, bands from a 100 mile radius perform at the event on the fourth Saturday of each month. This month, the featured band is Salt Creek Inc. and will perform from 7 to 9 p.m.
Once the band takes a break or ends its session for the night, that's when the "jammers" take the stage for the acoustic jam from 9 to 11 p.m.
One jammer is Hardesty's father, Max, who performs all across the area and loves that older country music. He is joined by anyone who has an instrument and wants to play.
"I'd like to have done this years ago," Duane Hardesty said about organizing the bluegrass music event each month. "We don't do it for the money, we do it to have fun."
Being part of the jam, Duane admits, allows musicians to play music from other bands and groups.
"You get to play with musicians you don't always play with. It's a lot of fun," he said.
Admission to the bluegrass event is $5 for adults and free for children under 12.
A food stand is also available which is organized by Duane's sisters Relay For Life team -- Team Alana -- which is in memory of Duane's niece Alana Branstetter who lost her battle with leukemia four years ago. The team uses the bluegrass music night to raise money for the Coshocton Relay For Life.
"We have a good following from Newcomerstown," Duane said about those in attendance at the bluegrass music night, but they would always like to have more. "It takes awhile for the word to get out."
For information on the event, call Duane at 498-8456.
Bill Monroe, who is credited with developing bluegrass music and is often referred to as "The Father of Bluegrass Music," said, "Bluegrass has brought more people together and made more friends than any music in the world. You meet people at festivals and renew acquaintances year after year."
Meeting new people could start this Saturday night in Coshocton ...