It’s almost scary how small a world it is. I learned something in a conversation last week that floored me. It really seems to happen all the time — especially in Sharps Chapel, but not in Clarksville, Ohio where I am from.
Not exactly a groupie, but I would see them every year and each year, buy another CD. Jim loves them too. In fact, that is his go-to CD for when he does dishes.
I love their exceptional musical and singing talent in addition to their wide variety of songs — ranging from gospel to bluegrass, instrumental to a capella. I could listen to Joe Mullins, a tenor, sing all day. The last year or so, they have been playing at the Grand Ole Opry and have a song on the top of the charts – The Last Parade on Sirius Bluegrass Junction. Listen to them perform the classic Katie Daley.
I was raised about 30 miles away from Xenia, in a small town named Clarksville Ohio. It has one traffic light, a convenience store, and a country doctor by the name of Tommy Tiger, who I went to school with many years ago, so yes, it is bigger than Sharps Chapel, but not by much.
Last week, I got a call from a childhood friend, Ralph Sexton. When we grew up, we knew him as Junior. He and my brothers would be gone all day, riding their bikes, not returning until dinner. They were buds. Since then, they have stayed in touch each year by keeping up a tradition of calling each other on birthdays and singing Happy Birthday. It is something our whole family does and if you miss calling, it is noticed.
Well, Ralph called me last week after catching up with my brother Tom on a recent birthday. It was great to hear from him. We talked about family and work and gardening. As a side note, Ralph was the first in his family, ever, to graduate from college and that is quite an accomplishment.
I took the opportunity to discuss something that I was curious about — music in the home, and Ralph was the perfect one to ask because his family had some roots in the area where I grew up. I was curious if he knew of any families that played. Here in Sharps Chapel, music is prevalent in many homes. We see family musical groups performing at the farmers’ markets, at festivals, at pickin-n-grinnin… yet I don’t remember being exposed to it at all when I was growing up in Ohio — none of my friends or their families had musical instruments around (banjos, guitars, mandolins), except for traditional band instruments for the kids in school music programs. I related to him how I came to like bluegrass and asked him if he ever heard of Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers. He replied that Joe was his cousin!
After I picked my jaw up off the floor, the conversation was a whirlwind of questions… was he ever at your house? did my brothers ever meet him? did you see him perform?
Ralph told me a story about Joe Mullins that says it all about their genuine character. The little town of Clarksville had a local festival and guess who was there to perform? You guessed it — Joe Mullins and The Radio Ramblers. You guys are great!
Sometime soon, Jim and I plan on heading over to Nashville to show our support at the Grand ‘Ole Opry and see the band.
Here is Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers, with some help from Rhonda Vincent, singing “Missed You in Church”. Love it!
Life is an Adventure.