|Pickinâ€™ strings from Iraq|
| A Berry graduate will be playing Bluegrass in Baghdad as part of the nationwide Marathon Jam. 01/31/09
By John Bailey, Rome News-Trbune, staff writer
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Banjos will be a pickinâ€™ in Baghdad today as a group of troops joins in with other bluegrass musicians to lend a helping hand.
Click to see the Bluegrass Is My Second Language Web site.
â€œWe will be playing as a part of the now nationwide Marathon Jam to raise money for our brothers and sisters in arms,â€ said Lt. Col. Greg Rawlings, who is stationed at the Victory Base Complex in Iraq.
The proceeds of the jam will go to the Fisher House, an organization that provides a place to stay for families of patients receiving care at major military and VA centers. There are Fisher Houses scattered throughout the country.
â€œThis is a very tangible way to support service members. The beauty of the Marathon Jam raising money for the Fisher house is it is completely apolitical,â€ said Rawlings.
The “Baghdad Bad Boys” bluegrass jam band at the base is an outlet for service members at the base.
â€œWe play for a couple of hours. During that time we go back to North Carolina or where ever we are from through the music and fellowship,â€ said Rawlings.
While itâ€™s always fun â€” you still gotta play good.
â€œPunches arenâ€™t generally pulled in this group,â€ he said. â€œIf you hit a clunker, folks will let you know about it.â€
Rawlings, a Berry graduate, said his mother-in-law Frankie Nobles and brother-in-law Randy Nobles still live in Rome.
When he got to Ft. Bragg, in Fayetteville N.C., in the summer of 2006, he started picking up the old style Southern rhythm â€” heâ€™d heard the tunes before but never joined in.
â€œI think that Mr. (Harry) Musselwhite, my voice teacher at Berry, would have scalped me if Iâ€™d broken loose with Blue Moon of Kentucky,â€ said Rawlings.
With a significant time difference between the U.S. and Iraq, the band is going to play two sets, including the one in the evening â€” where they will actually be performing at the same time as the other players.
â€œWe will play for six hours in the morning, one in the morning and the second in the evening,â€ said Rawlings.