Dem Bones Dem Bones


Photograph of the Month - Member Jean Mehaffey has passed

Mary Lee Sweet informed us that member Jean Rae Mehaffey (August 1 1942 - August 21, 2019) passed away. Not many of us knew her as she never attend a Bones Fest, however she was a contributor to our newsletter (see below). I met Jean at the NTCMA festival when it was held in Avoca, Iowa, and met her again at the Walnut Valley Festival. Shee was a great rhythm bones player as Scott Miller shows us in the following Youtube videos. Several years ago Jean sent me a letter about herself that is included below. Steve Wixson

"In 1976, I attended a music festival, an old timer played the bones and I said,”that’s for me!”. Then an old lady played the musical saw and I said, “ that’s for me!”. I proceeded to find a little booklet that had instructions for the bones and the saw, a few pages each, and taught myself how to play both. I have continued to play both for all the years since then.

"Have garnered 3 Florida State Old Time Music Championship wins and a third at the contest in Iowa. Don’t do contests any more, don’t perform on stage, and teach only if someone is interested in my style of play, mostly at festivals.

"Additional info on my bones. They are made of Ziricote, about 9 inches long and have a slight curve. They are maybe an inch wide. I play two handed but always play one hand off the other, never together. That comes from teaching myself from a book! By the time I first played in public I had people telling me I should do it their way, but all I could say was, ‘it’s too late now to change!”
I mainly attend bluegrass festivals here in Florida, and my all time favorite, the big festival at Winfield, KS. It’s in it’s 42d year and I’ve probably made 30 of them!
I have a neat idea with pictures for an additional story about bones in the Civil War. If you are interested, let me know."
[Jean’s article titled, “Rhythm Bones in a Civil War Prison Camp,” appeared in the Rhythm Bones Player, Vol 15, No 4. A Letter to the Editor about rhythm bones in a WWI prison camp was in the Vol 16, No 2 issue. Search the online newsletters to read]


Video of the Month (VOM) is the first BFXXIII Individual Performance Video

The Video of the Month is the first of several individual performance from the recent 'Blues' BFXXIII held in Clarksdale, Mississippi, this one from Morgan Freeman's Ground Zero Blues Bones Club. The first performer is Ron Brushi, who Executive Director, Steve Brown, introduces as the master of the 'quiet' rhythm bones. Enjoy.

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