The Point Pleasant Historical Society’s March meeting’s program consisted of a musical performance providing the history as The Last Whippoorwhill Bluegrass Band took the stage. Members include PPHS member Harry Chadwick on guitar, Joe Fili on fiddle, Jeff Propert on mandolin, Carl Baron on banjo, and “Uncle” Dave McDonald on bass. Fili served as presenter and provided historical anecdotes between musical numbers. The Last Whippoorwhills use a custom microphone with the call letters WSM: a reference to the Grand Old Opry’s radio days, the call letters actually stand for “We Shield Millions,” the motto of an insurance company that sponsored the Grand Old Opry.
Fili explained that bluegrass music was founded by Bill Monroe. The genre was named after his band, The Blue Grass Boys. Bill Monroe is the only person inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Other influential bluegrass artists include Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt, who recorded “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” which was the theme song of The Beverly Hillbillies. The diverse elements of bluegrass combines elements from swing, jazz, gospel, and country music. Bluegrass music tends to strike up nostalgia as it is a reminder of a simpler time despite hardships.
The Last Whippoorwhill Bluegrass Band performed “Old Joe Clark,” “Toy Heart,” “Don’t This Road Look Rocky,” “Paul and Silas,” “Rawhide,” and more. Baron displayed his adept skills of detuning and tuning his banjo while playing what’s known as “Scruggs style” during “Earl’s Breakdown.”
Learn more about The Last Whippoorwhill Bluegrass Band at their website by clicking here.