The year is eighteen hundred ‘n’ somethin’. Hezekiah Goldfarb is making his way across the Oregon Trail from Tennessee. Among Goldfarb’s personal belongings is a single piece of real Tennessee grass, the color of sky on a clear day. He protects this slender blade throughout his arduous journey and when he arrives in the Willamette Valley, Goldfarb plants it in the fertile soil.
Little does Goldfarb know, as the reed grows it releases magical powers that seep not only into the soil, but also into the water and the rivers of Hezekiah’s new home. Now, more than 150 years later — as cities and towns have sprung up in the valley — those who drink the water or eat from the earth have a little bit of that magical Tennessee bluegrass in them.
OK, this is B.S., but it goes a long way in explaining why so many folks here are bonkers for bluegrass. If this story were true, Eugene band Rusty Still would make Mr. Goldfarb proud with their fancy pickin’ and fiddlin’. Rusty Still blends pro musicianship, bluegrass tradition, newgrass sounds and western swing into warm and inviting, toe-tappin’ tracks like “Washington County.”
Or maybe the legend is true, and Rusty Still has discovered the original patch of earth once tended by pioneer Hezekiah Goldfarb, unlocking the secrets of traditional Tennessee music planted there so long ago. See it live and find out.
Rusty Still plays 8:30 pm Friday, July 6, at Axe & Fiddle; $3.