I went to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival three weeks ago in Telluride, Colorado.
It was an amazing vacation filled with good music that I was familiar with, and even more music that was new to me.
One of my favorite artists going into the weekend was Andrew Marlin who plays mandolin in Mandolin Orange (now Watchhouse).
Once I got back home I started looking into more videos of him on YouTube and came across this performance with him and a man named Tommy Edwards from Octoer of last year.
After watching it for the third or fourth time, I started digging into who this Mr. Tommy Edwards was. As it turns out, one of the first things I came across was this article in Bluegrass Today published on May 25th of this year (a month ago).
At first I was bummed. I would have really liked to have seen him play, especially with Andrew Marlin (here is another great video of them together from 2017 that Tommy is especially lively in).
I was watching the video again tonight and came across the song that starts at 19:22 and really listened to the music and dialog between him and Andrew beforehand. It’s called “I’ll Be Ready When It’s Time to Go” and it’s a song that Tommy wrote he saids.
In the Bluegrass Today article, it saids that Tommy died of pancreatic cancer, the same cancer that took Mikey Houser from Widespread Panic, another man I admire but didn’t learned about until after his passing. A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer carries with it a 5 year survival rate of 50%. It’s usually found in the later stages, when it has spread to other parts of the body.
In that light, the song’s lyrics are heavy. As I watched it tonight, I felt like Tommy was singing and affirming the song’s words to himself. It’s beautiful. And his playing is excellent alongside Marin’s voice accompaniment.
Anyway, just something I wanted to share.
I hope I’m ready when it’s my time to go, Tommy.
“We’ll sing his praises for 1,000 years Sing his praises for 1,000 years Sing his praises for 1,000 years And then 10,000 more”