Ginger Boatwright

I recently subscribed to Bluegrass Now magazine and as a bonus they sent me copies of the last two issues. One of those issues really took me back to my early days in bluegrass. The featured artist, whose picture was on the front cover, was none other than Ginger Boatwright, the real genius behind the 70’s regional group Red, White & Blue(grass). In the early 70’s, when I was just beginning to get into bluegrass, Red, White & Blue(grass) was becoming a regional phenomenon. Their music was something of a mix of bluegrass, folk and soft rock and for someone like myself, a child of the 60’s, it helped bridge the gap between what I had been listening to and playing and what was then becoming my life’s passion, bluegrass.
I was just starting to get into bluegrass and I heard that there was going to be a bluegrass concert over in Tuscaloosa so I decided to get in my little red Volkswagen bug and ride over there and check it out. I didn’t even know who was playing before I went. When I got there I sat out on the ground in front of a flatbed semi-trailer with perhaps two to three hundred other people and proceeded to be blown away by this group of young, talented and extremely enthusiastic musicians known as Red, White, and Blue(grass). If you looked at their hair and clothes they looked like the “hippy” musicians I had been used to in college, but their music was decidedly different. Not until recently did I learn that the Norman Blake did vocals, mandolin, dobro and guitar for them at that time. I was so young and so unlearned! What I remember most from that long ago day was the banjo player Dale Whitcomb (not for his music but for his hair which he wore in a shocking blond ‘Fro) and the voice of Ginger Boatwright.
Red, White and Blue(grass) was a regional group at the time who gained some national recognition and, in looking back at my LP collection, I find that I purchased three of their albums that span the period 1973 through 1977. I lost track of Ginger after that and didn’t really know what had happened to her until I read the article in Bluegrass Now.
After RWB(g) she had a group called The Bushwackers for a short time them went to work for The Doug Dillard band. She’s suffered through some medical battles with cancer but was told she was cancer free as of December of 1999. Ginger is an Alabama girl but she now lives in Alaska with her husband, Buck Kuhn, and has recently released a new CD project called Sipsey. The title cut, a dark love song, is named after the Sipsey river and swamp that meanders through Fayette, Tuscaloosa, Pickens and Greene counties in west Alabama.
Seeing the photos and reading about Ginger again, after all these years, and finding out that she is still active in the music business was like running into an old friend and renewing a relationship that seemed to be over 20 some years ago. I’ve already gotten the new CD and was not disappointed. Maybe you can renew this relationship along with me. Check out the review of Ginger’s project in this month’s newsletter.