The Bluegrass Parlor was originally conceived of as Bob's Bluegrass Parlor. However it did not remain Bob's for very long, as even before the store opened Bob was visited by Tom Henderson. Tom was already deep into the bluegrass music scene and could scarcely believe it when he passed a sign for Bob's bluegrass just a few miles from his home. Before long he had become Bob's partner in the new business and the store opened in 1980.
It turned out the Tom was much better suited to the retail music store business and before long Bob sold his stake in the business and the business was all Tom's. This was just as well, because the business really struck a chord with Tom. The Thursday evening jam session got started around this time and the lesson business started to pick up at the store.
In 1983, Tom was to play a country music show held at the Tampa Theatre and he thought it would be a fun to form a band with some of the youngsters that came to his Bluegrass Parlor to kick off the show. When 11 year old banjo player David McMillian walked out on stage, "the crowd went nuts" and the Bluegrass Parlor Band was born.
The Parlor was always the place to go to find great deals on instruments and the only place in town that could help you track down those hard to find bluegrass recordings. But the soul of the business was in teaching others to appreciate and to play Bluegrass music. The lesson program was one way, but the jam session and the Bluegrass Parlor Band all help introduce newcomers to bluegrass.
In 2005 Jeff Jones, a longtime fixture at the store as well as in the Bluegrass Parlor Band, purchased the Bluegrass Parlor from Mr. Henderson and for the next year and a half kept the store front going. Ultimately, for a multitude of reasons, Jeff had to make the difficult decision to close the storefront in late 2007. Since that time the focus has shifted more to the continued offering of private lessons on all the bluegrass instruments, to getting Bluegrass Parlor Band alumni together for occasional reunion gigs, and to finding new ways to introduce people to spread the good news about bluegrass music.
Thanks for your interest in lessons here at the Bluegrass Parlor, we have a long history of helping newcomers learn to play and enjoy bluegrass music and to helping the more experienced pickers hone their craft. Just because the store front closed down does not mean that all is lost! Currently all lessons are taught by me, Jeff Jones, and since the closing of our storefront the lessons are conducted either at my studio in North Tampa or via Skype or other online video conference options.
Lessons are offered on the following instruments:
Lesson are very much student driven, all skill levels and learning styles can be accommodated. I have found that different people learn in different ways. For some students that means to learn strictly by ear, and I have worked successfully with many students who prefer to learn that way. There are also many students who greatly benefit from having some type of printed material to supplement our lessons. For those students you can click here to view recommended instruction books. At the current time I have openings for students on Thursday evenings and Friday afternoons.
The Bluegrass Parlor Band was formed over 20 years ago as an offshot of the Bluegrass Parlor in Tampa. Tom Henderson owned the Bluegrass Parlor at the time and was already well established in the Florida bluegrass scene through his work with 'The Friends of Bluegrass' as well as through his local and syndicated radio shows.. Not long after opening the store, he formed the Bluegrass Parlor Band to help give talented young musicians experience playing in a professional setting.
Since then, the band has proudly gone through many member changes as the young musicians grew up and moved on to while new young musicians took their place. The band has toured extensively throughout the eastern United States in the past and some of its' past members have transitioned from the Bluegrass Parlor Band to very successful music careers.
Aubrey Haynie and David Crow are two high profile former band members but they are certainly not the only one’s who have benefited from their involvement in this band. Aubrey Haynie is currently one of the most in demand sessions fiddle players in Nashville. David Crow was the fiddle player for the Osborne Borthers for many years and was the President of the International Bluegrass Music Association until 2006.
Recent years have seen a new crop of Bluegrass Parlor Alumni take their place in the national bluegrass scene. Cory Walker has toured internationally with Sierra Hull and also did a stint playing with Ricky Skaggs. Jarrod Walker has toured with Missy Raines and the New Hip and is currectly playing with the Claire Lynch Band.