It must have been the second Saturday of June 2004, when my wife Kathryn and I were listening to “Going Across the Mountain,” a bluegrass program broadcast from Spindale, North Carolina every Saturday by WNCW 88.7, when this amazing banjo music instantly grabbed my attention. I immediately called the program DJ, Dennis Jones (still is), and asked who the banjo player was. He told me Jens Kruger (who I’d never heard of) and that his band, The Kruger Brothers, would be playing the following Saturday, June 19th at Leatherwood Mountains Resort, a resort which provides a “unique equestrian lifestyle experience,” located about twenty miles west of Wilkesboro, North Carolina.
When I hung up the phone, I announced to Kathryn that we were going to attend the Leatherwood performance – an announcement which took Kathryn by surprise, considering that we hadn’t attended a live concert in years. On the 19th we packed up our folding chairs, drove to the resort, found a great spot on the open green, and enjoyed our first Kruger Brothers concert, which included Christa Kruger, Jen’s beautiful wife, on upright bass. Of course, being a beginning banjo player myself, my focus was on Jens.
Immediately after the concert we walked directly to the merchandise table where the Krugers were gathered among a few of the audience members. I promptly introduced myself to Jens; I just had to meet this guy. We shook hands and after a few words, as Kathryn and I were leaving, I thought how much I regretted not having asked someone to take a picture of Jens and me.
I sometimes wonder if we hadn’t been listening to WNCW that day……