Incidentally, legendary Shenandoah string player, Wilbur Terry, says the name most of us know him by know him comes from the funny papers and was given to him by colleagues years ago. The following is transcript of part of conversation we had one hot, summer afternoon, out in his music shop.
Even better than reading this, is listening to Two Gun say it . . .
They call me Two-gun Terry . And I am 68 years old. It comes natural for me since I was 8-9 years old.
I grew up a mile west of Lacey Spring. We had a farm there. Sixty acres. I grew up on farms, you see. We always had guitar and banjo and other instruments around the house when I grew up. Had a lot of people on my Dad’s side of the family who played music. Got a fiddle for Christmas one year when I was about 9 years old. It come natural to me ’cause I had an ability for it. A natural ability for it.
I’ve talked a whole lot about this over the years. Basically right here in the Shenandoah Valley, it was Bluegrass. Now we got what we call Bluegrass and Old-Time music, which is a lot of the same material presented in different ways.
I played tuba when I was in high school, also, because we didn’t have strings. So I was educated in tuba a little bit. But I studied 2 years of violin when I was like 30-years old. Over the years you acquire stacks of books, and if you can’t read music there no good to you. So I learned to read music so I could learn what I want to learn. Everything from fiddle tunes to light classical.
I think I read fifty-two books last year. Psychology. Religion. Jewish history, Egyptian history, Greek history, Greek philosophers. All kind of stuff. I think people who don’t read are not very smart. Well, I don’t care to be stupid. There’s plenty of those people walking around. Dead people. The walking dead. The sad thing about it is they don’t know anything and don’t really care that they don’t know anything. Don’t want to know anything and don’t care.
Happy all my life? Well, mostly. Although I grumble a lot about things. . .
Give you advice. How old are you? Sixty-three! Well you shouldn’t need any advice if you’re that old.