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Way Up With the Waymasters


        Hello America! As you remember, we were sharing with you what a typical travel and performance weekend is like 
for the Waymasters. When last we spoke, we had left our tale off where the band had finished its first performance at 
the ICGMA Awards concert and had just left fellow Bluegrass Artist of the Year nominees, The Reed Brothers, after 
the unlikely event of either of us winning a bluegrass award against the likes of Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver or 
The Isaacs.

        As time approached for our evening performance, we were eager to play and excited to be part of the showcase. 
Because we had to leave that night to drive to North Carolina for a booking there the following day, we made a point to 
spend time visiting with fans and other artists, and as result we were almost late for our time slot. In this particular 
format, it’s not unlike the Grand Ol’ Opry, in that they keep artists moving on and off the stage. Once one finishes, they 
exit off to their left while the M.C. thanks them and introduces the next to perform who is standing on the opposite side 
of the stage. The format moves quickly and allows the fans optimal opportunity to see as many of their favorite gospel 
artists as possible.

        For those of you who are unfamiliar with what it’s like backstage at an event like this, we’ll do our best to describe 
it for you. We arrived backstage to the hustle and bustle of about ten to fifteen groups, duos, and solo gospel artists, 
either getting ready to go on or just coming off stage. It was dimly lit with guitar cases scattered around and people 
milling about while others were standing against the walls visiting and laughing. 

        It was a busy scene with stagehands adding to the commotion but the constant action had its own organization no 
matter how difficult it would be to identify to someone new to its tendencies. There was a low murmur of people talking, 
with the music from the stage providing the audio background. We were recognized by several folks, some were old 
friends like the Parish Family from south Georgia, and some we had never met until that point. Thankfully, they were 
running slightly behind so we found or instruments and began to tune. This almost always proceeds the same way. 
Darrell and Chewie stand next to each other tuning and talking song choice and production. Tim stands directly behind 
them cracking jokes and waiting to steal the tuner of the first one who finishes. After 28 years you would think he would 
have his own tuner (Tommy fixed this issue this Christmas). Tommy slips off to tune where he can get the most quiet 
but then almost always finds someone to talk to instead. After this ritual, the group gathered together for our customary
pre-performance prayer, and then made our way to the side of the stage as our time to perform had arrived.

        Once on stage we were greeted by the packed crowd of the West Plains Civic Center who had come to enjoy some 
of the biggest names in Christian Country Gospel. We were humbled to sing praises to our Savior in their presence. We 
played our small set, exited the stage and was instantly met once again by backstage culture. We found our cases and 
put our instruments away while trying to be courteous to the folks who came up and wanted to talk to us about our 
music. Once packed up, the idea was to move the instruments to the “Cross Stage” where we were to perform once 
again during intermission.

        Tim was standing next to Darrell holding his bass while Darrell had a guitar in each hand. They were waiting on 
Chewie who had just walked away to find his drink. You could hear the M.C. and the event director on stage talking to 
the crowd about us. How they were glad to have the Waymasters there and how we were nominated for several awards. 
We thought nothing of it as this wasn’t uncommon for such banter to occur about artists who were nominated and had 
just performed. We also heard them mentioning the names of the other performers nominated with us but again, it was 
background noise as we really weren’t listening. As Tim and Darrell stood talking and waiting for Chewie to return, 
they heard a voice from the stage say, “And the winner is…Waymasters!!”

        The two kept talking then suddenly stopped and looked at each other with a blank stare. Tim said, “Did you hear 

“Did they just call our name?” Darrell replied. “Did we win something?”

 “I think so!” Tim said with eyes wide.

Darrell quickly said, “Grab Chewie and find Daddy, I’ll go see what we’re suppose to do!”

         This entire time there was applause, unaware that the group was trying to collect itself backstage. Darrell tossed 
down the guitar cases where he stood and raced to the stage. In the mean time, Tim had instantly seen Chewie and 
sent him to follow Darrell and had quickly located Tommy who was talking with a member of another group.

        In a flash Darrell was at the side of the stage where he found the stage manager and asked, “Are we suppose to 
go out there?”

He said, “Hey man! Yeah! Get out there, you won!”

        Darrell stepped forward and once he appeared from the side of the stage, the applause grew instantly and was 
joined with whoops and whistles. As he walked towards the M.C. and event director, he was thinking, “What am I going 
to say? How do I explain where the other guys are? Where ARE the other guys?!” It was then that a lovely young lady 
stepped in front of him and presented a spectacular, crystal award that read, “2015 ICGMA Bluegrass Artist of the 
Year.” Chewie came up beside him and the two walked towards the M.C. and director who were clapping, and then 
stepped back to allow them access to the mic to say a few words. As they turned to face the audience, it was then that 
they realized Tim and Tommy had caught up and had walked out onstage, just a few steps behind them. We stood in 
shock; completely surprised and speechless at what had transpired. This was absolutely the furthest thing from our 

To be continued…

See you next time for "the rest of the story."

The Waymasters

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