Popple Ridge Pickers-the missing piece


I think we walk around most of the time and believe all is well. It is only when you get better that you realize something was missing. I had one of those experiences last week.

Lisa and I attended the Pennington Soil and Water Conservation District banquet last week-I am an elected Supervisor and got to emcee the program. We had a great time and honored our cooperators, contest winners and let the public know what we have been up to since the last time we all got-together to break bread. And then, it was time for the entertainment.

The Popple Ridge Pickers are a Bluegrass/Gospel group from the Lancaster & Hallock area. Their ranks are flexible as sometimes people are busy but the call for their services is answered by a pool of talent both deep and wide. This was great entertainment, so good I felt almost a little overwhelmed. There was so much vocal talent to listen to and so much instrumental talent to watch. I took a little video of them with my smartphone and even that tiny microphone was filled by their sound.

I like to close my eyes when I listen to music, it helps to hear everything. I swear I could hear Larry Gatlin and Richard Sterban from the Oak Ridge Boys when Popple Ridge Pickers sang. I thought I heard some Roy Clark string work too-I could even hear Mickey Gilley play piano or maybe his cousin, Jerry Lee Lewis. Then, I opened my eyes and saw people just like me, singing music that was working inside me.

I must talk more about these fine instrumentalists. I really enjoy trying to understand the talent it takes to make such good music, to try to marry the actions I am seeing with the sounds that I am hearing. I especially liked watching the flat-top guitar playing as I love flat-top and steel guitar. I finally gave up on my science of matching action and sound and just enjoyed the experience. I liked the interplay of the musicians as one would end their time in the spotlight just as another stepped in to carry the load.

One word to describe the Popple Ridge Pickers is strength. These people are powerful singers, powerful instrumentalists and have an internal power that they don’t advertise. I’ve often said to Lisa that when something happens that doesn’t logically add up, then I believe it is the presence of the Holy Spirit. When a few people join together and sing praises to God in such a way that they seem like a huge chorus, then there is something else happening other that just people strumming guitar strings and making sound with their voices. When the result of group efforts is greater than the sum of the group’s parts-you have seen something special. Last Thursday, we saw something special. I walked into that banquet feeling whole yet I went home with my missing piece.

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