Tonight I will cry
It was just a small article in the newspaper, but it was a headline to me. There will probably not be a tribute show on CMT, nor any posthumous award given, but to me Charlie Waller was a master innovator of music. Charlie was the leader of the Country Gentleman for 47 years. They had over 100 members pass through the band including Ricky Skaggs, Bill Emerson, Doyle Lawson and Jerry Douglas. Organized in Arlington, Va., the Country Gentlemen played their first concert on July 4, 1957. The Encyclopedia of Country Music states, "the Country Gentlemen were also one of the most important early innovative bands in bluegrass, taking the genre into new arenas of repertoire and stylistic performance while steadfastly using acoustic instruments." That repertoire embraced pop, folk and country music and yielded such memorable cuts as "Theme from Exodus," "Matterhorn," "Two Little Boys," "Legend of the Rebel Soldier" and "New Freedom Bell." Charlie’s music touched me as a young man, crossing rock and folk tunes into bluegrass. Charlie died august 18 of an apparent heart attack in the garden of his home in Gordonsville, Va. He was ready to hit the road with shows scheduled for Friday (Aug. 20) in Nashville and Sept. 8 in Falls Church, Va. -- to raise medical-expense funds for banjo player Eddie Adcock, an early member of the band.
As I sit alone and listen to his music, I cannot help but feel hollow. It is strange how music does that. I never met or knew this man, but still I mourn. He kept me company on many nights, Charlie, Jim Beam, and me. I watched many a sunset and sunrise with him. I laughed, danced, and sang with him. I also cried at loves and loved ones lost with him. Thank you Charlie for your music and company. You always touched my heart. I can hear him singing “I am weary, Let me rest.” Rest Charlie, you have earned it. Tonight I will cry.