Wednesday, October 8, 2008

INFAMOUS STRINDUSTERS/ANDY HALL & Beth Slater Whitson/Whitson History

In the unlikely event these blogs of mine generate some interest, which I seriously doubt, I would like to increase people's knowledge about a new group of outstanding musicians based in Nashville, Tennessee called the Infamous Stringdusters. The Infamous Stringdusters  Their first album, Fork in the Road, won album of the year, from the International Bluegrass Association in 2007 and the song Fork in the Road won song of the year. The group won emerging artist of the year.  The group's dobro player, Andy Hall, won the instrumental album of the year from the IBMA in 2008. Dobro Lessons with Andy Hall | ArtistWorks  He is a relative and one of the three lead vocalists in the group.   He is also a songwriter continuing a tradition that started many years ago with Beth Slater Whitson, another relative. Beth Slater Whitson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia who wrote Let Me Call You Sweetheart (1910).  She left her home in Nunnelly, Tennessee when she was a young lady and took her poems with her to Chicago.  I always thought her story was fascinating and would make a good period piece of a made for TV movie.  She told her life story in an article written published in True Confessions magazine: .pdf

 As the members of our family know, many southerners remember most details of their heritage as a form of  "living history".  I can find the gravesite of Beth Slater Whitson's father in Nunnelly who is buried in a family grave site near my great grandfather Dr. S.A. Whitson and his wife Ida Thompson who died in the Spanish Flue epidemic in 1918.  We know the family history back to the first Whitson to arrive in America, Joseph Whitson in 1635 and everyone after that which has always been amazing to me.  There is a true story that was passed down from generation to generation about Joseph and his great success in his new country.  He acquired in his lifetime an estate of several thousand acres on the banks of the Potomac River in Virginia, just south of Washington, D.C.  The story always ends with how it was lost, the subsequent generations drank and gambled it away.  It took about three hundred years to recover from that downfall and only recently have we started to gamble again, for it takes at least 300 years to discard the lessons learned from the past.  We still stay away from drink however. 

Back to the Stringdusters, I am prone to digress with so much time on my hands with the market headed for a test of the 1932 low of around 40 this month at its current downward pace, the Stringdusters are one of the best acoustic bands around.  Their second album released in June 2008, called the Infamous Strindusters, received rave reviews. The Infamous Stringdusters: The Infamous Stringdusters <>   
 The folk music critic from, Kim Ruehl, placed them in the top 25 Bluegrass Artists of all time after the release of their first album. There are also good reviews at

Back to the market from our other interests, music and history,   I do think that I will go all-in before the market hits it 1932 low having sold so much last year and this year, whittling my individual stock positions down to a few names mostly electric utitilties and will ride this out with what I have left in mutual funds and closed end investment companies paying rich dividends on a monthly or quarterly basis that I will reinvest at ever low prices to buy additional shares.  I may talk some more about those but one of the mutual funds that I did not trim is the Permanent Portfolio The Permanent Portfolio Family of Funds  This is sort of a disaster mutual fund, investing in gold and silver bullion, treasury bills, swiss government bonds and a small smattering of stocks.