Today I was saddened to learn about the death of drummer Robert "Bobby" Martin. He was diagnosed only weeks ago with terminal cancer, at the age of 59.
I first met Bobby at the Fiddler's Conventions in the late 1980s. His dad Sam was a musician, and Bobby was a natural at rhythm. He carried two brushes with him at all times, and would join us in jams by playing on the back of a folding chair or the top of an instrument case. His rhythms made every jam better.
Every time I saw Bobby he talked to me about his faith, and how good the Lord had been to him. He loved to play the fiddle, and I remember his excitement when he won first place fiddle at the Mooresville Fiddlers Convention. His favorite tunes were hymns, and many times he played Amazing Grace for me on his old fiddle.
I always loved to see Bobby walking up with his custom Bonham Cajon. When he sat down on the box and started slapping out rhythms with those well-worn brushes, the jam would always lift to another level.
Bobby played with Rex McGee's band "Kripple Krunk," and also with the Kruger Brothers. Here is a recording of me and Bobby playing Jerusalem Ridge with the Krugers.
Bobby, I'll miss your friendship, your faith, and your earthy wisdom. One day we'll meet again, and I know when we do, you'll pull out those brushes and start slapping out a bluegrass rhythm that will make the angels jealous. Until then, I'll treasure your memory. Thank you for touching my life.