As if 2020 wasn’t bad enough, on July 10 we lost another great musician, Gordon Stone, the very day he was to release a new album.
Gordon was an amazing banjo and pedal steel guitar player. At one point he was my teacher, my neighbor, and more importantly, he was just a kind soul that always greeted me with a smile and was always willing to share a tune.
I first met Gordon about 15 or so years ago when I was writing a music column for the Valley Reporter in Waitsfield. I was to interview him and talk about his upcoming music award. He had street cred. He studied at Berkley, and played with Phish, and I have to admit, it was a little nerve-racking to interview him. He was no joke as a musician, yet he was humble, kind, and willing to share his knowledge with anyone who would listen.
At some point later on, I took some music lessons from Gordon because I wanted to learn how to improvise. He taught me the pentatonic scale and made improvising look as easy as breathing. I remember bumping into him at a concert where we both were in the audience watching another fiddle player improvising in a rock band. He looked at me with a grin and said “see, it’s only 9 notes!”.
I’ll never forget the kindness he extended to me and his willingness to teach improvisation to a novice fiddle player who only played traditional Irish music and learned all her tunes by ear.
Most people take lessons and practice to get good, others just have the music in their soul. He was one of those people. He will be sorely missed. I trust he is in a better place and hopefully rocking out with all the other great musicians who left us too early.
Rest in peace, dear Gordon. You will not be forgotten. Thank you kindly for the music.