On the Bus with Bill Monroe

My Five-Year Ride with the Father of Blue Grass
Author: Mark Hembree
The pleasures and pitfalls of life in a bluegrass band
Cloth – $110
Paper – $19.95
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 04/05/2022
Cloth: 04/05/2022
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About the Book

A backstage audition led Mark Hembree into a five-year stint (1979–1984) as the bassist for Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys. Hembree’s journey included playing at the White House and on the acclaimed album Master of Bluegrass. But it also put him on a collision course with the rigors of touring, the mysteries of Southern culture, and the complex personality of bandleader-legend Bill Monroe. Whether it’s figuring out the best time for breakfast (early) or for beating the boss at poker (never), Hembree gives readers an up-close look at the occasionally exalting, often unglamorous life of a touring musician in the sometimes baffling, always colorful company of a bluegrass icon.

The amusing story of a Yankee fish out of water, On the Bus with Bill Monroe mixes memoir with storytelling to recount the adventures of a Northerner learning new ways and the Old South.

About the Author

Mark Hembree is a bassist, vocalist, writer, and editor. From 1979 to 1984, Hembree worked for Bill Monroe as a Blue Grass Boy. He cofounded the Nashville Bluegrass Band in 1984 and was a member until 1988.



"It paints a very, very, very true picture of life on the road, so much less glamorous than fans imagine--and the bus Monroe had when I was a Blue Grass Boy was even older and less reliable! I think this is an extremely valuable insight for those who have never lived this life. It also paints exquisite pictures of both Monroe and Kenny Baker--the men, not the performers--and this is as close a look as any who are curious will ever get."--Douglas B. (Ranger Doug) Green

"Do we need one more book on Bill Monroe? Yes, if it is as honestly written as this one, and by a musician who shared the road with him for five years, covering thousands of miles and thousands of shows."--Bill C. Malone, coauthor of Country Music USA: 50th Anniversary Edition