As an Owensboro native, I never considered my hometown as a hub of bluegrass music. I set out to uncover this Bluegrass connection. At the foot of the Ohio river bridge, is the newly constructed Bluegrass Music Museum. I find that the museum is closed on Sunday. In fact, the entire riverfront is deserted on an early Sunday morning. The Bluegrass music echoing from overhead speakers adds comfort to the otherwise gloomy skies and empty streets.
It seems that Owensboro is laying claim to its Bluegrass roots due to the proximity of Bill Monroes’ childhood home. Bill Monroe, “The Father of Bluegrass Music”, grew up 30 miles down the road in Rosine, KY.
I seek to learn more about Mr. Monroe and travel to The Bill Monroe Home Place. While its posted hours state it should be open, it too is closed. The sign on the gate states to call the posted number and someone will be there for a tour within 15 minutes. My call went unanswered. I will return to learn of this connection but for now, it lunch time.
Owensboro is famously known as the BBQ Capital of the World. Sorry, Texas, Kansas, & Memphis. We got the trademark first. We celebrate the second weekend in May every year with the International BBQ festival. Owensboro’s BBQ specialty is Mutton. Mutton is lamb meat smoked over hickory wood. It is served in both sliced and chopped varieties usually on white bread or hamburger bun. As a sandwich, expect it to come with pickle and onion. I prefer the sliced mutton, with a vinegar based sauce that we locals call “dip”. Burgoo, a type of lamb stew, is also a staple of the area.
Usually my goto BBQ place is Old Hickory BBQ. But today I head to the best known BBQ house, Moonlite BBQ. The Moonlite features a large buffet of BBQ’d mutton, pork and ribs with veggies, mac and cheese, and other southern foods. However, my favorite is the large desert bar with more regional favorites: pecan, lemon ice box and chess pies. As well as banana and bread puddings.
My quest to find the Owensboro Bluegrass connection was a bit of a bust. However, the day ended on pleasant note back on the river front as the gray skies had cleared and I was reward with a tremendous sunset.