Gene Boyd may be a barber, but he has been known to put down his scissors in the middle of a haircut and pick up a fiddle.
He warns his customers that might happen with a sign proclaiming "We Play Bluegrass" on the front of his Star Barber Shop in Bristol, Va. A group of musicians gathers there every Thursday and Boyd has been known to join in."My mother had a violin and it burned a hole in my soul until I learned to play," Boyd said.
"My father taught music, but I never learned to read it," he said. "I just memorize a tune and play it."
Boyd, 63, has been playing the fiddle since he was 8. He also taught himself to play the guitar, bass and mandolin. He would practice by the light of a kitchen stove every evening as a child, then play for his mother.
After a brief career in the U.S. Navy, where he was barber on a ship, Boyd returned here and started his own barber shop. He's been here for 40 years now, and has met and played with nearly every bluegrass musician that has traveled through the area.