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So, who were the Cactus Brothers in the Eighties? (And some news we all really need to ponder.)

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

Some background:

The Cactus Brothers were a Nashville-based band who released two albums in the 1990s before disbanding. The band consisted of Paul Kirby (vocals, guitar), Tramp Lawing (fiddle, mandolin), David Schnaufer (dulcimer), and Will Golemon (bass). The band's sound was a mix of country, rock, and folk, and they were known for their energetic live shows. The Cactus Brothers released their self-titled debut album in 1993, and followed it up with the album "Pure Country" in 1995. The band disbanded in 1996, but they have reunited for occasional shows in recent years. Here are some additional details about the band members:

  • Paul Kirby is the son of songwriter Dave Kirby, whose best-known song is "Is Anybody Going to San Antone." Kirby senior was also a well-known country music session man and touring guitarist. Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard were regular visitors to the Kirby household, and Paul grew up steeped in country music.

  • Tramp Lawing is a multi-instrumentalist who has played with a variety of artists, including Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, and John Prine. He is known for his fiery fiddle playing and his energetic stage presence.

  • David Schnaufer is a dulcimer player who has also played with a variety of artists, including Alison Krauss, Ralph Stanley, and Dolly Parton. He is known for his delicate touch on the dulcimer and his beautiful harmonies.

  • Will Golemon is a bassist who has played with a variety of artists, including Patty Griffin, Lucinda Williams, and Keb' Mo'. He is known for his solid foundation on the bass and his ability to groove with any band.

The Cactus Brothers were a talented and versatile band who made a significant contribution to the Americana music scene in the 1990s. Their music is still enjoyed by fans today, and they continue to inspire new generations of musicians.

(The above paragraphs, four seconds)

David Schnaufer played with the Cactus Brothers from 1992 to 1996. He joined the band after they were dropped from their label, Capital EMI. The band then transformed itself into the Cactus Brothers, and Schnaufer was brought in to play dulcimer. The band released their self-titled debut album in 1993, and toured for almost two full years to support it. They performed in 38 states, Canada, Mexico, and six European countries. In 1996, the band disbanded. (This paragraph: three seconds.)

Okay, so above is the background, written, not by me, but by Google's Artificial Intelligence generative program called Bard. If you haven't heard about AI, or watched the 60 Minutes program on Bard, I highly recommend you watch the video below. These current rollouts of AI programs by Microsoft, Google and countries across the globe are a type of technology that is rapidly changing EVERYTHING, and will have an impact on every single one of us across the planet. It will bring great progress, but, it also has the potential to cause great disruption of the world as we know it.

So, how did Bard do when I asked it to answer my two questions, Who were the eighties Cactus Brothers? and When did David Schnaufer play with the Cactus Brothers? Bard wrote the above in under ten seconds as its response. There are some things I want you to notice: There are some true facts along with multiple errors of omission and commission in the information Bard wrote; if you've read Pluck, you'll find them easily.

If you watch the 60 Minutes segment, you'll see more of what AI can and will do, and how unreliable the technology can be that is reshaping our world as I type.

The purpose of this blog is to expand upon Pluck's content, dulcimer music and history--all of that in the folk music context, not to comment on technology. But so many people I know have no idea what is coming. The implications for humanity are enormous in every field, in every discipline, in every country, and for the planet. We will have to stay very frosty about how we perceive truth and reality thanks to the corporations unleashing AI. Please do watch the 27 minute video below, and I will return to David and the Cactus Brothers in my next post.

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