By Courtney Harrell
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Moments later, Dick demonstrates what more can be done with the song. His version of "Cabbage" is sweet and spritely, exhibiting a joyous, giddy verve that ascends into the upper registers before dipping back into the low end. The sound is a close cousin to Western swing, a fluid, lyrical hybrid that's a far cry from the more redundant, stripped-down style generally associated with old-time. It's no less venerable, though. "You can call this 'progressive' if you want," Dick says. "But I'm older than just about everybody in this room put together, and I heard this kind of music, just the way I played it, all my life."
Thanks to the Darings, the method will live on well into the next century. Before the day is done, Chris calls for Erick to grab his bass and join a kitchen jam session. As the crowd of pickers launches into a bluesy, swinging number, Chris delivers nimble, goosebump-producing notes, a smile on her face, as Noel shadows her with similarly tasty licks. Erick sings a verse, sounding mature and soulful, as the pickers punctuate their parts with shouts of glee and whoops of encouragement. After Chris calls out, "Let's go home," the grinning musicians bring the song to a stately close. Erick offers an apt assessment: "That was awesome."
The expression on Chris's face makes it clear that, in her mind, leaving the nine-to-five world behind was the right move to make. "I'd do it again--twice," Chris confirms. "The money was nice, but all that buys you is a little freedom.
"You get one shot at life," she goes on. "And at ninety, nobody ever says, 'Gosh, I wish I would have worked more.' They say, 'I wish I would have spent more time with my kids,' or 'I wish I would have had the courage to do what I wanted for a living.' So I have no regrets.