There was a band in San Diego, Bluegrass Etc, that played a weekly gig. My parents would take my brother and me every Saturday night for 7 or 8 years. Sean and I started taking lessons with them and they gave us a great foundation in bluegrass instrumentation. They were the lens through which I saw music for a very long time.
I had been working my first record really hard and toured the heck out of it. I didn't have anything to write about so touring with The Decemberists was what I needed. I could work and take in the world again. You're just the side man and don't need all the info. You're also less busy than when your name is on the ticket, so I had days free to read, watch movies, and just look up.