What's so great about bluegrass music?
Though there is the occasional downtrodden, slow-going bluegrass tune, bluegrass music can also be quite fun and exuberant. The instrumentalists in bluegrass music are often impressive soloists who pride themselves on lengthy show-off moments, noodling up and down their fret boards at speeds that tend to make fans' eyes bug out of their heads.
Bluegrass music began in America during the jazz era, and the pioneering masters like Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs set a serious precedent for pickers to come. If there's any one thing in American bluegrass that's "so great," it's certainly the mastery of bluegrass pickers.
Where Can I Find Bluegrass Music?
Bluegrass music is pretty much everywhere these days. With the bands getting younger and the styles getting more hip and slick, there's also a wide range of bluegrass music available. Good ol' down home traditional bluegrass mostly takes place at picking parties out in the country, at churches, and at festivals around the US. There's also old time music, string band music, newgrass, grassrock, and other variations on the theme. To start, I've generated some lists of great bluegrass players, in case you're interested in getting to know bluegrass music by just buying some CDs.
What is Newgrass?
Newgrass is a term loosely applied to a younger breed of bluegrass players, who tend to take their bluegrass roots and influences, and spin them with a blend of other contemporary music forms like rock, jazz, and alt.country. Groups like Nickel Creek and Yonder Mountain String Band, Railroad Earth, Donna the Buffalo, and others have come to define newgrass music over the years.
What is Old Time Music?
Old Time is a style of music that preceded the evolution of bluegrass. With bluegrass music enjoying a resurgence in popularity over the lsat few years, as younger bands have taken up the genre, some groups have chosen to reach even further into their roots and take inspiration from old time players like Charlie Poole, the great banjo legend. Probably one of the most pronounced old time groups these days is Uncle Earl, who have gained their notoriety for being a rare all-female group of old time players.
What Are Some Good Magazines or Web Sites That Talk About Bluegrass Music?
Well, aside from this fabulous site, there are a couple of magazines and Web sites that are based around the American bluegrass community, reviewing CDs and concerts, conducting interviews, and writing great articles about the myriad of players out there in the bluegrass world. Here are a couple:
If there's anything else you'd like to know about bluegrass music, but can't find it on this site, please feel free to patronize our folk music forum, or email yours truly, your folk music guide, directly with your questions.