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Bluegrass Rambles

Everything you need to know about bluegrass, whatever that is

Ted is an IBMA-nominated music writer who travels to bluegrass festivals with his wife and picks guitar in as many jams as he can.

Bluegrass Rambles

Everything you need to know about bluegrass, whatever that is

Ted is an IBMA-nominated music writer who travels to bluegrass festivals with his wife and picks guitar in as many jams as he can.

Considering Radical, Progressive, and Traditional Bluegrass Players

Labels are tricky things.

One thing that I tend to forget in a discussion like this is that whatever a successful artist/band plays, it has to be pleasing, challenging  or in some way demanding to the artist. Perhaps moreso in Bluegrass?? All the bands play White House Blues or Freeborn Man or whatever, but in order to expand, they have to find new songs/new sounds in order to grow. then they have to balance that with being able to make a living..... Oy vey.

 

Great article Ted, Always wanted to go to that festival. Very insightful,

Jim

I won't disagree with anything in the article. Just to add a few comments. I have a similar reading of the Country Gentleman and The Seldom Scene as being very radical for their time. I like to call them Bluegrass 2.0 (Bill Monroe would be 1.0). Having said that, to give a good example of what I think Bluegrass music is to a novice, I always recommend The Seldom Scene's "Live at the Cellar Door." What was once radical has become more "traditional." I also believe that David Grisman "radicalized" the genre in a different direction with the jazzgrass music he created in the late 1970s.

Thanks for the comment, Alan. I think it's the nature of art to push the envelope. Anything less eventually becomes immitative and derivative. Of course there is more that misses the mark than hits it. That's the nature of pushing against limits. No one knows what or where the limits are, or how long it will take experiments to take hold or to die. For sure, more die than live on, but the richness of those that last..... - Ted