Column

The Reading Room

Writing about writing about music.

Henry writes about music and music books for ND, The Bluegrass Situation, Country Standard Time, Publishers Weekly, and more.

The Reading Room

Writing about writing about music.

Henry writes about music and music books for ND, The Bluegrass Situation, Country Standard Time, Publishers Weekly, and more.

The Mysterious Case of Gainesville, Florida

Nice review,  Henry. We often spend time at a state park just south of Gainesville (Paine's Prairie State Park) and sometimes go into Gainesville, which in the winter is really quite pleasant. I notice the emphasis in your piece on the musicianship of bluegrass pickers influencing the play of emerging rock musicians. I'm fascinated by the frequency I hear about bluegrass and gospel music contributing to the musical sensibility of any number of emerging musicians in American music. Would you care to suggest further names of people whose roots or listening lie with bluegrass, but whose own interests took them in different directions? Thanks. - Ted

Sorry, Ted; I'm just now seeing your comment on my review. Used to be that I'd get an e-mail notification each time someone commented, but that doesn't happen anymore.

Jackson Browne comes immediately to mind, since he started out playing in a jug band: the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band; but he played with them a very short time before he moved on to folk rock or whatever we want to call it.

Jerry Garcia is I suppose the most famous example, but I think you can also make the case that he never left bluegrass completely behind, especially in his work with Old and in the Way or with Grisman on the Pizza Tapes. There's tha great story about his being taken with the banjo of his friend's father--a musician I talked to told me the story, and I am drawing a blank right now.

Vince Gill, though again he's never left it behind completely; he has a great story of being a banjo player and having a local rock band ask him to join them to play "Mr. Bojangles."

I think I had a few other examples when I responded to your FB survey, so let me think more on this again; it's a great question. 

Bernie Leadon is a very good example, though. A great bluegrass multi-instrumentalist who made the journey into rock (though country rock).