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Thread: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

  1. #26
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    What I know about where Bluegrass music is head ain't no part of nuthin'.

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  3. #27
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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    Mr. Albert, That is just my point, what is the last bluegrass song that you heard that became a classic? I can`t think of anything after "Fox On The Run" or "Rockytop"...But there at hundreds of traditional bluegrass songs that are still being played around campfires and parking lots at festivals and jam sessions... Modern songs will last about a month after being listed in the top ten at one time or another...

    I`m done...Willie

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  5. #28

    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    I knew I smelled a genre thread as soon as I came on the forum. It's the odor of long dead horse, thoroughly beaten.

    All genre art, whether music or literature or what have you, must evolve or stagnate. What has always amuses me about most genre-argument-producing cultures is how personally some people take it when an imaginary boundary is stretched, or an unwritten yet iron-clad rule that somehow conforms exactly to that person's thoughts on the matter is broken. A few folks will present cogent and well-reasoned arguments for why this 'new thing' is not the same as the 'old thing' and should not be considered to be the same, but mostly the 'discussion' descends into no-true-Scotsman territory.

    I have to say though, the earlier comment about metal made me laugh. I'm curious to know which of the recognized dozens and dozens of metal sub-genres were created solely to rake in the cash. And at least they all recognize that it is all '-metal' music of a sort, where the arguments are more about exactly which niche a style fits into or if it's a new one, instead of denying them the designation outright. Let's not mention bluegrass metal, shall we?

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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    I know everything evolves or dies. It seems to me that there are still a healthy number of festivals and a crop of young pickers coming up who are amazing. Diagnosis; fairly healthy.

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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    Hello Ted - Philip Glass / Milton Babbitt et.al were the 'new classicalists' i was meaning in my last post - well, at least 2 of them. I must say,that i feel that most non-trad ''Bluegrass orientated'' bands are far closer to the spirit of Bill Monroe's music than the vast majority of ''modern classicists'' are to the spirit of Bach / Beethoven /Mozart etc.,
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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    "Where" BG is headed depends a little on where you are geographically. The Ohio old timer at the beginning of the article bemoans a lack of jams - the opposite is happening in my neck of the Pacific Northwest. If I didn't have other commitments I could go to 6 BG jams a month without driving more than 10 miles from home. There are seven or eight BG festivals just in Washington coming up in the spring and summer. There are a lot of traditionalists (at 54 I'm one of the youngest members of three BG organizations in my area). As the string and and new grass scene on the coast grows, it brings in more young people, who start to explore the source of the music as they learn more. Maybe Fruition or Greensky pulled them in, but in time they'll hear and appreciate Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs. The same thing happened when Cream, The Yardbirds, The Stones and others introduced a new generation to the blues. Sure the music will evolve, grow to include more people, instruments, genres, but it will stay bluegrass. I seriously believe as long as it doesn't become too commercially successful BG will survive. Just look at what's become of country music.

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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    I am with Willie Poole. I know Bluegrass when I hear it, and a lot of the stuff being showcased at "BG Festivals" sounds and feels like Pop/Rock music to me. I have nothing against folks pushing the envelope in terms of artistic expression, but don't take my money and tell me you sold me Bluegrass when it is not! I vote with my feet, and go find a good jam around some campfire.

    All this most likely means I am just old and grumpy. I remember the disappointment during the folk scare of the 60s when Bob Dylan betrayed the faithful and went electric on us.......
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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    From Grizzly Adams - " ..when Bob Dylan betrayed the faithful and went electric on us....... " That's something that i was never able to understand. After he 'went electric',Bob Dylan wrote some of his finest & most socially 'cutting' songs - which to me,are what mattered. The vast majority of folk who railed against him couldn't even play a comb & paper, let alone any genre of guitar. I put it down to some folk simply needing something to bellyache about.

    Apparently,Pete Seeger threw a 'furious tantrum' on hearing Dylan's elec.preformance of ''Maggie's Farm'' - why ?. Maybe it's no wonder some of the new pickers don't seek 'peer approval' & just get on with enjoying their playing = ''mind your own business & if you don't like it don't listen !!!''

    It seems fair enough to me ?,
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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    From Grizzly Adams - " ..when Bob Dylan betrayed the faithful and went electric on us....... " That's something that i was never able to understand. After he 'went electric',Bob Dylan wrote some of his finest & most socially 'cutting' songs - which to me,are what mattered. The vast majority of folk who railed against him couldn't even play a comb & paper, let alone any genre of guitar. I put it down to some folk simply needing something to bellyache about. . .
    And then some years later he was picketed by angry fans when he performed his Christian material. I don't get it. No one is forcing anyone to listen. If I picketed every performer I don't care for, I'd be pretty busy...
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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    It’s what happens when people idolise the performer or the genre. They hang a lot of hope and belief on the image they have of their idol, when the idol goes and changes away from the image it shatters the illusion. Remember what music and musicians meant in the ‘60s, they were going to change the world, make people enlightened, end wars, inspire a revolution, take humanity to the next step, etc. No one was ever going to live up to that. The only idols who can’t disappoint are the dead ones because they’re never going to move from the pedestal of purity to which their worshippers have bolted them.
    Eoin



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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    For the life of me I just don`t understand why when a band shows up with a guitar, a banjo, a mandolin or fiddle and a bass fiddle that people want to call it "Bluegrass"....Sure music will change as years go by but put a name on it and don`t call it bluegrass if it is not played in the original style that it was meant to be played, like Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, Jimmy Martin etc...Play the new songs but come up with some that are played in the old style...I do not blame musicians for trying to make a better living by changing their style but also change the name of the music now being played...

    I know a lot of you are tired of me harping on the subject but I have spent a lot of years trying to preserve bluegrass and I hate to see it being washed away like "Country Music' was....I also remember when bluegrass pickers were noted as being drunks etc and I have fought hard to try and make fans understand that now days that is not true that bluegrass has become a "pure" simple music and played with a lot of feeling and not like an expressionless robot playing it like we now see at most festivals....

    Sorry to go "on and on"...hey that's a good bluegrass song also...

    Willie

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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie Poole View Post
    ..

    I know a lot of you are tired of me harping on the subject but I have spent a lot of years trying to preserve bluegrass and I hate to see it being washed away like "Country Music' was...
    Not me. I think your stance is entirely admirable. I really do.
    David A. Gordon

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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    I prefer the “old school” drive and feel, my band works very hard at keeeping the style close. From time to time material may go off on a tangent but, as it did with the “Country Gentlemen” it’s not always the material it’s, as Willie has said time and again, the “Drive”
    Willie also has a very serious stake in this from his heritage, being a descendant of the late great Charlie Poole means something to me, though many of the current pickers may never have heard of him.
    Tipping my hat to you Willie! (There’s a name for a new old style tune, hmmm...)
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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    Willie keep harping on what is BG till folks get it. The Country Gentlemen did songs that were not tradditional BG Songs but they made them BG, and now a lot of them are standards, but as ive said before,if you lookup "drive" in the dictionary there should be a picture of the classic Gentlemen. Thank goodness they never done Wagon Wheel I don't think even they could make that one drive.

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    Registered User Chris Bowsman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Daniels View Post
    I'm curious to know which of the recognized dozens and dozens of metal sub-genres were created solely to rake in the cash.
    Def Leppard*?

    Maybe compared to bluegrass, metal seems mainstream. There certainly are plenty of 'heavy' mainstream bands, but there are plenty of bluegrass-ish mainstream bands, as well.

    I appreciate that the purists of any genre want to keep their chosen form from changing. However, many of them adopt an elitist attitude, and I often wonder if they're able to see past said attitude to see how damaging that is to their cause. There are plenty of people like me, who just like music and don't care what kind it is. Too much "get off my lawn" makes The Infamous Stringdusters way more appealing than another G-C-D about a train.



    * I'm well aware Def Leppard is not a metal band

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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bowsman View Post
    I appreciate that the purists of any genre want to keep their chosen form from changing.
    I am not sure that is the characterization. I am coming around to Willie's point here.

    Its not the stability of the music that folks want to preserve, as much as the stability of the name of the genre to point to it. "Bluegrass" refers to something, something specific. Do what you want, play what you want, record what you want, change what you want, but don't use a name for it that is already taken.

    And I don't want to rehash what is and what isn't BG, or the theory of fuzzy sets or porous boundaries. I am just clarifying, I think, a significant distinction. Its not musical evolution that is troublesome. It is the losing of the language.
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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    Yea I know, language evolves too. But that is far more threatening.
    Indulge responsibly!

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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    I think Willie has a point.

    Lots of people now listen to country radio stations and say "that's not country", and the term "Classic Country" has come to mean all the old stuff from the 50s & 60s mostly.

    We might soon refer to "Classic Bluegrass" to separate the first generation music from all the derivative music that has evolved from "Classic Bluegrass". (see? I'm using it already. )

    I'm also waiting to see if "Americana" will find some categories instead of just meaning "music that doesn't fit any other name".
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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    The traditional bluegrass configuration of instruments, I believe, has a real good balance between different timbres, note attacks and sustains, rhythm, and all. Its a real tried and tested balance of instruments.

    It is no surprise that different kinds of music can work well with that combination of instruments. Punch Bros. do some amazing sounding music.

    I would want the experiments to continue, and to continue to gain popularity. Good music is good music.

    But, of course, it is not bluegrass. Anymore than everything played with an orchestra is classical.
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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    As JeffD mentions above,many 'different' styles of music may be played on the same grouping of instruments. We all know what 'Trad.' Bluegrass sounds like. If a band shows up with banjo / mandolin / guitar / fiddle & bass,but they don't play 'Trad.' Bluegrass music,simply listen & if you enjoy it,enjoy it. If you don't like it,go for a beer - or 'whatever'. For me,if the music is melodic & has good tunes,i'll usually enjoy it just to watch others play as much as anything. I'll watch,listen & see/hear what i can steal !!,
    Ivan

    PS - As i was re-reading my last 'post' - i realised what a contrast there was between Pete Seeger's angry outburst against Bob Dylan ''goin' 'lectric.'' & the general approval of Bill Monroe for Elvis Presley's version of ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky''. We know of course about '' them powerful royalty cheques -Yes Sir !'' - but not once have i read, or heard a comment about Bill Monroe disapproving of Elvis's version. Not only that,but BM was moved to re-record his own 'speeded up' version of ''Blue Moon..".

    Back in the UK Folk boom era,Pete Seeger played Manchester's old Concert hall,''The Free Trade Hall'' - i went to see him. A lone figure on stage,holding his signature 'long necked' banjo & singing
    songs that i found hard to relate to - '' 'tweren't no part of nothin' '' (for me). I was fine with Bob Dylan / James Taylor / Phil Ochs /Joan Baez etc. & our home grown UK 'Contemporary' Folkies.
    Last edited by Ivan Kelsall; Mar-15-2018 at 4:11am.
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  37. #46
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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    A song is not "bluegrass", the way it is played is bluegrass. A song about a cabin in the mountains or a train ( I don't think many traditionsal bluegrass songs are about trains, that's trad. Country) may be bluegrass or it may not. Hello Mary Lou may be bluegrass or it may not. The theme of trad. bluegrass lyrics may be heavy in mountain loar because that is where the music originated but this condeming trad. bluegrass because of the lyrics of songs is not what we traditionist or trying to hold on to. I too am of the camp that enjoys any good music but let's not call it bluegrass just because it has a banjo. I keep saying it ain't 'grass if it don't drive and may I say in passing that is why it is "simplistic" too "complex" looses the drive. Ralph Stanley said it's the hardest music in the world to play and if done right it is.

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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie Poole View Post
    ... I also remember when bluegrass pickers were noted as being drunks etc ...
    Same for oldtime. That's one of the reasons I bailed from music entirely for many years, got tired of being around all the drinking (after I'd quit drinking). It wasn't that it was a temptation because it wasn't, it's just that when you're sober and half the other people are sloppy drunk, they seem gross and you just don't want to be around it. It's like the old joke where the guy says that he "drinks to make other people seem more interesting," well when you're *not* drinking but they're falling-down drunk and playing music badly, it can be hard to find much common ground.

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  41. #48
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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    Ralph Stanley said it's the hardest music in the world to play and if done right it is.
    With all respect to the late Mr. Stanley, Bluegrass is by no means " the hardest music in the world to play".

    Maybe " the hardest music" he ever played - but compared to jazz and classical music? No way.

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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    With all respect to the late Mr. Stanley, Bluegrass is by no means " the hardest music in the world to play".Maybe " the hardest music" he ever played - but compared to jazz and classical music? No way.
    I always took it to mean that it was more than just a strings of notes, you had to not only feel it but just about live it to play it right. That's where I think a lot of the new bands fail, they are playing the right notes but they don't feel what they're playing, let alone live it. I'm sure the same can be said about jazz and classical. Personally I don't see how anyone can really get into vastly different music and excel at any one genre. If you excel at any music I think it's the hardest music in the world to play.

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    Default Re: Column: Where is Bluegrass Headed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    I always took it to mean that it was more than just a strings of notes, you had to not only feel it but just about live it to play it right. That's where I think a lot of the new bands fail, they are playing the right notes but they don't feel what they're playing, let alone live it. I'm sure the same can be said about jazz and classical. Personally I don't see how anyone can really get into vastly different music and excel at any one genre. If you excel at any music I think it's the hardest music in the world to play.
    Thank you, that was well said.

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