Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Bluegrass Songs

  1. #1

    Default Bluegrass Songs

    Every now and then I demonstrate blacksmithing at a bluegrass festival.
    I see these groups, usually with a guitar, banjo, base and mandolin gathered in a circle away from the stage playing and they all seem to know exactly what they are doing. I was curious as to what songs they are playing that each one seems to know so well.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Va
    Posts
    2,376

    Default Re: Bluegrass Songs

    There are a lot of " standard" bluegrass songs that anyone into real bluegrass would know.also because this music is played basically by ear and with the ability to "fake" it we can jam and sound pretty good at least to the uninformed ear.

  3. #3
    Registered User flatpicknut's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    KC MO
    Posts
    213

    Default Re: Bluegrass Songs

    Fiddle tunes are especially popular for Bluegrass jamming. Even if everybody plays slightly different versions of the melodies for tunes like "Whiskey Before Breakfast" or "Red Haired Boy," the musicians know the chords for the tune and the basic flow of the melody and can take turns playing anything from the basic melody all the way up to total improv based on the chords.
    Doug Brock
    Eastman MD505, MD315
    Martin HD-28, D-18GE
    CA Guitars "Bluegrass Performer" (carbon fiber)

  4. #4
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    2,058
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Bluegrass Songs

    Yes there are "Bluegrass " standards and a double handful of fiddle tunes most intermediate and above players are familiar with. Much of the joy in attending festivals is falling into a jam with like minded and ability pickers. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  5. #5

    Default Re: Bluegrass Songs

    It's kind of like jazz standards. Everyone sort of knows "All of Me" or "Misty."

    There are a ton of these songs that even if you're not a bluegrass fan you *might* already know. John Henry, Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms, I'l Fly Away. These are generally built from folk songs and played by dozens of people. If you go to spotify and look for them you'll see dozens of artist doing them including famous ones. While Bluegrass isn't a quite true folk tradition-- it is built on one and a lot of this is handed down because the people around you and teach you do it this way. If you go to a jam that's far from your home, you might call a fiddle tune that you expect everyone knows and they'll stare at you blankly. Around me golden slippers is way more common than cripple creek for some reason, but if I go to colorado, that might be reversed.

    You'll also see a bunch of fiddle tunes which are instrumentals that act like "etudes" as people learn. Most instrument lessons will be built around these.

    Finally, one of the things about bluegrass that makes this work is its structure. In a rock band, everyone has to know each song individually because rhythms are different, they have pieces where instrumetns drop out, etc. but in a bluegrass jam, everyone has a specific role that they need to know how to fill. The bass plays on the 1 and the 3, the mandolin chops on the 2 and the 4, the guitar does a bass note/strum/bass note/strum pattern, etc. This gives the song its essential structure, and when it comes to solos, people can be more creative and since the rhythm is so structured, it keeps everything together.

  6. #6
    Registered User bradlaird's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Americus, GA
    Posts
    199
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Bluegrass Songs

    Papahoyt: Years ago I compiled a list of the most commonly played bluegrass jam session tunes. Here it is: http://www.bradleylaird.com/survival/index.html

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Gainesville, FL
    Posts
    2,351

    Default Re: Bluegrass Songs

    That is one of the neatest things about bluegrass. There is a fairly well known canon of songs. At festivals, you can just wander up to a jam with your instrument case and chances are you'll get invited to join in and you will be familiar with a majority of the songs they are playing. Plus they will be familiar with the stuff you play too.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    12,005

    Default Re: Bluegrass Songs

    Dey's all the same tunes, only the words and chords change.

  9. The following members say thank you to AlanN for this post:


  10. #9
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Statesville, NC
    Posts
    2,949

    Default Re: Bluegrass Songs

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanN View Post
    Dey's all the same tunes, only the words and chords change.
    Yeah. Just go ahead and learn all three.
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” ≠ “Accidentals”

  11. #10
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    2,058
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Bluegrass Songs

    The one with the VIm the one with the II and the one with the IIm ? R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  12. #11
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Kalamazoo, MI.
    Posts
    6,819

    Default Re: Bluegrass Songs

    It’s not a painfully difficult music I will admit but, there are times when you run across a band, like mine, that actually writes songs and instrumentals. Throws a wrench at guys that don’t necessarily catch the differences but, that’s how this music worked before the
    “I need tabs” or YouTube whining. It’s an aural tradition as well as oral. Listen, be with PEOPLE and learn something that’s just fun to do!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •