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Thread: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

  1. #1
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    This topic came up elsewhere and deserves some airing here.

    Who do you think carries the torch? Some say Ricky Skaggs, others mentioned Del McCoury. But there are many others who would be appropriate candidates.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    When Peter Rowan sticks to grass I would put him very high on the list.

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    Registered User Fred Keller's Avatar
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    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    If there's someone else who knows more about Bill's style or plays the idiom better than Mike Compton--including Ricky, IMHO--then I desperately need enlightening. For my money his full band work with the NBB is about my favorite kind of full-on grass and his small group/solo mandolin work still bowls me over.
    Lost on the trails of The Deep North

  4. #4

    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    I'd have say Tater too.

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    Registered User Steve Cantrell's Avatar
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    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    Ditto, Fred. Compton doesn't sing like Monroe, but from a picking perspective it's him all the way.
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    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    Here's my vote...oops, wrong thread.
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    Has anyone got a picture of this torch?
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User Chris Biorkman's Avatar
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    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    Has anyone got a picture of this torch?
    Here it is.
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    Thanks Chris, I was wondering what it looked like.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  10. #10

    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    Everyone who plays Bluegrass!

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    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    I agree that everyone who plays bluegrass has a hand on the torch. Plus; style wise it's Mike Compton....period.

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    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    I'll "pass" on the torch! Looks like aweful hot picking to me!
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  13. #13

    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    Based on the wording of the question, we all (bluegrassers) do.

    Now, if you asked "who is Bill Monroe's true musical disciple?", that would be a different question.

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    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    Now, if you asked "who is Bill Monroe's true musical disciple?", that would be a different question.
    or to take it farther -- many of us are his musical disciples meaning we follow in his footsteps (some are just better than others) -- who is his chief disciple or number on torchbearer.

    I'd have to stand corrected -- I suggested Skaggs but as others pointed out Mike Compton is probably the living soul keeper of his mandolin style -- but may Skaggs the singing and showman part of it?
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    Registered User jefflester's Avatar
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    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    Here's a nice torch.


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    Registered User Dan Johnson's Avatar
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    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    there is a lot more to what I love about Bill Monroe than just mandolin playing... I love his singing, his style, his songs... for that complete a musician and bandleader you might have to look to... how the heck would I know?

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    Registered User swampy's Avatar
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    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    "All bluegrassers are carrying the torch" amen!!!, but Compton has the playing part down along with Ronnie, but the bandleader, musician, frontman guy...Del. Just the right amount of working the "down home" along with a little bit of worldly wisdom.

    Saw both Ricky and Del a couple of weeks ago, and Del was the real deal, while Ricky was more of a revue-vegas type thing.

  18. #18
    String Plucker Soupy1957's Avatar
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    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    I'd like to think that Frank Wakefield is the closest thing to the Bill Monroe style left around these days.........I supposed you were thinking of answers from the younger set, and in that case, I'd say perhaps Ricky Skaggs, but he's too clean.

    Frank offers a taste of the old style, not necessarily all polished and clean, ..........if I could just get past his backward talking I'd be a happy man.

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    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    I think Ricky is trying to sound the most like Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys. Not on all the stuff they play and sing as evidenced by several of his recordings. I love Skaggs' "instrumentals" recording but it certainly isn't Monroe-esque IMHO. But Ricky has the big band, carries around one of his Loars or a RSDMM, and is definitely the leader of the group. and from stories of some of his band members, has a "my way or the highway" attitude that I think Monroe exhibited as well.

    There are a lot of excellent bluegrass bands out there that have been playing for a long time. Del and The Boys and Doyle and Quicksilver are two that immediately come to mind. But they tend to have their own sound. They don't try to sound like Bill as much as I think Ricky does. Ricky and Bill obviously has a pretty close friendship and I think Ricky wants to continue Bills music, he just goes about it in a bit of a self-serving way.

    Now as far as mandolin playing, Monroe-style manalin pickin' just doesn't get any better than Mike Compton. He understands the nuances of all of Bill's styles and tunes. He's a walking encyclopedia on the subject though he'd never take credit for it. That's one of the big differences between Compton and Skaggs and has probably contributed to some words between them.

    So what's my point?? Ricky is an extremely gifted musician whose ego gets in the way of being able to connect with some of his fans. And I'd bet many of the folks that don't care for him are probably pickers of some sort. Ma and Pa Jones that just enjoy bluegrass music and going to the occassional festival probably LOVE Ricky!

  20. #20

    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    You can't carry on the torch if you play like Bill. He wasn't playing like anyone. The next person to completely change the American acoustic lexicon will carry in the torch. Until a brilliant person with a genuine, coherent, and deep understanding of their unique community can communicate that set of knowledge through their music, there won't be another Bill Monroe.

    If you wanna play like Bill, don't plat like Bill.(Danny Barnes, I think)
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    Quote Originally Posted by sgarrity View Post
    I Ricky is an extremely gifted musician whose ego gets in the way of being able to connect with some of his fans.!


    Well if that ain't the Bill Monroe torch right there.

    Oh, ... never mind.
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  22. #22
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    I guess I made a point without even knowing it!

  23. #23
    Registered User evanreilly's Avatar
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    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    I don't think any current musician is carrying 'the torch' of Bill Monroe.
    As far as just extrapolating his mandolin style/feeling/soul, I vote for Mike Compton.
    But:
    Who has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame?
    And the Nashville Songwriters HOF?
    And the Bluegrass HOF?
    And there is one more HOR as well...
    It isn't just his mandolin playing!

    P.S. he let me carry his mandolin case a few times; does that count?

  24. #24

    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    Ditto on Wakefield.

  25. #25

    Default Re: who carries Bill Monroe's torch?

    Many aspects to the Torch question. I would say someone who is a pioneer in breaking new ground for a particular type of music and making it big would be one. Then the answer is different and wouldn't be Mike Compton or someone trying to emulate Bill's style...

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