Mudcat Café message #1265444 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #73111   Message #1265444
Posted By: GUEST,sorefingers
06-Sep-04 - 02:42 PM
Thread Name: Is bluegrass an attitude?
Subject: RE: Is bluegrass an attitude?
As an unrepentant OT revivalist for the 5 string Banjo, I once sat in the middle of so many BGBs that I could not turn but hear yet another differnt style, but I was totaly floored listening to an old guy with few teeth, a coke bottle inside a cooler full of mountain-dew ( hooch/poteen to our cousins across the pond), and a couple of bodygaurds. Looking as if there he was nothing but a bag of bones, he played his Mandoline and sang - to me like a bird - so high I could not believe he was really male! Sitting on a log and 'preaching' there almost unseen by hundreds because of the sound of the other bands, the few lucky select few were entranced by the show. Anyway he talked a little to me and a few other visitors/tourists before he left and told us that what the bands there did was NOT Bluegrass.

I swear to this day he had to have been Bill M, but OC you never know out here who's who becuase of age, publicity etc. But I will assert that what he did is totaly unlike anything I ever heard any BGB play or sing, either before or since.

To me, what he did was pure Mountain music like the Blues, but with a western structures.

The other claim that BG is not as good as or different to OT is nonsense since Scruggs and a few more of that era were about as good on OT as uppicking. Don't take my word for it, go check it out yourself.

However I do notice today that instrument technology is bringing an end to an era, in every type of music. For example Earl Scruggs' original Banjo was topped with calf skin, ie hide, NOT plastic. So the sound of the 5 string is vastly different today. Another example, drums tops are now synthetic and the instrument is a weak shadow of its former self.

To me then, BG is about instrumentation, while attitude can help it ain't enough to get it done.