Mudcat Café message #1271676 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #73111   Message #1271676
Posted By: GLoux
13-Sep-04 - 11:18 PM
Thread Name: Is bluegrass an attitude?
Subject: RE: Is bluegrass an attitude?
Disclaimer--

Before I state my opinion, let me say that it is not my purpose to be argumentative, nor to taunt the argumentative others in this thread who clearly haven't scratched the surface of old-time music, but won't let that stop them from voicing their negative opinions. Also, I feel limited by the general lack of what I'll call bandwidth of this forum to make a convincing argument. I'd feel much more comfortable sitting in front you each of you with my instruments nearby, and the rest of my band sitting next to me.

Ron Davies--

From your post above, it is clear you haven't read the well-written and well-considered definitions of old-time music that I posted links to. I wish you would because they were written by writers better than me.

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Classic square dance music IS old-time music. Fiddle, banjo, guitar, and, many times, upright bass with a great caller who energizes and motivates a room full of dancers for an evening has been deemed "the most fun you can have with your clothes on"...I have played hundreds of square dances and hope to play thousands more.

But, old-time music is not limited to square dance music. If you would invest the time to see an old-time CONCERT by one of the best, current, young old-time bands (the ones that come to mind: Big Medicine, Foghorn String Band, Dirk Powell, Bruce Molsky, ...) you'd find yourself entertained by great instrumentals, but also by songs by competent singers who have immersed themselves in the tradition and/or revival of old-time music. You would hear the roots of not only bluegrass, but also, western swing, contemporary country, folk, and other genres and you would be also probably be confused, as I am, by the blurring of the distinction between early acoustic blues and old-time. Or, start investigating the available source recordings of "the masters"...or dig deeper to find some still-around, authentic old-time. Go see Joe Thompson...is he old-time or blues?

If you're familiar with the "Oh, Brother" movie and soundtrack (which I mention only because of its popularity), then you've heard Ralph Stanley sing Dock Boggs' "Oh, Death". Is it instrumental music played repetitively? Is it square dance music? Is it bluegrass? Is it blues? No, it is old-time music.

You can't put a box around old-time music. Those who try, expose themselves as uninformed, in my humble opinion. It is a broad, rich spectrum of great music.

Even though I put the "disclaimer" at the top of this, I expect I'll get flamed for this, but I feel better anyway...

-Greg