Mudcat Café message #3113625 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #73111   Message #3113625
Posted By: Stringsinger
14-Mar-11 - 02:23 PM
Thread Name: Is bluegrass an attitude?
Subject: RE: Is bluegrass an attitude?
There is "attitude" among some members of bluegrass but the same can be said for
almost any musical endeavor.

Why are there so few African-American bluegrass players (if any?)

Bluegrass started in the gas fields up in Indiana. Bill Monroe had "The Bluegrass Boys"
hence the term Bluegrass which had little to do with Kentucky.

The chord structures are not interesting. The gymnastic aspects of playing fast, predictable licks is evident.

The best, like Scruggs, if you slow his banjo playing down, is precisely in rhythm whereas many of the bluegrass banjo hot shots are not.

The lyrics for bluegrass songs have been watered down so much that they appear to be
vacant as many of the output from Country commercial music or bland pop.

I've seen too many rebel flags at bluegrass festivals to make me comfortable there.

The important thing is that like most folk music, it is accessible to people by which they can learn to play music and enjoy it. That's the best part.

To try to "nationalize" bluegrass music as belonging to a certain sub-culture is futile.
It may work for those who are bluegrass snobs (and they exist) but it is like jazz which is an acculturated musical form that borrows from many sources. Unlike jazz, it is not
as creative with the exception of Bela and others who want to extend the form.

The Stanley Brothers carry with their performance folk music roots from Appalachia which inform their music with tradition and vitality. They are not so "slick" as the other bands you hear. They have the redolent quality of old-time mountain dance music.

The quote of Bluegrass as being "folk music with overdrive" comes from Alan Lomax and should be attributable to him.

Bluegrass as a musical form is too new to have developed in the way that jazz and blues have but there is promise as long as it is allowed to expand musically and lyrically.