Category: Featured

2020 In Memoriam

“Remembering some of those we lost, from the bluegrass community and beyond, during the utterly forgettable twelve months of 2020.”

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Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum

“It is a rather convenient forty miles from the birthplace of bluegrass — the brilliantly restored Bill Monroe Homeplace in the hills over Rosine, KY — to Owensboro, KY. For a straight up bluegrass pilgrimage, the latter doesn’t quite hold the weight, nor the aura, of the former. That said, Owensboro’s (new) Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum, the city’s awesome one-of-a-kind showcase of all things bluegrass, should not be missed. The only museum of its kind in the world is, not surprisingly, dedicated to telling the story of the relatively short history of the bluegrass genre, the instruments at the core of its unique sound, and the gifted musicians who have brought the music to life and shaped it down through the years.”

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The Station Inn

“It’s simple. It’s small. It’s unassuming, both inside and out. But the dark and intimate listening room that is Nashville’s Station Inn is the Music City bluegrass mecca. Located in the trendy and hip Gulch district of the city, this first-come, first-served cash-on-the-door-only venue has been ‘Forever Bluegrass’ since its opening in 1974. Legends have performed here. Ground-breaking and award-winning bands have been formed through relationships forged here. And for artists, many of whom view it as the nation’s hub of live bluegrass music, it’s both a career highlight and honour to perform here.”

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SiriusXM Bluegrass Junction

“Since its 2001 launch Bluegrass Junction has had its primary residence in Nashville… located behind the blue glass walls of the cylindrical Arena tower of Downtown Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena… the Bluegrass Junction studios are, rather appropriately, in eyeshot of the city’s iconic Ryman Auditorium, upon whose stage bluegrass, the genre the channel promotes, was born in December of 1945.”

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“We had a few nights of gallivanting around Nashville, time enough to find some real country music and bluegrass. Both are here. You just need to know where to look (and to avoid Lower Broadway). We found and enjoyed happy helpings of both courtesy of Opryland’s Nashville Palace, a mere drunken stagger from our room in the Fiddler’s Inn and Nashville’s self-titled ‘Home of Traditional Country Music’, and the simple but intimate setting of The Station Inn, famously ‘Forever Bluegrass’ since 1974. In between we paid a visit to the studios of Sirius XM’s Bluegrass Junction and 650AM WSM, not to mention a visit to both Oprys, the old (the venerated Ryman Auditorium) and the new (Opryland’s Grand Ole Opry House).”

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Seth Mulder & Midnight Run | Ireland 2020

Seth Mulder & Midnight Run is high-energy, traditional bluegrass with a ‘fresh approach to the ‘High Lonesome sound’. One of the most entertaining bluegrass acts on the scene today, we are huge fans of these guys, and if you had but a single bluegrass-lovin’ bone in your whole body then you’d understand why. We hadn’t planned on seeing three shows of their exhaustive early 2020 Ireland & UK tour, but we did. We kept going back for more.”

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Lester Flatt & Benny Martin | Sparta, TN | Bluegrass Trails

“… Sparta is small-town musical Tennessee with some big-name former residents, one of which, Lester Flatt, is one of the most influential proponents of the bluegrass sound he helped to pioneer. Present-day Sparta is grabbing this association with both hands and running with it, even going so far as to brand itself as ‘Bluegrass USA’, and who could blame it if doing so is going to attract the likes of bluegrass-lovin’ us.”

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Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver | Apply Now

“Probably no band of late better signifies the revolving door nature of a bluegrass ensemble than does Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. With the recent announcement of banjo man Joe Dean’s departure from the band, hot on the heals of fiddler Stephen Burwell’s departure announcement last week and dobro ace Josh Swift’s in January, Doyle Lawson is probably frantically scouring Craigslist in a bid to find the latest Quicksilver members (not really; we’re pretty sure he has more appropriate and established channels as he has excelled in this aspect of bluegrass band HR since Quicksilver’s formation in 1979).”

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Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen | Bluegrass Island 2018

“At the risk of offending, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen… is a Marmite band, an informal British-based term meaning in this case that you either like their line-muddying, boundary-pushing, refuses-to-be-pigeonholed brand of bluegrass or you don’t … however you class their take on the genre, the quartet, collectively the IBMA’s Instrumental Group of the Year in 2016 (they sing as well, by the way), let their instruments speak for themselves, and speak they do. I guess that’s why I hit record on my camera. Three times, for three choice morsels, you could say.”

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Ricky Skaggs | Europe 1985

“Only a 9-year-old me would have the gumption to solicit Ricky’s attention mid-set during the Dublin leg of his 1985 European tour, his first tour as a bandleader at the height of his 1980’s country success and a tour that would spawn an album, ‘Live In London’, that would leave an indelible impression on me.”

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12 hours ago

My Grass Is Blue

✝️ PETE SEEGER | JANUARY 27, 2014 ✝️

Remembering folk singer, passionate social and political activist, and banjo championer Pete Seeger who died on this day, January 27, in 2014.

ℹ️ Although prominent in the folk genre, Seeger championed the banjo like very few artists of any genre. His love for the instrument started in the summer of 1936 when he heard Samantha Bumgarner frailing on a five-string at the Mountain Dance & Folk Song Festival in Asheville, NC, a "conversion experience" for the then 17-year-old Seeger. By the 1940s Seeger had become an avid student of all things banjo, had developed a unique perspective on the instrument, and was one of the few artists in the public eye making the banjo ring. And then he published his seminal work.

💬 “If Pete Seeger’s How to Play the 5-String Banjo isn’t the banjo picker’s bible, it’s something close to it: an ur-text that launched a thousand flying–or perhaps, fumbling–fingers.” – Fretboard Journal

It was in 1948 that Seeger first wrote and self-published his revolutionary 41-page manual that he entitled How to Play the 5-String Banjo. Still in print today and now in its third edition (2013), it had expanded to 72 pages by 1969. ‘Massively influential’ according to Fretboard Journal’s Pete Seeger profile (FJ#15, August 2009, reproduced online in January 2014 - see link below), this 1969 edition included ‘revisions covering trends like the pioneering three-finger, bluegrass wail of Earl Scruggs (which, according to Neil V. Rosenberg’s Bluegrass: A History, Seeger first heard around 1950) and the similar but less aggressive style of Ralph Stanley and his forward rolls.’

Accompanying the book is a recorded instructional album on playing the instrument, explaining and providing examples of basic tunings, strums, and techniques such as “hammering on” and “pulling off” and other aspects of playing. First released in 1954, both the book and the recording have influenced aspiring banjo players for generations.

💬 “It was the only thing like it at the time, as far as I know. Before that, most of the knowledge was handed down from person to person, and not much of that was happening up in the North. That was mostly a down-South thing, so as far as the urban development of banjo players, it was vital.” – Eric Weissberg

Pete Seeger died at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan on January 27, 2014 at the age of 94. His passion for reaching the hearts and minds of those who would listen was summed up by the iconic inscription on his banjo "This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender".

🔗 | Fretboard Journal, January 2014 ‘Banjo Bible: Pete Seeger’s Book That Launched a Thousand Fingers’ >>>

#bluegrass #bluegrassmusic #longlivebluegrass #bluegrasshistory #onthisdayinbluegrass #OTDinbluegrass #otdinmusic #OTD #musichistory #peteseeger #peteseegerbanjo #banjo #banjoman #banjoplayer #banjoist #banjohistory #bluegrassmusician #bluegrassquotes #folk #folkmusic
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