Category: Bluegrass History

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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Nashville

“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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Bill Monroe | Rosine, KY | Bluegrass Trails

“Pictures in the Old Homeplace testify to the brilliant 2001 restoration job performed to get the structure from almost ruin to its present form, a faithful representation of its 1917/1918 appearance both inside and out – the work was carried out by the Leatherwood Construction Company of Tennessee. Presented today as a museum to the life and times of Bill Monroe, the five-room wooden structure is filled with early 20th century-vintage furnishings, cherished family heirlooms, and mementos from Monroe’s illustrious 70-year musical career; awards, honours, and, of course, information on the history of the musical genre born within these walls. We know these walls can sing and dance, but if only these walls could talk.”

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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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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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Bluegrass Bible | ‘Bluegrass – A History’ by Neil V. Rosenberg

“The bluegrass bible? Quite possibly… I first picked (no pun intended) up a copy of Neil V. Rosenberg’s ‘Bluegrass – A History‘ in the gift shop of Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum during the summer of 2003. It was my first visit to Nashville… I’ve read the book… few times since. It warrants a few reads.”

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Tom T. Hall | Olive Hill, KY | Bluegrass Trails

“Portions of the Carter County town of Olive Hill, KY … were as quiet as we’d come to expect from rural Kentucky, but the town is both big enough (population over 1,500) to boast some activity and its residents curious enough to approach us wondering what on earth we obvious out-of-towners were doing poking around somewhere like Olive Hill. “Blame Tom T.”, we said. “Who else?”

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The Osborne Brothers | Hyden, KY | Bluegrass Trails

‘There were/are signs on Osborne Brothers Way on the outskirts of the town commemorating Sonny and Bobby, born here in 1937 and 1931 respectively and still with us today, but nothing that said Osborne Brothers in the veritable ghost town of Hyden itself. Firmly on the bluegrass map, the town hosts a popular multi-day annual bluegrass festival, The Osborne Brothers Hometown Festival, at the town’s Bobby Osborne Pavilion. The festival started in 1994 as a benefit for the Thousandsticks Volunteer Fire Department and Hyden hosted its 25th festival in August of 2018. Festival weekend is probably as good a time as any to visit the town, and if doing so you should find it a livelier than how we found late on a mid-October afternoon.’

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Kenny Baker | Jenkins, KY | Bluegrass Trails

“We did our pre-departure homework, so we were confident at the time that we’d find some reference in Jenkins or neighbouring Burdine/East Jenkins to master fiddler and former local boy Kenny Baker, best known for his 25-year tenure with Bill Monroe, the longest tenure of any of Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys. But no, nothing. Not on the streets of the town, nor among the foliage of the town’s Sam Bentley Cemetery. We came up short.”

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13 hours ago

My Grass Is Blue

🎉 BILL EMERSON | HAPPY BIRTHDAY 🎉

We’ve a biggun birthday shout-out today, y’all! It’s a huge -- M-A-S-S-I-V-E -- happy 83rd #bluegrassbirthday to one of the most influential 5 string banjo 🪕 players of all time, legendary banjo man Bill Emerson, founding member of The Country Gentlemen, a former Sunny Mountain Boy at the height of Jimmy Martin’s career, one-half of Emerson & Waldron (with Cliff Waldron), 20-year veteran and founder of Country Current, the United States Navy Band's bluegrass ensemble, and 2019 IBMA Hall of Fame inductee, born on this day, January 22, in 1938.

Happy birthday, Bill. 🪕 🎉

#bluegrass #bluegrassmusic #happybirthday #billemerson #billemersonbanjo #banjobirthday #birthdayboy #banjo #banjoman #banjolove #bluegrassbanjo #banjoplayer #bluegrassmusician #longlivebluegrass #onthisdayinbluegrass #otd #otdinmusic #thecountrygentlemen #jimmymartin #sunnymountainboy #emersonandwaldron #countrycurrent #legend #musiclegend #banjolegend
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