Are Bluegrass and Appalachia Synonymous?

Bluegrass and the Appalachian region have always had a strong connection to one another, however the question raised when discussing the two is this: Are bluegrass music and Appalachia synonymous? It is widely concluded that bluegrass music began with Bill Monroe who was born in Rosine, Kentucky. But wait! Rosine, Kentucky isn’t Appalachia! This might be true, however, it is in my opinion that while there is a lot of bluegrass music played and rooted in the Appalachian region, the music is not linked to the region necessarily by being solely played there. I think that what connects bluegrass music to Appalachia is not only the physical region, but the concepts and identity as well.
Just like in other genres of music, many people can connect to a certain song or genre. For example, someone who listens to country music songs about farming, trucks, fishing and hunting, and beer may not directly relate to these subjects, however they can relate to the emotion that is emitted from the music. The same goes for bluegrass music. While much of this type of music is written about coal mines, lost love, mountains, family/community, and other subjects pertaining to Appalachia, there are musicians and listeners across the country who relate to this genre; even across the world! There are bluegrass music festivals all over in places such as California and bluegrass styles appreciated all the way in China; for example, Abigail Washburn.


this video is of Abigail Washburn, showing how bluegrass music style can be appreciated all over the world.

Although bluegrass music is made and appreciated all over the world, its strongest ties reside in the Appalachian community. I think this is because of the importance of identity. Bluegrass music strongly identifies with the scene of Appalachia; the people, the lifestyle, etc. The music creates an identity of a culture that is associated with the Appalachian region.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *