Which is better? The Home-place or the Destination?

What would bluegrass be without the home-place? Most of the basis for bluegrass music comes from Old Time Music which originated mainly away from the metropolitan areas and in large part Appalachia. Most bluegrass artists were born and raised within a small town and in large part reference the cultural aspects that Appalachia has come to be famous for. For example Bill Monroe and Ricky Skaggs are both from Kentucky and are largely recognized as two of the greats from the genre. But what if this home-place never existed? Would Bluegrass even be around? I would argue that it would be highly unlikely for something like bluegrass to be around. It is considered a blend of many different musical cultures and the most blended rural cultural region in America is Appalachia. It seems to me that around 30-40% of bluegrass songs mention home and how they miss it or want to go back. Therefore the basis for most bluegrass songs may not even exist if Appalachia never existed.

My second question is would bluegrass be the same without cities? Popularity for bluegrass in big cities has grown ever since the 1950s. I think that living in the city makes you starved for areas that have natural beauty or some rustic qualities that remind them of the stereotypical home-place. If cities didn’t exist, I don’t think bluegrass would have played the same pivotal role in folk music evolution. Nationwide recognition would not have happened if bluegrass had not reached New York, DC, or Los Angeles. Artists would go to these areas generally seeking a better economic turnout. Their songs may have also differed if they had never left the home-place to begin with. I think that the journey bluegrass artists generally take from the small rural area to the big cities give them the experimental material to write bluegrass songs. Therefore the home-place and the big cities are equal and have symbiotic relationship when it comes to bluegrass. I’ve included a song by Tony Rice called Old Home Place

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Which is better? The Home-place or the Destination?

  1. Jordan Laney says:

    Thank you so much for including this song– one of my all time favorites!

    I am wondering how your post would differ if you ask, rather than “which is better”, the simple questions , why or how? How is a “home place” identification with the music different than an identity that resonates with the music through one’s journey? What is the difference between a home-place and a destination? In what ways are they the same?

    Further, how does music serve these different groups? How does bluegrass cultivate both a destination and a home place? A history and a future? Lots to think about!

Leave a Reply

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