FEB 16 [reading aids/guides]

As we begin to discuss the 2nd and 3rd generations of bluegrass performers we will be reading chapters  28, 33, 37, 45, 46, and 47 and an article on Jimmy Martin by Lance Leroy (we have watched Jimmy Martin in previous posts). Please view the following videos along with the readings:

The Country Gentlemen:

Notice Charlie Waller’s vocal style and range.

Do you notice anything different about John Duffey’s musical style from previous performers and mandolinists? (Also: please note his attire!)

What did Charlie Waller think about amplification and drums?

What did Waller think about venue size?

What does the interview seem to imply about the music’s growth (a mere generation after it’s “birth”)?

How do musicians make a living playing bluegrass? Are there other types of employment like this?

Larry Sparks

How did Larry Sparks begin performing?

What considerations were made in the creation of his album cover?

Do you know of similar accounts of bands touring? Do you have any insights into the life of a touring musician (any genre) in 2015?

Do fan clubs currently exist or have groups taken a different form?

Sam Bush

A very young Sam Bush with Bluegrass Alliance playing twin fiddles (Bush is the picker with the longer hair):

Performing alongside Tony Rice:

New Grass Revival:

According to the article by Alice Foster (Gerrard) what is the creative potential of bluegrass music for Bush? Where does he wish to explore his potential?

The Bluegrass Alliance

What is “newgrass?”

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

A more recent video clip narrated by Del McCoury is found below. Try to first listen to the song without watching the video… what do you hear? Then, watch the video… does your “hearing” of the song change? What stands out to you about the video in comparison to other popular videos on CMT?

Why did Neil Rosenberg have a difficult time putting DLQ in the “progressive” camp? How can we differentiate between evolutionary and revolutionary and what is the function of such terms?

The Johnson Mountain Boys and Lucketts, VA

What is the role of the audience in bluegrass? How did the Johnson Mountain Boys approach their audience?

Does their seem to be a difference between bands that work with a record label and bands that do not? (For instance, JMB’s worked through Rounder.)

Peter Rowan

How did Peter Rowan discover bluegrass?


post-return to bluegrass:

Does Rowan’s vision for music tend to be shared by all second generation pickers?

notes on readings 2.2.15

Mac Wisemen mentions a few of the following songs in his interview:

And later, by Flatt and Scruggs:

And today, by the Earls of Leicester:

Mac Wiseman (live with Lester Flatt)

Jim and Jesse as a country act:

Jim and Jesse’s as a more traditional bluegrass act with, “Cotton Mill Man,”

Jim and Jesse performing a gospel tune featuring the mentioned “cross-picking” mandolin playing:

A note on the relationship between jazz and bluegrass, with consideration to Mayne Smith’s points on p.76-77:


Further on the jazz/bluegrass discussion:

The New Lost City Ramblers are mentioned as being distinctly “not” bluegrass by readers of Sing Out:

Further, old time is more closely connected with dancing:

Resources for Oral History


Jan 17 2015 Phil Zimmermans house 4[An image from a recent interview-based project in Connecticut, Jan. 2015]

As we begin interviewing visitors and traveling to shows and venues, here are a few helpful guides:




a more journalistic view: http://www.fretboardjournal.com/features/online/how-interview-your-favorite-musician

We will discuss ethics and specific procedures in class. Please let me know if you have any questions.