Author: bluegrassjam34

A Semester in Review

This past semester has flown by, thanks to the fun I’ve had in our Bluegrass class. I was initially hesitant about this class, that we would be discussing the technical side of music, note reading, and instrumentation. To my surprise, we covered instead bluegrass’s influential role in everything from modern rock and roll, to its … Continue reading A Semester in Review

Gender in Bluegrass Culture

Bluegrass has been, and still is, a musical genre dominated by white males, usually between the ages of 18 and 40. Why is it that so many other genres today are full of female artists and groups, yet bluegrass has struggled to showcase their female talents? Up until the early 2000’s, very few female bluegrass … Continue reading Gender in Bluegrass Culture

Genres and Artists in Appalachia

Bluegrass is often considered an Appalachian musical genre, and most people associate the tunes of the banjo, fiddle and other instruments to this region. However, bluegrass has roots from all parts of world, with the banjo originally from Africa, the dobro from Hawaii and a medley of musical influences from blues, jazz, folk and other … Continue reading Genres and Artists in Appalachia

Bluegrass Festivals

Today, Bluegrass and Folk Music Festivals are extremely popular scenes,  and draw both large audiences and important exposure for musicians. However, the idea of having a festival for bluegrass music was not always popular, and was in some places actively resisted. When Bluegrass was emerging onto the national stage, most bluegrass performances occurred at recording … Continue reading Bluegrass Festivals

Relations between place and music

What type of music you listen to or the type you are exposed to often depends most on where you are. Different physical and cultural regions all have varying musical preferences, and can heavily influence those who grow up in these areas. Even within genres we have sub-genres, that can often have distinct differences and … Continue reading Relations between place and music

Politics in Bluegrass

One of our readings this week is a text titled simply “Music and Politics” by John Street. He describes how music, despite being considered one of the purest and powerful forms of free speech and expression, is constantly subjugated to censorship, political pressure, religious bashing and threats, and sometimes outright bans. Every genre of music … Continue reading Politics in Bluegrass

Discussion with John Lawless

This week in class we were lucky enough to meet with John Lawless, main editor and author for Bluegrass Today, one of bluegrass’s top websites for news and information. He has been writing and reporting on bluegrass for over ten years, as well as being a talented banjo player. He discussed several topics with us, … Continue reading Discussion with John Lawless

Origin of the Five String Banjo

The 5-string banjo is considered one of bluegrass’s most important and historical instruments, and is one of the most easily recognized instruments in the world. The banjo itself can be traced back to Africa, where they were made using animal skins and gourds as the base. A  stick was used as the neck, with no … Continue reading Origin of the Five String Banjo

2nd & 3rd Generation Musicians: Tony Rice

One of the most influential bluegrass musicians of the 20th & 21st centuries, as well as one of the top guitarists of our time, Tony Rice has left an enormous impact on modern bluegrass music. As said by Alison Krauss, “There’s no way it can ever go back to what it was before him”. A … Continue reading 2nd & 3rd Generation Musicians: Tony Rice