Author: derekv

Mixtape – Bluegrass: Transcending Genre & Race, Uniting in Place

Introduction Appalachia has been known for the larger part of history as a primarily white Anglo-saxon population. The truth of the matter is that Appalachian culture and heritage happens to be as rich as the soil that sprouts its tobacco and as diverse as its mountainous terrain. That being said, bluegrass is largely claimed as … Continue reading Mixtape – Bluegrass: Transcending Genre & Race, Uniting in Place

Learning from Experience

“Experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is mere intellectual play.” Overall, I can thank this class for giving me a larger appreciation for everything Appalachia. Before taking this class I had never taken a course in the school of Appalachian Studies, but I have found few classes as rewarding as this one. … Continue reading Learning from Experience

Listen to Your Mother

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”  – John Burroughs As artist paint a scene on canvas, so too do musicians create images, evoke feelings, and remind us of scenes we have witnessed or enjoy imagining. In many ways the music we listen to reminds … Continue reading Listen to Your Mother

The Queen

For years Rhonda Vincent has won over the hearts of millions of fans with her animated performances, pleasing harmony, and southern charm. The respect and widespread adoration for Vincent has granted her, in the minds of many, the title of “the queen of bluegrass. At the age of eight she was playing mandolin, and by … Continue reading The Queen

Roots & Sprouts

I have always had an extremely high interest in new music, emerging artists, and the evolution of the sounds of a genre over time. However, in the last several months, after deciding to take a course on bluegrass music, I have redirected my attention to music, both old and new, that has come from my … Continue reading Roots & Sprouts


Music has always been a quintessential aspect of culture and human expression. Long before music became the billion dollar industry that it is today, songs could be heard at family gatherings, celebrations, and other social events. Instruments have been throughout history, tools that create a language that has the ability to transcend any kind of … Continue reading Audible-ogrophy

Don Rigsby: 4th Generation

Don Rigsby is native to the remote, backwoods town of Isonville, Kentucky, an area rich with bluegrass tradition. He was raised in a family of talented Bluegrass and Old-Time musicians. It only made sense for him to pursue a career in the sounds and traditions he was brought up around. As many bluegrass musicians of … Continue reading Don Rigsby: 4th Generation

David Grisman: Dawg Music

David Grisman is widely considered as the most influential mandolin player in the 2nd generation of bluegrass. He is known and associated not just with bluegrass, but also for his jazz and folk influence. The meshing of these genres was often difficult to classify. When asked what style of music he played, Grisman would often … Continue reading David Grisman: Dawg Music

Traditional Plus

“When Merle and I started out we called our music ‘traditional plus,’ meaning the traditional music of the Appalachian region plus whatever other styles we were in the mood to play.” – Doc Watson Music seems to always be evolving, no matter what genre, what country, or what time period. Part of the beauty of … Continue reading Traditional Plus

Roscoe Holcomb: Mountain Wholesome

Roscoe Holcomb was born in 1912, just one year after Bill Monroe, in Daisy, Kentucky. He is said to have influenced artists such as Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton and was greatly admired by the Stanley Brothers. Holcomb is credited as one of the founders of the “High and Lonesome” sound. His voice is echoes … Continue reading Roscoe Holcomb: Mountain Wholesome