Author: eboggs

Gender Shifts in Bluegrass

Bluegrass is historically and presently a male-dominated genre of music (I believe the same goes for any genre of music, with maybe the exception of modern pop). Women in bluegrass typically played the bass–which meant they were in the back of a band. They also played with male family members, which implies a certain scope of dependency … Continue reading Gender Shifts in Bluegrass

Research Paper Spoilers

This is an excerpt from the first draft of my research paper. It’s on traditional music and bluegrass in Montgomery County and Giles County. It’s under revision so any feedback would be great! The existence of old time music and bluegrass in Montgomery County—which is a geographically defined Appalachian community—sustains Appalachian culture for its inhabitants. … Continue reading Research Paper Spoilers

Music, Place, and People

Bluegrass is intertwined into Appalachian culture as a folk tradition–folk being the key word here. Folk has different connotations depending on the context. It can mean a genre of music, a qualitative characteristic of culture and art, or simply people in general.  These three definitions of folk come together in bluegrass. Our class discussion this … Continue reading Music, Place, and People

Potentially Political

John Street argues that music and politics are active extensions of each other (I haven’t read the whole book so that’s the simple version). It’s hard to disagree; politics feed off power struggles and music retains power as a voice of human expression. Street hesitates with the idea that everything is political or that all music is political. There … Continue reading Potentially Political

Good Music

In class today, John Lawless (co-founder of Bluegrass Today) talked a lot about a divide in bluegrass music. This divide typically looks like argument over what is and what is not true bluegrass. Is it a traditional style after the genre’s founding fathers? Or is it a progressive sound that continues to evolve? Lawless posed a … Continue reading Good Music

Larry Sparks Has Been Places

It’s an illusion you can get sometimes when you’ve been driving hard for a long while:  that you are standing still while the unheeding road slips under you.  Then you shake it off and things slip back into their regular order. Larry Sparks is going places. Tom Teepen starts his exposé on “traveling bluegrass” with … Continue reading Larry Sparks Has Been Places

Jazz Influences in Bluegrass

Robert Cantwell’s article, Hillbilly Music, outlines the influences of 1930s industrial America on Bill Monroe and his music.  I was most interested in New Orleans and Chicago’s contribution to bluegrass through jazz. New Orleans jazz followed the tradition of one lead instrument throughout an entire song.  Louis Armstrong changed all that by introducing “breaks” or solos … Continue reading Jazz Influences in Bluegrass

Emmett Lundy Bio

At a glance: Born 1864 in Grayson Co., VA Learned to play the fiddle as a teenager Played at social gatherings, jammed with other musicians in the area, and performed at a 1920s Galax fiddlers’ convention Only commercial recordings are two duets with Ernest Stoneman Recorded in 1941 by Alan and Elizabeth Lomax for the Library … Continue reading Emmett Lundy Bio

Definition of Bluegrass

Bluegrass is music embedded in Appalachia.  The genre has roots in country music, but also draws from British and African traditional music.  Bluegrass’s flexible sound comes from a variety of string instruments and vocal styles. The music communicates the values of rural and Appalachian culture, with emphasis on nostalgia and hardship.