Author: samawinter

Bluegrass with a Stance

So maybe this isn’t politics, per se, but in the absence of a blog this week (time just got away from me) here is a fantastic song by Mandolin Orange addressing an issue that’s been in the news a lot lately: A poignant story of a love deemed sinful , Hey Adam explores the drawn out pain of … Continue reading Bluegrass with a Stance

Is it Bluegrass?

This week, I was confronted with a pretty simple question.   “Is this bluegrass?”   John Lawless, editor of the popular site Bluegrass Today, asked us this question, before admitting to registering it as a domain name for a future humor site poking fun at the question and the people who spend their time online asking it.   … Continue reading Is it Bluegrass?

Peter Rowan and the Dharma Blues

Before becoming a giant on the progressive bluegrass scene, Peter Rowan performed with the first giant of traditional bluegrass: Bill Monroe. Ditching Boston in 1965, Rowan found himself playing rhythm guitar for the Blue Grass Boys for two years, recording 14 sounds with Monroe before his departure. The more traditional bluegrass practiced by the Monroe, … Continue reading Peter Rowan and the Dharma Blues

The Magic Passport

I was just an impressionable kid from Switzerland, and this kind of music was the key to me learning what it meant to be American. It was like a magic passport.” –Peter Feldmann

A bit of a shock

It is always a bit of a shock to realize that the human career, which seems so brief from within, can embrace spans of time which have become historical.” -Robert Cantwell, Bluegrass Breakdown

The Roots of Innovation

“What distinguished the Monroe Brother’s music from the rest was perhaps that it best exploited the medium of radio by discovering ways to excel within its narrow auditory confines.” -Robert Cantwell, Bluegrass Breakdown Historian and Folklorist, Robert Cantwell, argues that Hillbilly artists like The Skillet Lickers found a new freedom in the recording studio, taking … Continue reading The Roots of Innovation

A Side Note:

A side note: Does Robert Cantwell’s description of Radio’s power to connect remind anyone else of the Internet’s role today? “Before the pervasive influence of network broadcasting, federal regulation, and commercial homogenization, the radio dial was an instrument of fantastic sweep and power, which could convey the listener aurally from region to region, city to city, and … Continue reading A Side Note:

If you think you can do it, do it.

Daddy heard the recording, and he told Mommy, “I can do as well or better. At least I don’t sing through my nose.” So, Mommy always would say “Well, Ernest, if you think you can do it, do it. Don’t just talk about it.” -Patsy Stoneman, 1991

The Evolution of Earnest V. Stoneman

In 1924, the musically inclined carpenter and occasional miner, Earnest Van Stoneman heard a recording by old time musician Hank Whittler, and decided he could do better. At the encouragement of his wife, Hattie, he left his home in Carroll Country, Virginia, and headed for New York, where he would soon record his first single … Continue reading The Evolution of Earnest V. Stoneman

So What is Bluegrass?

Hello, and welcome to my blog! Before I attempt to define bluegrass, let’s turn to the experts to get a rough idea of what bluegrass is. Folklorist and author of Bluegrass: A History, Neil Rosenberg, characterizes bluegrass first through its technical aspects, focusing on the use of acoustic instruments and the “mastery of virtuoso instrumental … Continue reading So What is Bluegrass?