Category: #bluegrassclassVT15

Gender in Bluegrass

Over the past few weeks we have been going over gender in bluegrass. Discussing the hardships that women had to go through in order to create their space in the genre. Surprisingly, most of the speed-bumps came from other women who did not think that a woman should travel and do shows, but instead stay … Continue reading Gender in Bluegrass

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

Don’t Put Her Down You Helped Put Her There

(This is Don’t Put Her Down You Helped Put Her There by Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard if the link won’t play)  Well, there’s more to her than powder and paint Than her peroxided, bleached out hair Well, if she acts that way, it’s cause you had your day Don’t put her down, you helped … Continue reading Don’t Put Her Down You Helped Put Her There

Gender Roles in Bluegrass Music

When I think of bluegrass music I do not automatically think of a certain gender or a certain race, I focus my attention more on the music itself and how the instruments are strummed and the melodies are sung. I have noticed recently that this genre does have a strong connotation with men, specifically middle … Continue reading Gender Roles in Bluegrass Music

“Is there a link between Bluegrass Music and Sexuality?”

When I first became interested in looking deeper into bluegrass I didn’t exactly realize that there was a lack of women present on stage and on the albums. I guess part of that is because the norm that is set for bluegrass performances is a stern group of men standing in a line across a […]

It’s Hard to tell the Singer From the Song

During class on Wednesday our bluegrass class watched “It’s Hard to tell the Singer From the Song”. This movie tells the story of Hazel Dickens who is a bluegrass singer songwriter who has a unique sound that highlights issues like unions and the feminist movement. Dickens hails from Mercer County, West Virginia along with eleven […]

“It’s a boy!” (or how we gender instruments here on the fourth floor of West Ambler Johnston)

This week, I had the pleasure of reading Murphy Henry’s (founder of the Women in Bluegrass magazine) keynote address from the 1998 IBMA Trade Show. In the process of describing the successes achieved and the remaining obstacles faced by women in the genre, she touched upon the idea of gendered instruments, something I’d never really … Continue reading “It’s a boy!” (or how we gender instruments here on the fourth floor of West Ambler Johnston)

Performance and Gender Bias in Bluegrass

When considering women’s space in Bluegrass, or even music in general, there are inherent struggles that women face within these communities.  Women are confronted with the dilemma of celebrating traditional Bluegrass forms or reinventing what it means to be a “Bluegrass” artist.  However, the genre’s lyrical content very strongly upholds social norms, with Anglo and patriarchal biases. … Continue reading Performance and Gender Bias in Bluegrass

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

The Carter Family and Carolina Chocolate Drops

  In class we have been discussing the gender, race and class struggles within Bluegrass music. It is clear that Bluegrass was, and to a point, still is, primarily a white men music. Most all of the Bluegrass performers in the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s, were white males. The Carter Family was one of … Continue reading The Carter Family and Carolina Chocolate Drops