Bluegrass week starts on Monday September 24th and many of the world's bluegrass professionals and fans will be gathering in Nashville, Tenn. for the International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass. The week kicks off with a four day business conference which will feature seminars and showcases by established and upcoming talent followed by the IBMA Awards on Thursday night. Fan fest kicks off on Friday with an entire weekend crammed with some of the best bluegrass music in the business. more...
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Earl Scruggs, inventor of the bluegrass banjo sound died yesterday March 28, 2012. He was 88 years old. Scruggs defined the banjo sound of Bill Monroe's bluegrass boys and later joined Lester Flatt as Flatt & Scruggs in their own touring outfit. Every banjo player since either plays Scruggs style or is at least aware of it. The bluegrass world has lost yet another pioneer.
The Tennessean reported yesterday: Earl Scruggs, Country Music Hall of Famer and bluegrass innovator, dies at age 88
Here's a version of "Foggy Mountain Top" featuring Earl Scruggs on banjo, Sonny Osborne on gitjo, John Hartford on fiddle, Terry Eldredge on guitar, Roy Huskey Jr. on bass and Larry Perkins on lead guitar. The track is available on Larry Perkin's album A Touch of the Past. Buy Larry Perkins - A Touch of the Past here
"Foggy Mountain Top"
Richard Thompson, over at Bluegrass Today wrote a great article on the history of the Bean Blossom Festival. While Bill Monroe was alive, he owned a music park in Bean Blossom, IN. Today the park is called the Bill Monroe Memorial Music Park and Campground and is still the home of numerous music festivals each year. The park has a storied history that many fans and musicians that have visited the park celebrate to this day. Check out Mr. Thompson's article for more information on the history of Bean Blossom. more...
A great way to stay current on your local bluegrass scene is to join on of the many bluegrass associations around the country. Many such organizations even have printed or email newsletters to keep you informed of local events. Most of these associations host their own concerts or festivals and host jam sessions for local musicians to get together to make music and new friends. Larger organizations such as the California Bluegrass Association and the Southeastern Bluegrass Association are great examples of very active groups with lots of members. However, many smaller areas have bluegrass associations as well such as Boston Bluegrass Union or the Northern Indiana Bluegrass Association. A quick Google search will probably allow you to find a local association to join or take a look at this great list of associations from the Southwest Bluegrass Association. Any way you decide to go, connecting with a local bluegrass association is a great way to connect with other bluegrass enthusiasts and is an especially great way to connect with other musicians if you're trying to learn an instrument. more...
If you don't already know, IBMA is short for the International Bluegrass Music Association. Every fall the IBMA holds a business conference and fan fest known as the World of Bluegrass. Industry professionals and artists gather in Nashville to discuss issues facing the genre and the music industry as a whole and to perform in front of some of the leading promoters, booking agents, labels, disc jockeys and other industry taste-makers. more...
The International Bluegrass Music Museum has a great short history of bluegrass music if you need a quick primer but there are also a couple of books that you might want to check out:
Bluegrass Breakdown by Robert Cantwell
Homegrown Music: Discovering Bluegrass by Stephanie P. Ledgin
Undoubtedly you'll hear about Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys who were the real kickstarter to the genre and in fact 2011 marks the year of what would have been Bill Monroe's 100th birthday. The Bluegrass Blog has been posting about Mr. Monroe every day since October 1, 2010 so if you want to learn a LOT about Bill, The Bluegrass Blog is a great start.
If you'd like to hear Bill Himself all you have to do is run a search at your favorite music retailer and you'll find more titles than you can shake a stick at. Unfortunately, Pinecastle Records was founded a little too late to have any original Bill Monroe recordings but we do have recordings from a few artists who played in Mr, Monroe's band the Bluegras Boys:
These were found from a list compiled by Stewart Evans on his website. more...