The news that a film is being made about the life of the Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe (left), has been around for some time and must interest any bluegrass enthusiast. So thanks to Aran Sheehan of the Bluestack Mountain Boys for sending a link to an article by Keith Lawrence in the Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, KY, which appears on the California Chronicle website.
The film is already well provided for leading actors, music director, and script writer; but among concerned parties there are naturally differing views about the general direction of the story and where it should be set. Read more here.
It is hoped the film will be released next year, as 2011 will be the centenary of Bill Monroe’s birth.
Charlie Louvin once said that bluegrass is just a song speeded up three times faster than it was originally recorded, “I don’t care if it’s ‘White Christmas.’” A little stereotyped, but he did have a point.
Bluegrass makes more use of instruments such as banjo and mandolin. Also, bluegrass does not use electrical instruments, it’s all acoustic.
As for lyric content, many bluegrass acts rely on old country (and sometimes rock!) songs to record. Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver won an IBMA award for “song of the year” one year (think it was 2001) for “Blue Train (of the Heartbreak Line),” which was an old hit for country singer George Hamilton IV that was written by John D. Loudermilk. Lawson’s also covered the 1960s hit “Yellow River” and does a lot of Delmore Brothers/Browns Ferry Four and Louvin Brothers songs. Alison Krauss has recorded old country songs AND old rock songs (she did a cover of the Bad Company song “Oh Atlanta” for instance). So lyrics have little to do with it, although I will say that a lot of bluegrass acts do tend to dig out those great old “murder ballads. In fact, there was a bumper sticker at one bluegrass festival that said, “Stop Willie before he kills again!” (in reference to the fact that the name “Willie” is extremely common in those old murder ballads — see “Knoxville Girl” and “Katie Dear”).
And I will say that bluegrass musicians, unlike most of the modern country musicians, remember and pay homage to their roots. You probably couldn’t find a modern country singer who can perform a Carter Family song, but you likewise probably couldn’t find a modern bluegrass act who CANNOT perform a Carter Family song. People like Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, Reno & Smiley, the Stanley Brothers, and the Country Gentlemen are still revered and honored in bluegrass.
Follow the link to an interesting discussion
September 12th 2010
Come Join the fun by the River
Food, Door Prizes, Raffles
Music from 12 – 6pm
Bring a chair and a friend!
The Line Up
Lykens Valley Bluegrass Band
Louie Setzer & Appalachian Mtn. Boys
Partners In Time
The Greenwood Valley Boys
$15.00 per person
Children under 12 FREE
Doc Watson: An Old-Time Folk Musician With SoulRick Diamond/Staff/Getty Images Entertainment
MerleFest, the acoustic music festival founded in 1988 by Doc Watson to celebrate the life of his son, is held once a year on the Wilkes Community College campus.
Doc Watson has been called “a living national treasure” for his virtuoso flat-picking and his repertoire of traditional folk and bluegrass tunes.
For more than five decades, the blind guitarist has been one of America’s preeminent folk and country performers. Watson, who learned to play the banjo and the guitar as a young child, got his start performing on street corners around Raleigh, N.C. After picking up the electric guitar as a teenager — and learning how to play rockabilly and old rock standards on his Les Paul — Watson switched exclusively to the banjo and acoustic guitar.
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By Keith Lawrence
STEVE GULLEY AND TIM STAFFORD, “Dogwood Winter,” Rural Rhythm. 14 tracks.
Steve Gulley and Tim Stafford have been writing songs together for years. In 2008, their “Through The Window of A Train” was named song of the year by the International Bluegrass Music Association.
Both have made their marks separately as singers and musicians.
Gulley, a member of Grasstowne, honed his skills with Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and Mountain Heart
The 39th annual Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival — which kicks off today at the Salem County Fair Grounds and runs through Sunday — may not be one of the fanciest festivals out there, but it’s certainly one of the most enjoyable. And that’s part of the reason why the acclaimed family bluegrass band Cherryholmes keeps returning.
“We’ve played this festival two or three times in the past,” Sandy Cherryholmes said by phone recently. “It’s a terrific time for the performers and for the audience members. We always look forward to it.”
Established in 1972, the rain-or-shine Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival is known for both its diverse array of talent and its relaxed vibe. More than 6,000 people are expected to attend over the weekend to hear a mix of top-ranked national bluegrass bands, talented regional bands, as well as bluegrass-related genres like old-time, Cajun and Appalachian music.