Of all the styles of music we could have written about first, why not start with the one that was named after the region we live in, bluegrass? Although this type of music is not the most popular, it’s history is rich and it is part of our roots.
Let’s start at the beginning. bluegrass music is very different from almost any other style of music. It was influenced greatly and was grew from music that was popular in the Appalachian regions. The people who made up that region were primarily of English and Scottish descent. Throw in a little bit of blues and a banjo, and you have bluegrass music!
Buckdancing was almost always accompanied by bluegrass music, because of its tempo and energy. It was more often that you would hear bluegrass music as part of a dance or festival than you would hear the music just on it’s own. As the music spread, eventually people came around to listening to the music just to listen to it. The post-war period was the golden era of bluegrass music and created a community that lives on in our hearts, our radios, and even our parking lots.
Although bluegrass has a distinct sound and energy, it took until the 1950’s for the music industry to assign it to its own classification, and it took until 1987 for the genre to have its own entry in the Music Index.
There were several generations that the bluegrass music development was broken up into
Generation 1 lasted through the mid 1960’s and included musicians and bands like the Stanley Brothers, Jimmy Martin and the Osborne Brothers, and even the father of bluegrass himself: Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys. These were the “traditional bluegrass” musicians.
Generation 2 lasted through the mid 1980’s and included Doc Watson, The Kentucky Colonels, Norman Blake, Jimmy Martin, and more. Many of the musicians in this generation of bluegrass were responsible for introducing the rock music listening community to different variations of progressive and traditional bluegrass music.
Generation 3 formed around the mid 1980’s. During this generation the genre of bluegrass has evolved into what it is today. Better equipment has allowed for a more distinct sound. This generation has been able to keep the traditional spirit of the music alive what at the same type adapting to a newer playing style to reach more people.
There are also different subgenres of bluegrass music, including traditional, progressive, gospel, and neo-traditional.
If you are looking for a place to listen to some bluegrass music today, which you ought to be, the most common place you will hear it is at festivals and fairs. These types of events that are very community oriented tend to lean towards bluegrass music for obvious reasons.
If you haven’t given bluegrass a chance yet, we highly recommend that you do. That are all types of bluegrass out there for you to enjoy. I can promise you that if you aren’t in the mood to get up and boogy a little, bluegrass can fix that in a jiffy. With it’s upbeat tempo and lively spirit, it will get you moving and shaking in no time!