Mudcat Café message #1245520 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #72375   Message #1245520
Posted By: Mark Clark
12-Aug-04 - 01:23 AM
Thread Name: Harmonies By The Number
Subject: RE: Harmonies By The Number
The term “newgrass” originally referred to bands like The Second Generation and The Newgrass Revival. The Country Gentlemen had been making records for ten or twelve years before newgrass came along.

I think the general impression that traditional bluegrass has an air of restrictive sameness comes from listeners who've spent more time hearing jam bands and avocational groups than they have actually listening to the body of work assembled by particular artists. The same may be said of old-timey and mountain music in the hands of jammers. They tend to have every instrument playing the same melody, in unison, until someone gets tired of the tune. Of course the music's original bands didn't play it that way but festival jams are usually trying find the lowest common demoninator so musicians can easily fit in without having to know complex arrangements before hand.

Bringing rhythm and blues into bluegrass isn't a new idea at all. Don't forget that Bill Monroe is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Monroe's band did a lot of numbers that sound a lot like rock and roll and Flatt & Scruggs continued that tradition. Some of Monroe's music along with Flatt & Scruggs may sound trite today but it wasn't trite when they were the only groups making that sound.

I think today's musicians—Allison Krause, Rhonda Vincent, Nickel Creek, … a list too long to itemize—are doing much the same thing the bluegrass progenitors were doing, making wonderful, original music that sounds fresh, pleases their audiences and their own sense of creativity while still giving a tip of the hat to the traditions that provide their basic orientation.

      - Mark