What are your feelings about bluegrass music and performance?

In the June issue of <I>Stereophile</I>, Art Dudley <A HREF="http://www.stereophile.com/showarchives.cgi?855" TARGET=NEW>waxes poetic</A> about the virtues of bluegrass music and festivals. What do you think about this acoustic form?

What are your feelings about bluegrass music and performance?
Love it!
24% (48 votes)
Like it
25% (49 votes)
It's okay
19% (38 votes)
Don't care for it
15% (30 votes)
Don't like it
9% (18 votes)
Hate it
8% (16 votes)
Total votes: 199

Jim Tavegia's picture

I think there is a level of snobbery that goes along with much music, meaning that some think you must be "more sophisticated" if you prefer opera/classical over jazz, country, rock, bluegrass, etc. It may well be that bluegrass is the purest form of truly American music—one that makes no pretense about what it is or cares who listens to it. It doesn't require expensive instruments or $5000 tube mics to capture its emotions. They are right on its sleeve. To me, music is only a way to convey emotion we are reluctant to say in verse or in person. If it touches you in a positive way, any music is worthy of performance, and recording and archiving.

Before and after Dave's picture

While a student at USC, I shared an apartment with a guy who turned me on to, among other idioms like jazz, free form avant garde, etc; Asleep at the Wheel. I enjoyed those albums immensely. At that time I was a very, very novice audiophile that listened mostly to electric music; primarily very ampflified stuff, as in Hard (including early metal) rock, or poorly recorded but still dear to my heart pompous and pretentious Art and Progressive rock. I suggest that we all continue our explorations of different musics, with the exception of most of the crappy (Gangsta) Rap and the (I hope its finally lived its shelf life) teenage boy bands and young girls who sound like the little nursery school 45's I listened to as a child in the mid 60's. Oh, for us who still enjoy the finest in intelligent metal/genius performances, always follow King Crimson!!!

Joe Evans's picture

Bluegrass and rap produce the same reaction in me. I want to cut my ears off with a razor and run for anywhere, even if that means the hills (as long as there is no bluegrass). By the way, I used to read Art Dudley in Listener. I didn't like some of his musical choices then, either. My neighbors have made some unkind remarks about the music that I play, especially when it happens to be classical. Beauty is in the ear of the listener.

DAB, Pacific Palisades,'s picture

I had to double check. I thought I was on the wrong website for a second.

Doug McCall's picture

Anyone who appreciates bluegrass can't be all bad, so perhaps there's still hope for Art Dudley!

LarryKC's picture

I grew up with Smokey Greene and the bluegrass boys and attended some of his concerts as a child at rural state fairs in New York and Vermont. I have many fond memories of the smell of the grass, popcorn, and candy apples, and I got a kick out of the older crowd that danced, drank beer, and just generally enjoyed themselves. Very low key and no "star" power or big production, which also add to the memory of my enjoyment as I get older and attend big full-blown promoted concerts. I have been to a couple of bluegrass concerts at Thomas Point Beach in Maine and the Talkeetna Bluegrass festival in Alaska. I still get a kick out of the crowd (of which I am now a part) and love the lower-key production (compared to the big rock concerts). As a music form, bluegrass is enduring and when I think "Americana," I think bluegrass and "real" country music. I also flat-assed loved both the movie and the CD of O Brother Where Art Thou. Given my background, love this form of music is almost a necessity. Yeah, for Art! Hell, if he lives upstate long enough he might turn into a real NY woodchuck.

Ernest T.  Bass's picture

Never been truer American music.

G.  Smith's picture

Any time you add grass to animals, the result is (fertilizer).

Norman Bott's picture

I like it, but mostly in short doses. I do not really seek it out, but have no problem with the music.

Ibn Kaldune's picture

Bluegrass migrated and permutated from country and folk. Its roots can be traced back to North Africa and the British Isles.

T.  Ream's picture

Depends a lot on who's playing. Love Alison Kraus and Union Station

jeff in cinci.'s picture

The festivals are the greatest. The music is great. Tell Art to give Goose Creek Symphony a listen.

Terry Stokes's picture

I just can't see how anyone could attend a Bluegrass festival or concert and not end up feeling better!

Wade B's picture

It's joy to see (and of course hear) blugrass gaining a wider audience.

BEN WILLIS's picture


Bruce W Glass's picture

It is after all one of the parents of Rock and Roll. On Elvis's first recording the bnad backing him up were considered bluegrass artists.

ch2's picture

If ou love music, you've gotta love bluegrass (and Stravinsky and Tom Waits)

Tom Moynihan's picture

So nice that you've got a David Grisman album illustrating the poll!

Jim Nast's picture

Well-played music of any type can move one emotionally, bluegrass included.

tony esporma's picture

I love it. I used to help out with the PA with the Central California Bluegrass Association. I think bluegrass is a wonderful style of music, truly indigenous American. What can I say? "Rocky Top" forever, huh?

G.  johnson's picture

Bluegrass is like listening to bagpipes, ten minutes is all I can stand. Okay, maybe I'am being somewhat harsh! When I hear bluegrass, it reminds me of a billard table with food being served on it. I think the Beverly Hillbillies call them vittles.

ampsarus's picture

I like everything about them except the drunken sloshing about

Fergus Cooper's picture

I always liked country music but the film O Brother Where Art Thou? sparked my interest even more, particularly in bluegrass, Allison Krauss and the members of Union Station, Gillian Welch, Ralph Stanley, and Emmylou Harris. Long may they continue to delight us—like John Hartford before his death. I hope bluegrass continues to be faithful to its roots.

Duane B.'s picture

I'd like it more if Britney and Christina did bluegrass...in tube tops and daisy dukes.

Marc in NYC's picture

While I don't seek out a large amount of bluegrass, I feel that there are a few standouts in the genre at the moment that are well worth attention. Nickel Creek consistantly makes it on to my weekly playlist. The instruments are deftly handled and the harmonies are incredibly engaging—not to mention that they don't limit their style to the traditional.

Tony P., Phoenix, AZ's picture

I've been impressed by some spectacular musicianship in bluegrass bands, but I have not had the time or the motivation to explore the genre seriously.

Jose Garcia's picture

What? Grass is blue!!, and I thought it was green(my cows too)....

Rick's picture

I appreciate its purely acoustic nature and natural sound. Can get a bit to country for me.

V.  Glew's picture

Three years ago, the National Folk Festival came to East Lansing. I went, and I'm now hooked. Wouldn't miss it. It's now the Great Lakes Folk Fest and the acts never fail to inspire. I discovered Karan Casey last year. She's great. I was able to listen to Doc Watson closely, the year before. Didn't own any of his music then, but I do now. Really neat events!

Chris Chandler's picture

Bluegrass is a fantastic musical form. New artists have helped keep it vital, while older artists have become elder statesmen. Besides, the recent success for the soundtrack album for the movie O Brother, Where art Thou? has proven that bluegrass and roots music are here to stay.