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The Birth of Bluegrass Music

The First 75 Years
written By Dan Miller 

Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs,
Birch Monroe, Lester Flatt

Peter Rowan has said, “When you are standing next to the fire that is Bill Monroe, you will ignite.”1  From the first time Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys stepped on the Grand Ole Opry stage on October 28th, 1939, and played Jimmie Rodgers’ “Muleskinner Blues” so fast that it astounded the Opry regulars who were standing in the wings and caused the crowd to demand an encore (an Opry first), everyone knew that they were witnessing something new, unique, and exciting.  The fire had definitely been lit.

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In Every Issue
The General Store
The Review
National Bluegrass Survey

The Tradition
Old-Time Music and Bluegrass
Separate But Intertwining Branches

Jimmy Martin
“King of Bluegrass” Pours His Heart Out About Bill Monroe

Arnold Shultz Fund
A “Hidden Legend” Steps into the Spotlight

Bluegrass Funnyman
Charles Franklin “Smokey” Davis 

The Birth of  Bluegrass Music

Notes & Queries
Answers to Your Bluegrass Questions from Walt Saunders

The Artists
Roger Sprung
The “Godfather of Progressive Bluegrass” at Age 90

The Sound
Ben Mason
Bluegrass Builders

The Venue
Uncle Pen’s Fiddle

Bluegrass Country Soul
Taking Us Back to 1971

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December 2020 Reviews


Bronwyn Keith-Hynes Sugar Petunia Records SPR0027 Keith-Hynes is originally from Charlottesville, Virginia but now lives in Nashville where in 2014 she founded the Mile Twelve band which for the past six years has toured world-wide and released two projects. She has been playing fiddle since she was three years old and first became immersed in […]

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Thomm Jutz To Live in Two Worlds, Vol. 2 Mountain Home Music Released in September, Volume 2 of To Live In Two Worlds continues the musical arc singer-songwriter Thomm Jutz began with Volume 1, released in March of 2020. A self-professed “chronicler of emotions,” German-born Jutz (now a naturalized citizen) leverages both his unique multi-cultural […]

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Protobilly The Minstrel and Tin Pan Alley DNA of Country Music JSP Records JSP5202 You probably think you know where bluegrass tunes like “Bully of the Town,” “Arkansas Traveler,” “Turkey in the Straw,” “Are You From Dixie,” “Under the Double Eagle” and more came from. Like me, you’re probably wrong about most. Because these tunes […]

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Wood & Wire No Matter Where it Goes from Here “Lightning in a bottle” – that’s the phrase that’s apt to leap to mind when listening to the latest release from this four-piece Texas-based outfit. Wood & Wire’s music is infused with a delicious mix of virtuosity, exuberance and youthful bravado. The band’s lineup features Trevor […]

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Mark Stoffel Coffee & cake Mark Stoffel isn’t a name heard much in mandolin circles. That’s about to change. With the release of his solo CD, Coffee & Cake, Stoffel, who holds the mandolin chair in Chris Jones and the Night Drivers, has created a strong personal mandolin brand that charms and beguiles rather than […]

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Lindley Creek Freedom, Love And The Open Road Pinecastle PRC-1244 This band is a family affair from the Missouri Ozarks, Lindley Creek presents a contemporary approach to bluegrass. Jim VanCleve does an outstanding job on the production and the result is a highly listenable project. On live shows, Lindley Creek is Kathie Greer, guitar, John Greer, […]

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We Shall All Be Reunited Revisiting The Bristol Sessions Bear Family Records BCD 17592 It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost a century since the renowned recording sessions arranged by Ralph Peer in Bristol.  The music captured those few weeks in late summer 1927 helped to catapult Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family to […]

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Roger Cline So Inclined Walnut Run Music WRM0002      Marylander Roger Cline began playing guitar in the late ‘60s, eventually turning to bluegrass and acoustic music in the ‘90’s. He began writing songs and also picked up the mandolin. On this debut project, Cline features his songwriting, his singing and playing and is accompanied […]

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Jon Stickley Trio Scripting the flip Since Bill Monroe first played what we would come to know as bluegrass, the bluegrass world has been split into two factions, those who never want to see the music change from what he first created so many years ago and those who happily wish to see the music […]

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