This week we take a break from Dick asking the questions, and instead invite our faithful readers to ask the questions using the Comments Section below. Dick will do his best to reply in a Comment below. As Bill Monroe once said though “Don’t get above bluegrass!” For instance, Dick will not comment on the current level of cannibalism in the Royal Navy. (There is NO cannibalism in the Royal Navy today, and when Dick says “no”, he means “very little”. Well actually “quite a lot”.)
So…here’s your chance to ask YOUR burning questions.
You got a bluegrass question? Let me take a crack at it!
1. If I were to buy my first 5 bluegrass albums…which ones should I choose?
2. How do I get my husband to love bluegrass as much as I do?
The answer to Lynn’s second question is simple enough: eliminate all minor chords. Yes, even the E minor in Foggy Mountain Breakdown has to go. From now it it can only be played as E major….
Hi Lynn (and Andy)
In this day and age, I would recommend some of the “smoother” bands for intoruductory records. Not necessarily historically important, because sometimes they are a little bit too flinty, raw or high/lonesome for a first listener. So, I’d suggest
1. “Flatt & Scruggs at Carnegie Hall” because of its “warmth”.
2. “O Brother Where Art Thou/Down From the Mountain” for its variety of performers
3. Mile 12’s “City on a Hill” to show what young people are making of bluegrass in the 21st century
4. Flatt & Scruggs “Foggy Mountain Banjo” for the GREAT playing and its lush recorded sound
5. Tony Rice “Cold on the Shoulder” for his role with lead guitar and transitioning to a more modern bluegras sound without getting into “newgrass”. Tony called it “spacegrass”
Now, how do you get your husband to love bluegrass as much as you do? Emphasize the great people you will meet together and let the music be in the background to that. Bluegrass is a “friend-making” music and lifestyle. Festivals especially present such a variety of bluegrass that if he’s ever going to appreciate it at all, “something” he hears at a festival will catch in his ear.
Thx for the list of starter recordings.
As for Steve, your advice is really good. The smaller festivals are what he has always enjoyed. Well done, Dick.
That’s a very thoughtful response to both of Lynn’s questions. Foggy Mountain Banjo is one of my all time favorite recordings in any genre. To paraphrase John Hartford, Earl’s banjo playing there is like sunshine pouring out of the speakers. It lifts me up like a bright sunny day in January. And bluegrass is the best friend-making music there is!
Well, will you permit me to ask my own question, and answer it myself?
Q: Why do you never see any dirt around the top of a woodchuck hole?
A: Because he starts at the bottom and digs up.