First posted on October 24, 2007
Bluegrass . . . When I was a kid, even the local drug store sold records. I was an adventurous listener then. One day they had a 99 cent Diplomat album called This Lonesome Road by Carl Glass and his Mountain Boys. It was bluegrass gospel with all those harmonies and I was captivated. From there I went to some old Starday Records, Flatt & Scruggs, Bill Monroe and kept a modest amount of time for this genre, which I still love. When I was going to music school my next door neighbor in Brookline, Mass was a professor of Indian music at Boston University. We had many conversations and it came out that the only American music he really liked was bluegrass! When I thought about it a little, it made sense to me—banjos are something like sarods in sound and construction and the vocals in both musics have a slightly similar tone. So. . .
Anyway I am currently listening to a Rounder compilation called Bluegrass Number 1s. It has a second bonus disk that I have not listened to extensively as yet, but the main disk really does it for me. “Lonesome Wind Blues” by Rhonda Vincent is excruciatingly beautiful. Laurie Lewis’ “Who Will Watch the Home Place?” is hauntingly sad. There are many gems. Alison Kraus blows me away, and she's on there. I don’t personally play this music as a musician, but I have enormous respect for those that do. Next time, a couple of thoughts about jazz guitar.