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This is true American history and shows how different factions enhanced and brought together the music we love. From Wikipedia to Forbes to PBS you can find the history of our music all over the internet.


Starting with Old-time music, Wikipedia talks about how the music is a combination of all the cultures that came to North American and blended into what we love to play today. From the British Isles, France, and Germany to African Americans to name a few, influenced our old-time music. Also known as hillbilly music, which evolved as much as the instruments have.

I came across the article below from Forbes on a PBS documentary and would love to see this. I am an addict of documentaries to say the least. I did find a 3 minute clip about Earl Scruggs and Bill Monroe that was fun to watch on the PBS website.

PBS Documentary Traces Origins, Pioneers, Worldwide Appeal Of Bluegrass Music. By Jane Levere from Forbes.

A new documentary, Big Family: The Story of Bluegrass Music, will offer a comprehensive look at bluegrass, its origins, the pioneers who shaped its sound and its worldwide appeal. Narrated by actor and bluegrass enthusiast Ed Helms, it will air nationally on PBS stations Friday night, August 30.

The film traces the genre’s history, outlining how Scots-Irish and African-American influences led Bill Monroe to develop the distinct musical genre.

Early photograph of Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys. Art Wooten, Bill Monroe, Cleo Davis, Amos... [+]

GRAND OLE OPRY Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys. Art Wooten, Bill Monroe, Cleo Davis, and Amos Garren.

At the heart of the two-hour film is the music itself, with recordings and performance footage showcasing and celebrating its unique sound. Over 50 musicians appear in the film, including Alison Brown, Dale Ann Bradley, Sam Bush, JD Crowe, Bela Fleck, Laurie Lewis, Del McCoury, Bobby Osborne, Ricky Skaggs and Chris Thile.

Using archival and contemporary photos, footage and recordings, the film also chronicles how bluegrass music evolved as American culture and politics played out.

Big Family begins by exploring the life of Bill Monroe, who moved, along with his brothers, from the tiny town of Rosine, Ky., to Chicago, to find work in the 1930s. Monroe got his start on WLS, at the time the largest radio station in Chicago. When Monroe moved from Chicago to Nashville, he became a hit on the Grand Ole Opry stage and solidified his place in music history as the “Father of Bluegrass.”

The film then explores how the Great Depression, World War II and the Civil Rights movement influenced the genre, leading the creation of offshoots of bluegrass, such as newgrass in the 1970s.

Viewers also will travel from Monroe’s hometown of Rosine – with a population of around 100 – to downtown Tokyo, where members of Bluegrass 45, a popular contemporary Japanese bluegrass band, demonstrate how the music transcends not only generations but cultural and geographic boundaries.

The documentary also features scenes from IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) World of Bluegrass week-long events and the Fresh Grass festival in North Adams, Mass., as well as archival footage from the long-running, nationally distributed Americana music series Jubilee. And it explores the role of women in bluegrass music.

I’ll be on the look out for this documentary when available on Netflix or somewhere!

I had to totally miss Winfield and that was very sad for me. However, our WUP was small and intimate and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing everyone. Some of our members have posted pictures of the Winfield festival and it was great to see how everyone was having fun. Oh well, maybe next year…..

See you at our next meeting!

Keep the Music in the Air!

Your VP, NancyJ


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