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Modern Bluegrass or 'Newgrass'

#1 User is offline   cody78 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 03:54 AM

I was wondering if there are any fans of modern bluegrass on the forum; bands like Trampled By Turtles, Old Crow Medicine Show, Crooked Still, Greensky Bluegrass and Steeldrivers, etc? I am a big fan of these groups and wondered what the old time country musicians think of them?

I'm from the UK and most of these bands rarely come over here as they are not that well known, but I'd like to get a chance to see them someday.
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#2 User is offline   milod 

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 12:35 PM

Cody...

I can tell you that the concept of "newgrass" was around where I live far back in the '60s and '70s.

Back then there wasn't much feeling one way or another, depending on skill of the players.

OTOH, the old time fiddlers at times in the '60s and '70s would even roll their eyes at some Bill Monroe material.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I'd guess that much would depend on the crowd you run with. Which is why I don't recognize the groups you mention.

m
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#3 User is offline   cody78 

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 05:41 AM

View Postmilod, on 15 September 2014 - 12:35 PM, said:

Cody...

I can tell you that the concept of "newgrass" was around where I live far back in the '60s and '70s.

Back then there wasn't much feeling one way or another, depending on skill of the players.

OTOH, the old time fiddlers at times in the '60s and '70s would even roll their eyes at some Bill Monroe material.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I'd guess that much would depend on the crowd you run with. Which is why I don't recognize the groups you mention.

m



Thanks for the reply Milod. I find your comments very interesting, especially about players rolling their eyes at Bill Monroe tunes back in the 60's/ 70's!! I forget back then he would have been old news by that time!

Your point about things changing yet staying the same is very true too. There is a great bluegrass festival film from the 70's where many of the groups are pushing the boundaries of the old time music and I can see how that would have been the concept of 'newgrass' even back then.

I always liked country & old time music, but I only fully started to get interested in it over the last 5 years; after having studied jazz, contemporary & some classical string arranging at Uni. Nobody I knew while I was studying liked country, let alone bluegrass, except myself!!

To me there is something very pure and special about the old time tunes groups like Bill Monroe, The Osbourne Brothers & Flatt & Scruggs sang & played, and I think it is great that this forum has players from these styles too on it. A lot of fantastic old music has been lost to many people in this age of commercialism and instant celebrity & stardom...jazz & country in particular, which is a great shame. Since I've been on here the last couple of months I've learnt much from the older & more experienced players like yourself and it great to be able to take all this knowledge on board [thumbup]
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#4 User is offline   milod 

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 11:15 AM

I think "we" tend rapidly to forget what an old cowboy once told me nearly 50 years ago.

He detailed how, when full-time cowboying before going to work as a banker, he'd chased cattle rustlers on horseback. He noted how the then-cub reporter's jaw was dropping a bit.

"Just remember, sonny, we didn't figure we was livin' in the dark ages," he said.

If one looks at development of music, even from the time of printed sheet music, one must note how rapidly different sorts of music influenced other types of music. "Classical" was influenced by folk, in America Scots-Irish "mountain" music and "black blues" cross-referenced each other and other "country" music styles. W.C. Handy "The Father of the Blues" was a classically trained musician who wasn't raised with blues but ran into it from rural black people. "Dixieland" influenced everybody and everything. Etc., etc.

Back when I was a kid, I really got into ethnomusicology in the US and discovered that there's absolutely as much misinformation as information on how musical styles and genres developed - and how a lot of "us" are full of prune juice or the effects thereof when we talk about what we're playing.

My bottom line is that we become richer within ourselves by understanding whence came the music we play and how each of our minds translates it into something personal - but in the final analysis our real joy comes from playing whatever it is that brings from our minds those happiness chemicals that reinforce themselves into something only musicians might feel so strongly regardless of their skill or talent.

As for uni-trained musicians... one of the best I knew was a country schoolmate of my father's back in the '20s and '30s. She played with St. Louis and Minnesota Symphonies. But unusually, she also could rip off some old country fiddlin' in whatever key you wanted to play - and play it differently every time just for fun. An unusual and marvelous lady whom I both liked and respected in the short time I got to know her as two adults who are "into" music, but whose lifetime pathways were quite different.

m
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#5 User is offline   Country Jim 

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 12:22 PM

Hi Cody - Yep, I'm a fan. Started for me Sam Bush and his NewGrass Revival in the 70's. When Pat Flynn and Bela Fleck joined Bush and John Cowan (the final lineup) the magic really happened, IMHO, and I still think they're the best, even years after they stopped recording as a group. The many other new grass groups who followed have expanded and developed the genre, and it's still one of my favorites. These days I listen in awe to The Infamous Stringdusters as well as a few you mentioned in your post. Not personally an Old Crow fan, but I especially enjoy the Steel Drivers, Drew Emmitt & Bill Neshi's "New Country Blues" CD, and Scott Holstein. Would be interested to hear what you think.
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#6 User is offline   cody78 

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 08:50 PM

View PostCountry Jim, on 03 August 2015 - 12:22 PM, said:

Hi Cody - Yep, I'm a fan. Started for me Sam Bush and his NewGrass Revival in the 70's. When Pat Flynn and Bela Fleck joined Bush and John Cowan (the final lineup) the magic really happened, IMHO, and I still think they're the best, even years after they stopped recording as a group. The many other new grass groups who followed have expanded and developed the genre, and it's still one of my favorites. These days I listen in awe to The Infamous Stringdusters as well as a few you mentioned in your post. Not personally an Old Crow fan, but I especially enjoy the Steel Drivers, Drew Emmitt & Bill Neshi's "New Country Blues" CD, and Scott Holstein. Would be interested to hear what you think.


Hi Jim, thanks for the reply. I will have to have a listen to some of the names you mentioned as I'm not familiar with them all. I do know and like The Infamous Stringdusters, Bela Fleck & Sam Bush though. If there are any tunes you like especially, you can copy them from Youtube and post them here.
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#7 User is offline   Country Jim 

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Posted 06 August 2015 - 07:39 AM

Ha! You're asking an old guy who did too much (insert substance of choice) back in the 60's to do some sort of tech wizardry involving computers and You Tube?

Well, I'll try to get something fired up for a post. In the meantime Newgrass Revival put out a "Best Of" compilation CD, and all four members have done a lot of solo work since. I ran into Sam at the Denver airport recently and he was talking about his "Howlin' At the Moon" disc as one of his favorite older efforts. It is a goodie, for sure. The Emmitt/Neshi CD I referenced is still available. Those guys came out of the String Cheese/Leftover Salmon culture. Good place to start. "Hammer Down" is the most recent Steel Drivers disc I've heard, and readily available on Amazon, etc.

Believe it or not, the public library almost always has, or can get, nearly any CD you want. Of course you eventually have to give it back . . .
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#8 User is offline   Country Jim 

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Posted 06 August 2015 - 07:45 AM

Cody, I forgot to mention that John Cowan is now the bass player for that venerable bluegrass group the Doobie Brothers. No, seriously. When he was the lead singer for Newgrass Revival he was generally considered "the voice" of the newgrass genre.
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#9 User is offline   cody78 

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Posted 07 August 2015 - 08:13 AM

Ha!...I didn't know that Cowan is in the Doobie Brothers now, it's certainly quite a different route for him.

That's great you got to meet Sam in Denver Airport, I bet that was interesting and exciting to speak to him. It reminds me, a few years ago I visited some friends in Denver and heard some great bluegrass on the local tv/ radio there (here in the UK you never hear much of any 'specialist' music broadcast), anyway a group I really got to like was a Colorado based band called Yonder Mountain String Band. They seem to play a lot in that area, so I looked them up and found an album called 'Town To Town', but they have many albums worth hearing. You probably know of them, but I'll put a video at the end of this post for you. Another group that are quite interesting are called Railroad Earth. They use more percussion than found in most 'grass, but are an interesting band - though I'm not as keen on them as some others.

Thanks for those names you mention that I hadn't heard of. I really like the Emmitt-Nershi band and I found this video - listen to that fantastic banjo playing at 3:25!



...and here's a favourite of mine by Yonder Mountain String Band


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#10 User is offline   Country Jim 

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Posted 07 August 2015 - 08:58 AM

Hey Cody, thanks for posting both vids, especially Yonder Mountain.

Yep, I live in Colorado and, of course, local bands/groups are pretty well known. There's also a great annual festival nearby called "Rocky Grass" (Rocky Mountains reference), and some of the biggest names show up to rub shoulders with their less famous peers. Have a look, when you have time, on the web.

Sounds like you may be a banjo player? I noodle a bit myself (early 70's RB-250).

Where in the UK? So as not to bore our forum friends, drop an e-mail some time to sharp7936@hotmail.com, and we'll chat offline.

Thanks again for the vids,

Jim
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#11 User is offline   Cougar 

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Posted 07 August 2015 - 09:29 AM

Yonder Mountain sure had that audience hoppin'! Great players!
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#12 User is offline   Country Jim 

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Posted 08 August 2015 - 07:09 AM

Hello Cougar - Yep, Yonder Mountain is a lively band and very tight. I appreciate musicians like these who display not only creative energy, but also play in tune and in time. Too often I hear groups go off the rails because they don't play together, and get sooooo excited that their pitch goes out the window. Audiences sometimes become likewise excited and confuse high energy with quality. A very forgiving lot, we fans.

I often prefer to see a band perform in a club situation where the atmosphere is more subdued in general. Leads to more precision in the presentation I believe.

Jim
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#13 User is offline   cody78 

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Posted 13 August 2015 - 04:46 PM

View PostCountry Jim, on 07 August 2015 - 08:58 AM, said:

Hey Cody, thanks for posting both vids, especially Yonder Mountain.

Yep, I live in Colorado and, of course, local bands/groups are pretty well known. There's also a great annual festival nearby called "Rocky Grass" (Rocky Mountains reference), and some of the biggest names show up to rub shoulders with their less famous peers. Have a look, when you have time, on the web.

Sounds like you may be a banjo player? I noodle a bit myself (early 70's RB-250).

Where in the UK? So as not to bore our forum friends, drop an e-mail some time to sharp7936@hotmail.com, and we'll chat offline.

Thanks again for the vids,

Jim


Hi Jim, glad you liked the vids.

I live in a small town in Yorkshire. Guitar is my main instrument, followed by drums, then mandolin, banjo and a few others.

Thanks for the email, I'll drop you a line when I get time.
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