What is Bluegrass Music?

If you ask a hundred different people what Bluegrass Music is, you will get one hundred different answers. To understand bluegrass music is to realize and appreciate its musical roots. Bluegrass music’s origins come from Scottish and Irish immigrants who settled in the Appalachian Mountain region making their own “mountain and hillbilly” music.

This music was passed down through the generations and took on new ideas, instrumentation, and direction.

On October 28, 1939, Bill Monroe introduced the world to his style of music by playing “Muleskinner Blues” during the Grand Old Opry’s Saturday night show.

Intent only on making his mark in the country music world, “Big Mon” became the “Father of Bluegrass Music.” This music is now being performed by professional and amateur musicians around the world.

The traditional instruments used in bluegrass include the flattop guitar, five-string banjo, bass, mandolin, fiddle, and dobro. There are many styles and interpretations of bluegrass and that is what helps to keep it vibrant and alive.

One can re-live the magic performances of Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, and the Stanley Brothers by listening to the wonderful recordings that are still available. One can also tune in to today’s fine performers such as Ricky Skaggs, Claire Lynch, IIIrd Tyme Out, and Kenny Baker at any number of festivals, concerts, and music halls worldwide.

Southern plantation owners and black slaves gave the South what was to become Gospel and with its congregational songs, ring shouts, sanctified groups, quartets, work songs, sacred harp choirs, and this in combination with bluegrass music, gave us such fine Gospel and Bluegrass music experiences. 

Many Bluegrass Clubs are dedicated to the preservation and promotion of this American music form. The most important element of their mission is exposing and educating the youth of our area to this wonderful musical art form. Most clubs are non-profit, volunteer-driven organizations that need your support.

Bluegrass Clubs are usually organized exclusively to preserve and promote bluegrass music as an original art form to be both performed and enjoyed. The clubs’ mission includes generally educational activities directed toward the young and the young at heart. Just listen to The Lewis Family performing “I Plan to Meet You There” live and You’ll get a good idea!

Of great importance for the development of bluegrass gospel music has been The Lewis Family, also known as Georgia’s “1st Family of Bluegrass Gospel Music”. The Lincolnton, Georgia -based Lewis Family was famous for blending old-school string-band music with vocal harmony singing. This is Southern Gospel or Blue Grass Gospel Music at its best!

There are many bluegrass festivals where numerous people can enjoy this typical American music. Here, they can exchange ideas with other fans and musicians. Bluegrass Clubs usually also have educational purposes. They can promote Bluegrass Music by:
– Providing scholarships to aspiring Bluegrass musicians
– Sponsoring and promoting Bluegrass concerts featuring local and national bands
– Publishing periodical Bluegrass newsletters
– Bringing Bluegrass friends together

Well, if you have any suggestions, please get in touch and we all hope you’ll have a wonderful Labor Day Monday tomorrow!