Bluegrass, Newgrass & Hip Hop

Recently I had a conversation with a friend of mine who prefers Hip Hop to Bluegrass and I felt the dialog was worth sharing, since most of us have friends who might not know what all Newgrass has to offer.

I think the first thing to note is that Newgrass is not necessarily traditional Bluegrass. While Newgrass is definately kin to Bluegrass, the lines between genres are blurring. Our generation is taking our grandparents’ traditional bluegrass music and evolving it into something new and exciting. Much like traditional bluegrass chronicled the lives of mountain folk before us, Newgrass communicates the struggles and accomplishments of today’s culture, while taking into account the cultural influences we experience day to day-which includes Hip Hop among many other genres of music.

One doesn’t have to look far for these influences. Check out the chart topping Newgrass band, The Carolina Chocolate Drops’ take on the song “Hit ’em up style”.


Hey y’all, the Hackensaw Boys are headed your way!

WHEN: April 10 / 9 PM
VENUE: 123 Pleasant Street
WHERE: Morgantown, WV.

One of the hardest playing and most exciting groups on the newgrass scene. Do yourself a favor and pay the bargain price of $15 (they’re giving it away) and go see the show. You can thank me later.

Avett Brothers in Athens

Avett Brothers Concert 2/24/10 Review
Via our Appalachian Correspondent, Amy Jones

The Avett Brothers concert on February 24, 2010 in Athens, Ohio was packed with their ever- enthusiastic fans. Coming back from an almost two month break, the bands expected high-energy level wasn’t fully felt until the second half when “I killed Sally’s Lover” was played. With that song, the Brothers were back.

The Ohio University Memorial Auditorium worked well for the Avett Brothers. The sound was cohesive and enjoyable from almost anywhere in the auditorium. A house drummer was used in lieu of Scott or Seth Avett. This kept them from scurry between songs. Aside from the new face at the drums, the focus remained on the music.

The set list was lightly peppered with new material: Four in all from their latest album, “I and Love and You”. Despite the lack of new material the fans were gifted with a rarely performed favorite “November Blue”. The choices for set list set the tone from the beginning as almost melancholy. I did say, almost. The sincerity of the Avett Brothers lyrics pulls us back from the brink by reminding us that the humanity that took us there can save us. This talent is probably a big reason the group appeals to so many. I know it’s why I count myself a fan.

Patty Loveless on the Mountain Stage with the Grascals.

March 21, 2010 at 7 pm
Doors 6:30pm
Advance Tickets $15.00
At the Door $20.00


Crazy Heart – The harder the life, the sweeter the song.

Crazy heart has been nominated for a passel of big Hollywood awards, including several Academy Awards, Oscars and Spirit Awards. And why wouldn’t it. While it’s fiction, the story is very real. Amazing talent adds to the mix; Jeff Bridges (nominated for best actor), Maggie Gyllenhaal (nominated for best supporting actress ) and Singer-Songwriter Ryan Bingham (nominated for Best Original Song “the weary kind”) and let’s not forget the musical genius of one T-Bone Burnett.

I love this quote from T-Bone Burnett when discussing Crazy Heart and old time music.

“There’s so many beautiful musicians and writers and painters, creative people in general, and what most of us get is squeezed through this tiny bottleneck of ‘American Idol’ and things like that. I think it’s incumbent upon us who care about old time music and other kinds of music and art that isn’t in the mainstream to spread the word however we can. Movies have become a great radio station; people are in the dark with a good sound system for two hours, and I see that as a great opportunity to DJ.”

This formula seems to be working so far. One doesn’t have to look far to see the success old time music has had on the big screen. Look at the success we all have had since O’ Brother hit the screen.

Check out the movie. Give the soundtrack a listen. You won’t be disappointed.

Chatham County cookin’ some bacon in the skillet.

Billboard’s Top 10 Bluegrass Albums 3/5

The week’s top-selling bluegrass albums, ranked by sales data as compiled by Nielsen SoundScan.

1. Dailey & Vincent Sing the Statler Brothers / Dailey & Vincent
2. Genuine Negro Jig / Carolina Chocolate Drops
3. New Songs for the Five String Banjo / Steve Martin
4. Luck In The Valley / Jack Rose
5. Mountain Soul II / Patty Loveless
6. Naturally / The Isaacs
7. Live at the Mauch Chunk Opera House / The Wailin’ Jennys
8. Tennessee Pusher / Old Crow Medicine Show
9. High Wide & Handsome / Loudon Wainwright III
10. Songs My Dad Loved / Ricky Skaggs