Bluegrass Music is one of the most dynamic and brilliant genres of music of American country music origin. It has mixed influences from Irish, Scottish, and English traditional music. If you want to know more about bluegrass music, artists, and bands, then you are at the right place. Bluegrass World provides your relevant information about the unique and diverse bluegrass music.
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Bluegrass music has come a long way. Many bluegrass musicians and artists have emerged, giving birth to various forms of bluegrass music. Now, let us take a look at the 10 best bluegrass albums of all time.
Southern Flavor is the 18th studio album of Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass Music. This was released in 1988 under MCA records. In 1989, Southern Flavor won the Best Bluegrass Album. It includes hits like Stone Coal, Texas Lone Star, and Days Gone By.
I’ve Got That Old Feeling
This album was released in 1991 by American bluegrass artist Alison Krauss. It ranked number 61 on the Billboard Country Albums chart. Its single I’ve Got That Old Feeling won during the 1991 Grammy Awards as the Best Bluegrass Recording.
The Grass is Blue
The Grass is Blue is Dolly Parton’s 35th studio album released on 1999. This was considered one of Parton’s critically acclaimed and best-selling albums, reaching number 24 on US country album charts. It won a 2001 Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album.
The Great Dobro Sessions
This album produced by Dobro players Jerry Douglas and Tut Taylor featured 10 American Dobro players, including Mike Auldridge, Curtis Burch, Jerry Douglas, Josh Graves and Stacy Philips, among others. It won the Best Bluegrass Album during the 1994 Grammy Awards.
True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe
This compilation album produced by Todd Philips was dedicated as an all-star tribute to the Father of Bluegrass Music, Bill Monroe. It was released in 1996 under Sugar Hill Records and has won Best Bluegrass Album during the 1997 Grammy Awards.
When I Stop Dreaming: The Best of the Louvin Brothers
This album features the best and most memorable works of the American musical duo The Louvin Brothers. Ira and Charlie Louvin wrote songs about heartbreaks, trials of sins, and redemption. The compilation album was composed of 24 hit tracks that were beautifully remastered.
Waitin’ for the Hard Times to Go
This album by the Nashville Bluegrass Band was released in 1993 under Sugar Hills Records. It won the 1994 Best Bluegrass Album during the Grammy Awards. It includes hits like the album title track Waitin’ for the Hard Times to Go, Train of Yesterday, Backtrackin’ and On Again Off Again.
Bluegrass Rules! is an album by Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder. After its release in 1997, it peaked the US Billboard Top Country Albums at number 45. It also won the Best Bluegrass Album during the 1999 Grammy Awards.
Every Time You Say Goodbye
Another album by Alison Krauss was Every Time You Say Goodbye. It was released in 1992 and has reached number 75 on the Billboard Country Albums chart. During the 1993 Grammy Awards, Every Time You Say Goodbye won the Best Bluegrass Album.
Unleashed was an album by the Nashville Bluegrass Band. It was released in October 1995 under Sugar Hill Records and won the Best Bluegrass album during the 1996 Grammy Awards.
In one of our blog posts, we discussed the greatest bluegrass bands and groups. Now, it is the time for us to recognize the solo artists who have contributed to the huge library of bluegrass music.
This is our list of the most notable artists of bluegrass music:
Of course, the Father of Bluegrass Music should not be forgotten. He was the man behind the development of bluegrass sound and instrumental line-up which influenced largely the modern bluegrass. Thank you, Bill!
Allison Kraus started her musical career at the age of 10. Her unique talent in creating bluegrass-country music made her record at the age of 14. Now, she is a member of the band the Union Station.
The country singer Dolly Parton has musical roots in Appalachian bluegrass. She started recording bluegrass songs in the early ‘70s. She is considered one of the most influential country artists and songwriters of all time.
Famous for his “Scruggs style” of playing the banjo, Earl Scruggs was one of the foundations of bluegrass music. He joined the band of Bill Monroe and had started a new band with guitarist Lester Flatt called The Foggy Mountain Boys.
Dickens was one of the most successful American bluegrass female singers. She played guitar and wrote her own songs. She was characterized by her lonesome singing style and provocative feminist songs.
Douglas is considered one of the best Dobro players. He has recorded more than 14 solo recordings and has worked alongside Eric Clapton, Ray Charles, and Dolly Parton, among others. Currently, he is a member of the Union Station with Allison Krauss.
Jimmy Martin started his musical career with Bill Monroe in the group The Blue Grass Boys in 1949. After departing the band, he started his own group the Sunny Mountain Boys. He was considered the King of Bluegrass.
Jim Lauderdale is considered to be one of the most successful bluegrass songwriters of all time. He also specializes in folk and country music. He has recorded 17 albums and has won Grammy and AMA awards.
Sparks was a former lead vocalist of Stanley Brothers’ Clinch Mountain Band. When he departed from the group, he formed Lonesome Ramblers which introduced Ricky Skaggs. He was recognized twice as the Male Voice of the Year by the Bluegrass Music Association.
Vincent is a member of her band The Rage. She is one of the most influential women in contemporary bluegrass. She is a skilled mandolin player and knows how to play guitar and fiddle at the same time. She has received several awards the Bluegrass Music Association.
Skaggs emerged in the early ‘70s and became the official ambassador of bluegrass music. In the 1990s, he opened his own label Skaggs Family Records which promoted bluegrass music.
Sam Bush is a member of his band New Grass Revival. Their band was recognized for their new bluegrass musical style. He played alongside great artists including Lyle Lovett, Jerry Douglas, and Garth Brooks, among others.
Some families are really blessed with the gift of music. From their parents down to their children, everyone develops the love for music. Well, it is an advantage for these families to go into the music industry together and steal the spotlight.
Here are some of the greatest musical groups of brothers and sisters:
The Allman Brothers Band
This American rock band was formed by brothers Duane Allman and Gregg Allman in 1969. Their music was influenced by blues, jazz, and country. The Allman Brothers band provides emphasis on their live performances instead of their albums. Although, they recorded 11 studio albums.
The Beach Boys
The group behind the ever popular song “Wouldn’t it be nice” was The Beach Boys. The group was formed by brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson and was completed by their cousin Mike Love and Friend Al Jardine. They are distinguished for their surf songs which made them one of the most influential bands of the rock era.
The Carpenters is considered one of the most successful musical duos. It was composed of siblings Karen and Richard Carpenter. They were known for their distinct soft musical touch. In their 14-year career span, they recorded 11 albums and 21 hit singles.
The Bee Gees
The Bee Gees consisted of brothers Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb who were very prominent for their disco music. They were very popular between the 1960s and 1970s. As of July 2013, The Bee Gees sold over 220 million records worldwide, making them one of the world’s best-selling music artists of all time.
The Jackson 5
The Jackson 5 was one of the most popular family groups of all time. It was composed of elder brothers Jackie, Tito and Jermaine, and younger brothers Marlon and the King of Pop, Michael. They were the first group with four consecutive top hits on Billboard Hot 100. They have a total of 16 top 40 singles on the Hot 100.
Formed in 2005, Jonas Brothers first gained popularity in the Disney channel. It was composed of Nick, Joe and Kevin Jonas, who now ventured their solo careers. They have starred in Disney movies and have recorded four studio albums. They have sold more than 17 million albums worldwide.
Tegan and Sara
This indie-pop duo from Canada has begun their career in the music industry in 1998. Identical twin sisters Tegan Rain Quin and Sara Keirsten Quin are both songwriters and musicians. They have recorded a total of 8 studio albums, in which four of these are certified Gold.
Haim is an American pop rock band from Los Angeles that started their musical career in 2007. It was composed of Este Haim, Danielle Haim, and Alana Haim who played bass, bass guitars, and lead guitar and keyboard, respectively. They have released studio albums and one extended play. Their latest Something to Tell You album was just released last 2017.
These are just some of the greatest musical bands and groups of brothers and sisters. Who are your favorites?
Playing musical instruments has innumerable health benefits – physical, social, emotional and most especially, mental. It is a good avenue for musicians to enjoy their craft and be healthy at the same time.
Here are the ten essential benefits of playing musical instruments:
Promotes Mental Health
According to research, playing an instrument can be a challenging cognitive exercise that can help your brain function better. Thus, the American Psychological Association suggests that exposing your children to music sharpens their mind. Music is also used in therapy programs especially for individuals who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Playing instruments require your senses and your body parts to create music. For example, if you play guitar, you need your eyes, ears, and fingers to coordinate with each other to play the instrument. It also coordinates with your mind to make sure that you play the music correctly.
Sharpens Reading Skills
Playing instruments require you to read chords and lyrics in order to create music. Moreover, it improves your phoneme awareness and speed signals, especially when reading notes, letters, words, and sentences.
Improves Listening Skills
If music requires you to read, then it also demands excellent listening skills. If you do not know how to listen, you cannot be able to create good music. Listening very well allows you to reflect on the music that you make which helps you improve your skills.
When you play instruments, you tend to focus. There are a lot of things that you should consider in playing instruments. This includes the coordination of your senses, reading chords, listening to your music, etc. which help you boost your concentration.
Strengthens Respiratory System
If you are fond of wind instruments, then you are promoting a healthy respiratory system. An average individual has a very shallow breathing. But, if they engage in activities like singing and playing wind instruments, then they exercise their diaphragm for deep breathing. A study suggests that playing harmonica helps in preventing pulmonary diseases.
Maintains Physical Well-Being
According to research, playing an instrument enhances your immunological response which allows your body to fight against viruses. Moreover, playing instruments can exercise your muscles. For example, a trumpet weight from 32 to 72 oz. Imagine carrying that for the whole presentation, while maintaining good posture.
When you create your own music and play the instrument, you are able to express your thoughts and feelings. This is great as music has become an avenue for you to let all your feelings out, preventing you from stress and depression.
In a study in the UK, playing an instrument is vital for the development of self-discipline and most especially, confidence. When you showcase your talent in music, you boost your self-esteem, taking the opportunity of showing your passion for music.
Fulfillment comes in various opportunities in music. This includes mastering your favorite song, writing your first every musical piece, playing songs for a group of people and so much more. It is a healthy way of setting goals and achieving them.
Bluegrass music, a form of traditional country music, has multi-influences from Irish, Scottish, and English music. With its unique and diverse sound, it comes with a complex combination of various instruments to create the bluegrass music.
Here are the 12 essential instruments in creating bluegrass music:
Mandolin plays a vital part in a bluegrass band. It serves as a lead and rhythm instrument. Before when drums are not part of a bluegrass band, the mandolin provides the chunk on the second and fourth beat as a compliment to the bass line on the first and third beat.
An acoustic guitar is a major instrument in the Bluegrass band. It creates sound through conventional strumming techniques. There are also specialized bluegrass guitars available. George Shuffler of the Stanley brothers was one of the first musicians who used a guitar as a major instrument in bluegrass music.
Five-string banjos are the main instrument used in bluegrass music. They come in different styles, including the Scruggs-style. Earl Scruggs and Sonny Osborne are prominent Banjo players. Apart from bluegrass, banjos are great for country, jazz, and folk music.
Fiddle is like a violin, except that it is specialized for bluegrass, country and other folk styles of music. Fiddles serve as a lead or melodic instrument that provides sound between melodic phrases. Fiddlers can change the setup of the fiddle according to their playing styles.
Dobro or the resonator guitar is an instrument created by Dopyera Brothers. It was introduced into bluegrass by Josh Graves and was used by The Foggy Mountain Boys in their bluegrass music. The Dobro servers as an amplifier.
Also called a double bass, upright bass is a low-pitched bowed string instrument used in Western classical music and bluegrass. Some of the most renowned upright bass players are Mark Schatz and Jason Heath.
The Appalachian dulcimer is popularly used in the American folk music. Most dulcimers have four strings with two of the strings closely spaced and tuned in. A dulcimer can be a perfect instrument choice for beginners.
An autoharp is a form of a chorded zither and not a harp. It was invented by Oscar Schmidt and usually comes in 15 or 21-chord models. It is used to create sweet sounds. It is very easy for musicians to modify the chord bars to suit their playing style.
Also known as Hawaiian guitars, lap steels are played through fingerpicking or can be played like a Dobro. It is great in creating bluegrass and country music.
Harmonicas are not really common in bluegrass music. However, it had been featured by Flatt and Scruggs in their musical presentations. It creates a harmonious sound by blowing air into the reed chamber.
There are various configurations and types of an accordion. Just like harmonicas, they produce different pitches depending on how you play it.
A mini guitar-like instrument called ukulele is gaining popularity in bluegrass music. It has four nylon strings and can be played just like an acoustic guitar.
Christmas is fast approaching! You may be looking for the best gift that you can give to your friend who loves music so much. Well, check out our list of the 12 best gift ideas for musicians.
There are artists whom you can commission to create a cymbal art. They will ask you for a portrait of your friend or his or her favorite artist or band and print it on drum cymbals.
If it’s the schedule for your guitar tune-ups, don’t throw away the used strings. Instead, use your creativity and make a bracelet out of it. There are some stores that make and sell string bracelets.
Personalized Guitar Pick
This is one of the most special gifts, especially for guitar lovers. You can write your friend’s favorite lyrics or quotes on the pick. Moreover, there are stores that allow you to print certain photos in the pick.
Signed merchandises are available in various music merchandise outlets. You can also visit the official website of the artist or band and order their merchandises. Or if you want to be more special, you can connect with the artist and ask him or her to sign your gift to your friend.
In doing this, you just have to buy a beautiful frame and print the album art of the artist or the band. Include your message at the back of the print. These framed records can be perfect displays inside their rooms.
Vintage Music Objects
A phonograph, vinyl records, vintage turntable, mixtapes and vintage radio – these are just some of the vintage musical items that can give your friend a nostalgia of how rich and diverse music has been.
Band posters can be bought in music stores or you can buy them online. These are perfect gifts for friends who love posting posters on their walls.
Music book can be about anything – how to write music, how to play an instrument, the biography of Michael Jackson or even a simple book diary for your friend to write about his or her musical experiences.
If you want to give something that your friend can use, why not buy a plain shirt and have it printed with your custom design related to his or her favorite musical figures.
There are hundreds of Bluetooth headphones available on the web. You just have to choose the headphone with good features.
Although it may be hard for you to look for this, but phonograph-designed speakers are simply the best. It functions as a speaker while giving the vintage vibes of music history.
There are mixtape-themed flash drives available on the web. This is a perfect gift for musicians who write songs and need storage devices to store their masterpieces.
Apart from Christmas, these gift ideas are also perfect for other special occasions, including birthdays. If you want to make it more personal, you can always write a song for your friend, and that is going to be so very special.
Since the beginning of bluegrass music, various bands and groups have showcased their talent in expressing themselves through bluegrass music. Their songs and musical masterpieces have contributed to the rich library of bluegrass music.
Here are some of the greatest bluegrass musical bands of all time:
Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys
In 1938, Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass music created Blue Grass Boys which was named after his home state of Kentucky. The group lasted for almost 60 years and has become the foundation of bluegrass music.
Foggy Mountain Boys
This American bluegrass band was founded by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs who was a former member of the Blue Grass Boys. This band is considered one of the premier bluegrass groups in the history.
Sonny and Bobby Osborne, popularly known as the “Osborne Brothers” were both influential and popular bluegrass artists in the 1960s. They are best known for the famous country hit song “Rocky Top”.
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
This band played traditional country music. In the early 1970s, they embraced bluegrass music and has recorded popular singles like “Mr. Bojangles”, “Some of Shelley’s Blues” and “House of Pooh Corner”.
New Grass Revival
New Grass Revival was an American band in 1971 that specialized in progressive bluegrass music. They have released more than 20 albums. Their highest-charting single is “Callin’ Baton Rouge” released in 1989.
David Grisman Quintet
This 1975 group was inspired by diverse genres including Bill Monroe’s bluegrass legacy and Django Reinhard’s 1930s swing. The quintet created a new acoustic style of music and has influenced proceeding musicians.
Alison Krauss & Union Station
Alison Krauss started her musical career at the age of 16. She formed her band called the Union Station which showcases great bluegrass sound. Now, they remain to be one of the most popular bluegrass bands.
Trampled by Turtles
Trampled by Turtles was an American bluegrass band that has released eight full albums in which three of these have topped the US Billboard charts. Their fifth album Palomino stayed in the bluegrass charts for 52 straight weeks.
Punch Brothers is an American band that has a distinct style of bluegrass instrumentation influenced by structured of modern country-classical chamber music. They started in 2006 and has recorded 4 full albums and 2 EPs.
The Country Gentleman
Originated in the 1950s, The Country Gentleman has recorded 28 studio albums. In 1996, they were inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor.
This American bluegrass band from Missouri was popular for their role as “The Darlings” on The Andy Griffith Show. They started in 1963 and has recorded 15 studio albums.
One of the most recent bluegrass bands is the Infamous Stringdusters which emerged in 2007 with their album Fold in the Road. They won three awards at the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards. Their latest album release was the Laws of Gravity in January 2017.
“Kentucky Waltz”, “Cabin on the Hill”, “White House Blues” and “Under the Double Eagle” – these are some your most favorite Bluegrass songs that make you want to dance to the strumming of the acoustic guitar.
Like other genres, bluegrass music has a very rich origin and history and has been an iconic symbol of American musical heritage. There are hundreds of Bluegrass artists and bands that showcase the uniqueness of bluegrass music.
What is Bluegrass Music?
Bluegrass music is a form of American country music that is influenced by Irish, Scottish, and English traditional music. Later on, it was incorporated with jazz elements influenced by African-American music. Bluegrass music can be subdivided into three – traditional, progressive and the neo-traditional.
How did Bluegrass Music Start?
The earliest forms of musical genres were considered to be the roots of bluegrass music. In the 1600s, people from Ireland, Scotland, and England migrated to America and brought dance music and ballads. Settlers began to create music about their daily life experiences. This music is called “country music” or “mountain music”. With the invention of the phonograph in the 1900s, this country music had been showcased all over the United States.
Between the 1920s and 1930s, Monroe brothers were one of the most popular acts. Bill Monroe played the mandolin while Charlie Monroe played the guitar while they create music. However, they parted ways in 1938.
In 1939, Bill Monroe created a band called “Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys”. Blue Grass Boys were Monroe’s companions from his home state of Kentucky known as “Bluegrass state”. This band created a new form of traditional country music. They experimented with mandolin, banjo, fiddle, guitar, and bass. They also explored various vocal selections. Their unique and powerful sound set their music apart from other musical genres.
Their first appearance was on the Grand Ole Opry stage in 1939. From then on, they became one of the most famous touring bands. In 1945, Earl Scruggs, a banjo player joined the band. His style complemented the music of Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys and widely known as “Scruggs style”. From then on, “bluegrass” music was invented. Bill Monroe was considered “the father of bluegrass music”.
However, Scruggs departed from the band and joined Lester Flatt to create their own group called “The Foggy Mountain Boys”. They added the musical instrument Dobro into their band format. Dobro was invented by the Dopyera Brothers in the US and was widely known to be a major instrument in bluegrass music.
From 1958 to 1969, Flatt and Scruggs introduced bluegrass music to the whole United States through radio, national television, and major appearances in schoolhouses, coliseums, and universities.
In 1960, the “bluegrass festival” was created. In 1965, Carlton Haney, from Reidsville, North Carolina initiated a week-long bluegrass music festival held in Fincastle, Virginia.
Since then, bluegrass music was widely accepted by the people of the United States and has gained instant popularity around the world. Now, there is the International Bluegrass Music Association with bands and artists from over 30 countries across the globe.