Sunday, December 16, 2007

Bluegrass 101 ("Still Chugging Along")

A nice Justin Faulconer-penned update on the state of the folksy mountain music that has thrived in Central Virginia for centuries. Bluegrass itself only dates to the 1940s, but it evolved from the music of the early Southern settlers. And the music is still passed down to young people by older generations.
"They keep the tradition alive because it makes them feel alive, said Zack Gilmer, Hard Drivin’s banjo player. “I feel great when I’m playing bluegrass,” said Gilmer, 16. “It always puts me in a good mood. It doesn’t matter where I’m at.”

Dan Hays, executive director of the International Bluegrass Music Association in Nashville, said that a fresh generation of pickers is adding to the mix of a genre that has seen many changes throughout its lifespan.

But Hayes said young peoples’ interest in the music, coupled with the technological advances of the Internet, has doubled the bluegrass audience since the turn of the century.
“Bluegrass has never been as healthy as it is today,” said Hays. “There’s a new generation and a lot of the pioneers are still alive."

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