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I'm Only Going Over Home
September 13, 2011 7:05 AM   Subscribe

Remembering Bill Monroe, the “father of bluegrass,” on what would have been his 100th birthday.

Check out the tributes in visual art, too.

"But a fraction" of the songs Bill Monroe wrote and arranged.

Here's Bill Monroe singing a haunting rendition of Wayfaring Stranger. And here's one of my favorites of his, sung by Allison Kraus.
posted by Miko (13 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Great post!
posted by OmieWise at 7:09 AM on September 13, 2011


Ah, the mandolin. The only instrument hayseeds and mafiosi can truly agree on. We miss you, Bill.
posted by joedanger at 7:12 AM on September 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Came for Bill Monroe singing "Wayfaring Stranger" stayed for Marty Stuart's amazing mullet and outfit.

Seriously though, Bill Monroe is great.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:27 AM on September 13, 2011


The thing I've always loved about Bill Monroe, as opposed to so many bluegrass musicians who've followed him, is that Monroe's rhythm had a swing, it had a lilt. In the emphasis on speed, on the lightnin'-fingered geetar pickers and all that, the groove of bluegrass has all too often become somewhat stiff and rigid. No air. Monroe's music breathes.

And to prove the point, let's give a listen to Blue Moon of Kentucky, shall we? No Monroe thread is complete without it!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:41 AM on September 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


the groove of bluegrass has all too often become somewhat stiff and rigid. No air. Monroe's music breathes.

I couldn't agree more. I've failed to warm up much to contemporary bluegrass because of this very stiffness and rigidity - in fact it's exactly why I got into old-time sessions and not bluegrass sessions (the atmosphere becomes sooo mechanical and it's all about speed and exactitude). But that wasn't Monroe's style - he was, above all, musical about his playing, singing, and arranging.
posted by Miko at 8:24 AM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bela Fleck is pretty much the anti-Bill Monroe.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:32 AM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a lover of both styles of bluegrass, I completely agree with flapjax.

Bela Fleck is pretty much the anti-Bill Monroe.

In terms of just the speed thing, yeah. It's more than that with Bela, though. Bela brought jazz and bluegrass together in a way that, to my knowledge, hadn't been done previously.
posted by rollbiz at 9:29 AM on September 13, 2011


Tom Hall's "Bill Monroe for Breakfast."
posted by klangklangston at 9:32 AM on September 13, 2011


Yesh! I ♥ Bill Monroe.
posted by Lynsey at 9:35 AM on September 13, 2011


On a related note, I just heard on the radio that Wade Mainer just died at age 104.
posted by rikschell at 10:21 AM on September 13, 2011


I love the story of Bill Monroe & Earl Scruggs, some of which I learned after running across this boggler on Wikipedia: "Bluegrass is not and never was folk music under a strict definition."

Like many, I first learned of "old time" music from O Brother and steeped in more of it with Down from the Mountain. Metafilter has been a great source of additional learning about Old Time & Bluegrass music.
posted by morganw at 12:14 PM on September 13, 2011


Someone once made a comment I liked on an old post of mine. I'll share it again.
posted by transient at 12:42 PM on September 13, 2011


> Wade Mainer just died at age 104.

If you listen to Mainer's Mountaineers alongside Big Mon's early output, you'll hear the same spark. Mainer stuck with his older two-finger style, while that whole Scruggs thing happened around Monroe. I heard Wade & Julia play in 2007, and they were great.
posted by scruss at 1:45 PM on September 13, 2011


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