As a break from All Enron, All The Time, time for a little culture.
As I said previously, “Rocky Top” sucks big time as a college fight song, but it’s a great bluegrass song, and the genre seems to be taking off in a big way, with a new generation. Over the years, the public’s exposure to bluegrass has been episodic and misleading (Beverly Hillbillies theme song, “Dueling Banjos,” miscegenation, and forced sodomy from the movie “Deliverance,” etc.).
With only this exposure, most people thought of it as music for barefooted southern yokels (which is ironic, since it was actually invented, developed, and celebrated in Kentucky, Chicago, and Indiana), and even the country music industry has treated it like an ugly cousin. Most music stores don’t even have it as a category, burying it among folk (if they have such an aisle) or country. Few realize that it is a profound type of music, a purely American art form (with roots from both the British Isles and Africa) containing elements of jazz, blues, folk, and, done well, requiring great instrumental virtuosity. (Ironically, at least until recently, there was actually a larger following for it in large cities than in the South).
Here’s an article from USA Today Weekend describing the recent bluegrass revival, partly spurred on by the Cohen Bros. movie, “O Brother, Where Art Thou,” but also by the now-easy availability of a wider variety of music via the internet. Like blogging, this is another example of how the net is bypassing big media (and big “entertainment”) to offer music that people might actually want, instead of what suits in towers think that they might, or should want.