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What is the Best Blue-Grass Album

GUEST,Kristine 14 Oct 11 - 07:53 PM
pdq 14 Oct 11 - 08:29 PM
GUEST,Bluegrassman 14 Oct 11 - 08:33 PM
GUEST,leeneia 14 Oct 11 - 10:24 PM
michaelr 15 Oct 11 - 01:07 AM
Lonesome EJ 15 Oct 11 - 01:27 AM
Lonesome EJ 15 Oct 11 - 01:41 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 15 Oct 11 - 05:36 AM
pdq 15 Oct 11 - 11:07 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 15 Oct 11 - 11:55 AM
kendall 15 Oct 11 - 12:18 PM
pdq 15 Oct 11 - 02:53 PM
GUEST,gillymor 15 Oct 11 - 03:14 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 15 Oct 11 - 04:23 PM
pdq 15 Oct 11 - 09:08 PM
evansakes 16 Oct 11 - 05:39 AM
BanjoRay 16 Oct 11 - 07:28 AM
GUEST,gillymor 16 Oct 11 - 09:09 AM
Midchuck 16 Oct 11 - 11:47 AM
BTNG 16 Oct 11 - 12:24 PM
BTNG 16 Oct 11 - 12:29 PM
Barbara Shaw 16 Oct 11 - 03:16 PM
pdq 16 Oct 11 - 04:02 PM
open mike 16 Oct 11 - 04:09 PM
topical tom 16 Oct 11 - 04:31 PM
gnu 16 Oct 11 - 05:16 PM
kendall 16 Oct 11 - 08:38 PM
Ian Fyvie 16 Oct 11 - 09:59 PM
GUEST,gillymor 16 Oct 11 - 10:29 PM
Severn 16 Oct 11 - 10:32 PM
Songwronger 16 Oct 11 - 10:53 PM
Ron Davies 16 Oct 11 - 11:00 PM
pdq 17 Oct 11 - 10:44 AM
open mike 17 Oct 11 - 11:50 AM
pdq 17 Oct 11 - 11:58 AM
GUEST,Kristine 23 Oct 11 - 01:43 PM
The Sandman 24 Oct 11 - 01:16 PM
The Sandman 24 Oct 11 - 01:19 PM
GUEST 24 Oct 11 - 02:39 PM
Ron Davies 25 Oct 11 - 08:12 AM
Fortunato 26 Oct 11 - 07:20 AM
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Subject: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: GUEST,Kristine
Date: 14 Oct 11 - 07:53 PM

Hi, I am a Celtic diehard, but recently I am curious to delve into a bit of blue-grass. Could you recommend what you think is the best all-round bluegrass album? I tend to like a more acoustic sound and good vocals (with harmonies of course:-) Thanks, Kristine


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: pdq
Date: 14 Oct 11 - 08:29 PM

It might be best to get a collection CD and see which artists you like,

A CD called "A Rough Guide to Bluegrass" is quite good and should be fairly easy to find on eBay.

The older "first generation" bluegrass artist used guitar only as a rhythm instrument with mandolin and banjo taking the lead breaks.

Later "progressive bluegrass" often has an electric bass replacing the "dog house bass" of traditional bluegrass and jazz.

Tony Rice and others turn bluegrass into a showcase of brilliant guitar work, something I like but Bill Monroe did not like at allow.


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: GUEST,Bluegrassman
Date: 14 Oct 11 - 08:33 PM

Will the Circle Be Unbroken, by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band from the early seventies has a selection of some of the best bluegrass music by some of the best artistes you will find in one place. There are a few albums in the set and all worth having. Hope you enjoy and get fully converted.


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 14 Oct 11 - 10:24 PM

The Barn Owls are excellent, but not much in the way of vocals.


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: michaelr
Date: 15 Oct 11 - 01:07 AM

Will The Circle Be Unbroken is seconded as a perfect introduction.

For contemporary bluegrass check out Del McCoury, Allison Krauss, Tim O'Brien and Ricky Skaggs.


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 15 Oct 11 - 01:27 AM

You could do worse than this album. He pretty much got the whole thing going and had some of the best with him.


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 15 Oct 11 - 01:41 AM

and This one is a nice intro to Bluegrass with Louvin Bros songs done by famous folks like Merle Haggard, James Taylor, Alison Kraus, Dollie Parton and others.

I would suggest going from those links and browse Amazon sample cuts from Bluegrass albums by people like Newgrass Revival, Flatt and Scruggs, The Stanley Brothers, Peter Rowan, Dillards, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Hoy Rize and Del McCoury. Check out some acquaintances of mine from here in Colorado The Blue Canyon Boys

I envy you discovering this amazing new world!


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 15 Oct 11 - 05:36 AM

PDQ omits the all important fiddle. Also although the mandolin does take solos it is equally important in keeping that sharp chop rhythm going along with the acoustic (doghouse) Bass.
A good cheap introduction would be one of the 4CD sets which include about 100 tracks by various groups issued by JSP in England. Four boxed Discs for around the price or a little over of One CD. They should be available via County Sales in Floyd Virginia via mail order.
Go to Countysales.com. OR direct from JSP.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: pdq
Date: 15 Oct 11 - 11:07 AM

Although Bill Monroe always had a fiddle player, and so did Flatt & Scruggs, I believe it is optional in the history of bluegrass.

The Stanley Brothers, the Country Gentlemen and many other groups stick to a basic four instruments: acoustic bass, rhythm guitar, banjo and mandolin.

There have been some truly great fiddlers in bluegrass such as Kenny Baker, and starting in 1956 the Dobro came into common usage thanks to Buck Graves.


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 15 Oct 11 - 11:55 AM

I first saw the Stanley Brothers in the mid sixties when they had a fiddle player. Ralph has continued to have a fiddler ever since. Bill Monroe based his whole concept of Bluegrass around fiddle tunes. Flatt & Scruggs also included a fiddler along with Graves's dobro.
I am not saying that there are hard and fast rules for Bluegrass but most of those that many people accept to be pioneers of the genre featured a fiddle.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: kendall
Date: 15 Oct 11 - 12:18 PM

The Country Gentlemen stand head and shoulders above all the other great bands.Charlie Waller was the best singer in the bunch.


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: pdq
Date: 15 Oct 11 - 02:53 PM

I someone really wants a recomendation for one bluegrass record, you might consider Red Allen "The Folkways Years 1964-1983".

The old LPs were hard to find, but this recent release has lots of material collected from a number of records.

Fine mandolin work by Frank Wakefield, banjo by either Bill Keith of Bill Kuykendall and an assortment of acoustic bass players. Fiddle on some cuts.


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 15 Oct 11 - 03:14 PM

Yep, Country Gentlemen were great and to me their best album was the self-titled one which had Traveling Kind, House of the Rising Sun, Casey's Last Ride on it as well as a bunch of other great bluegrass and folk songs. That line up included Doyle Lawson, Bill Emerson, Ricky Scaggs and Mike Auldrige along with Waller. My favorite CG lp, although an earlier incarnation with Eddie Adcock and John Duffy put out some great stuff.
I agree a Bill Monroe anthology would be a great starter.He's still awesome to listen to.
Also Tony Rice did a great one with a bunch of younger and older players called Tony Rice Plays and Sings Bluegrass. I can't recommend that enough.


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 15 Oct 11 - 04:23 PM

Kendall, it's all a matter of personal taste. Admittedly Charlie Waller had a great voice but I can't agree that the Country Gentlemen stood head and shoulders above all the other great bands. As good as they were I find that a rather sweeping statement.

Re the Red Allen Vinyl album mentioned above by PDQ it has been re-issued on CD. on Smithsonian Folkways.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: pdq
Date: 15 Oct 11 - 09:08 PM

Just my opinion, but I think it would be a good idea to study and appreciate the early bluegrass artists and then move ahead to "2nd generation bluegrass", "3rd generation bluegrass" and even "newgrass", the last being more rock than traditional hill country music.

Bill Monroe recorded 28 songs for Columbia Records in 1946-7 with his "classic" lineup.

The Stanley Brothers recorded 22 songs from 1949-51, also for Columbia Records.

The CD I mentioned by Harley "Red" Allen is in the early tradition even though much later.

After that, check out the Country Gentlemen who are credited with starting "2nd generation bluegrass.

I think Tony Rice is one of the great talents in history but his baritone singing and guitar fireworks a far removed from the "high lonesome" sound of the early "true bluegrass".


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: evansakes
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 05:39 AM

For me the best is still the first I heard (back in the early 70's)

Byron Berline, Roland White, Alan Munde and Roger Bush joined forces in Country Gazette. Top instrumental technique and plenty of tight high harmonies. Traditional and contemporary songs given the bluegrass treatment par excellence. Listen to short samples from this compilation of their two classic albums at Amazon


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: BanjoRay
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 07:28 AM

Bluegrass emerged out of Old Time music in the forties, but Old Time kept growing in its own way - check out some of the modern Old Time bands like Foghorn, The Orpheus Supertones, Uncle Henry's Favorites, Troublesome Creek String Band, lots more.

Ray


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 09:09 AM

Other ideas:
A Rounder Records Bluerass Sampler.

Seldom Scene. Old Train is one of my favorites with some fine singing.

JD Crowe and the New South. I especially liked the lineup with Scaggs,Rice and Jerry Douglas.

There are tons of antholgies out there where you can hear Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, the Stanley Brothers the Osborne Brothers, Jim and Jesse,Don Reno and Bill Harrell, Mac Wiseman etc. doing a lot of the old standards.

A fun one, although more bluegrassy than Bluegrass and a kind of rough around the edges live album, is Old and In the Way. Done in the early '70's with Jerry Garcia, David Grisman,Peter Rowan,and Vassar Clements features a few old standards and a bunch of contemporary songs done in the bluegrass style. I think it may still be the top selling Bluegrass album of all time which probably causes the hardcore some dyspepsia.


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: Midchuck
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 11:47 AM

Some purely personal favorites, not all strictly bluegrass:

"Skaggs and Rice." No, not the prix fixe entree at a cheap Chinese restaurant. Ricky Skaggs on mando and Tony Rice on guitar, singing mostly gospel duets, back in the '70s. Not bluegrass; old-time country. But more bluegrass than bluegrass.

"The Country Gentlemen on the Road." Kendall's partly right. The original Country Gentlemen, and the Seldom Scene up to '96, were both all-time great bands. Because they both had John Duffey.

Dry Branch Fire Squad, "Live at Last." Top-quality instrumental and vocal work, plus Ron Thomason's wonderful rants. And singing by Suzanne Thomas, the AAFOUF Queen for Life. (Don't ask. It's too complicated.)

As indicated above, ANY Seldom Scene album up to Duffey's death in '96.

Peter


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: BTNG
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 12:24 PM

this is an album that slipped under the radar, when it was released, I was fortunate to find a copy in the Virgin Record shop in Vancouver.

Here Today is a bluegrass album by five musicians David Grisman, Emery Gordy Jr., Herb Pedersen, Jim Buchanan and Vince Gill, released in 1983 on Rounder Records.[2] This was the only album this group recorded and each continued separate careers in bluegrass, newgrass, and country music.
More Here


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: BTNG
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 12:29 PM

You're most welcome, Lizzie :-)


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 03:16 PM

Nashville Bluegrass Band and Blue Highway are both terrific bands, have many good albums. Ralph Stanley's "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning" is a wonderful collection with many other singers joining him. Any of the Bluegrass Album Band's albums are good. There is no one best bluegrass album in my opinion but many very good tracks on many very good albums. Your best bet is to get a few samplers with tracks from various bands.

On the other hand, if you're coming from a Celtic background, you might want to get something by Tim O'Brien, who is a great singer, songwriter and musician in both Celtic and bluegrass genres, along with anything else he decides to play. He was in the former band Hot Rize, but has also put out albums with various other of his own bands.


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: pdq
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 04:02 PM

Hot Rize had an "alter ego" identity as "Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers".

That group did old Country music with the banjo player moving over to pedal steel.

Great stuff. Charlie Sawtell gets a chance to play a jazz guitar insted of a Martin.


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: open mike
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 04:09 PM

anything by Laurie Lewis, Tim O'Brien, Sam Bush, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Peter Rowan, or anyone you find thru http://ibma.org/ the International Bluegrass Music Association


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: topical tom
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 04:31 PM

I think my favourite is "Duet" in which Ralph Stanley sings in a duo with some top country female artists, i.e., Dolly Parton, Patty Loveless and several others.It's old-time country-bluegrass at it's best.


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: gnu
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 05:16 PM

But, if we are talking "Blue-Grass" instead of Bluegrass, we'll have to wait for Bobert's comments.


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: kendall
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 08:38 PM

Partly right? The woods are full of hard driving bluegrass pickers who seem to all sound like Bill Monroe. The Country Gentlemen had Charlie Waller; in my opinion the most pleasant voice in in bunch.


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: Ian Fyvie
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 09:59 PM

Dare I say that.... whatever the genre there will be a subjective element to anything claimed to be 'The Best'. You really have to try several bluegrass albums and to a degree "Follow your nose".

Ian Fyvie (former bluegrass band bassist).


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 10:29 PM

Acutally PDQ, I believe Nick Forster played swing guitar and Sawtelle would slip into his Slade persona and play bass with the Trail Blazers.


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: Severn
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 10:32 PM

The early Columbia material from the Bill Monroe band with Flatt & Scruggs defines the genre.

The early Flatt & Scruggs bands with Curly Sechler singing the high harmonies. The sound (and content, but that's another story) went down after he left.


The old LP called just "The Stanley Bros. & The Clinch Mountain Boys" with the likes of "How Mountain Girls Can Love" and Clinch Mountain Backstep" turned a lot of us onto them and the real stuff in its day.


Living in Washington DC, The Country Gentlemen (try "25 years") and the Seldom Scene (try the aforementioned "Old Train") are favorites and local barroom favorites.


For the gospel side of Bluegrass, "Cry From The Cross" bu Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys or "Rock My Soul" by Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver are, in my opinion, unbeatable.


For just a solid Bluegrass album from start to finish, a particular favorite has always been Larry Sparks-"John Deere Tractor"


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: Songwronger
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 10:53 PM

The Complete Mercury Sessions -- Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs & the Foggy Mountain Boys. Late 40's. My favorite.


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: Ron Davies
Date: 16 Oct 11 - 11:00 PM

As always, it depends on what you particularly enjoy.

I'd agree with a lot of the above suggestions.   If you want a wonderful lean sound--I mean just 2 instruments, guitar and mandolin--and you're looking for pristine sound yet full of life, in my opinion the Scaggs-Rice duet album is just about perfect.

If you're looking for solid sound, but also the best droll dry sense of humor bluegrass has to offer, Dry Branch is the way to go.

And of course if you want all-time classics which will never be outdone, ya gotta have Bill Monoe--especially with Flatt and Scruggs.

I also second the motion on the Seldom Scene.   The gospel album they did quite a while back is especially delightful.   In general, when John Starling was with them, they did just great stuff, only rarely straying over the border into "newgrass.

I'd also say Emmie Lou's "Roses in the Snow" album is a solid classic--(except for perhaps one cut)   And she sure got some good help on that album.


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: pdq
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 10:44 AM

Charles Sawtelle also had a fine ES-330 Gibson he liked to play. I assume it is behind the phrase "...on the big sunburst guitar" as stated by Tim O'Brien, although one cannot really see such things from a recording.


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: open mike
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 11:50 AM

Nick Forester and his wife Helen now host a radio show out of Boulder Colorado called E-Town. It is syndicated and can be heard on many stations. http://www.etown.org/ they have many musical guests.

Ralph Stanley has a classic "double album" one is called Saturday Night and the other is Sunday Morning. these festure , as you might expect, secular and gospel music.


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: pdq
Date: 17 Oct 11 - 11:58 AM

Correction: the 22 songs I recomended by the Stanley Brothers were recorded for Columbia from 1949-1952, not 1951 as stated.


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: GUEST,Kristine
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 01:43 PM

Thank you so much for all your suggestions! Sounds like I have some good listening to do :-)


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 01:16 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th-Tcl1goX0&feature=related i prefer old timey to gluebrass


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 01:19 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tvp7VNSdaBQ&feature=related


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 02:39 PM

"anything by Laurie Lewis, Tim O'Brien, Sam Bush, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Peter Rowan,"

I dunno if anything by some of those folks would necessarily qualify as the best bluegrass album. My friends Laurie, Tim, Sam and Peter have all, on occasion, strayed far from bluegrass.

In any case, the best bluegrass album is "J.D. Crowe and the New South" (Rounder, 1975).


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: Ron Davies
Date: 25 Oct 11 - 08:12 AM

Two things.

1)    There is no hard and fast distinction between old-time and bluegrass.    The string band rendition of "Little Black Train" could be considered bluegrass. Red Clay Ramblers could be considered either.   There is no point to arguing about terminology on this. Carter Family of course predated the term bluegrass but much of their material has been done excellently by bluegrass bands--with exactly the approach taken in the string band version.

2) Consider an atheist version of "Little Black Train".   A non-starter.   The words--and the message (whether you agree with it or not)-- are one of the elements which make this a strong song.


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Subject: RE: What is the Best Blue-Grass Album
From: Fortunato
Date: 26 Oct 11 - 07:20 AM

Kristine,
    If I were a younger person (not hard to imagine?) and enjoyed Celtic music in it's purer forms (not 100 violins on a floating stage with 500 flood lights, and young women in evening gowns singing vaguely celtic tunes). I would probably enjoy entering Bluegrass through Nickel Creek. Nickel Creek

    I grok the entry point for a genre is not always the roots, but rather one step beyond the fusion that lead the listener there. I would have suggested a Celtic/Bluegrass fusion band, they exist, but that fusion seems to me to in an early stage.

    Fuse them yourself, Kristine, and let us know how it goes.
Save this thread by all our sages for when you want to go to the roots, or find out who Charlie Waller was.

regards,
Chance


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