Someone recently asked me if I had a guilty pleasure when it comes to my music taste. I answered that yes, I absolutely love bluegrass. I now realize that I was wrong.
Give it a chance
I wasn't wrong about loving bluegrass - I really do - but I was wrong about my feeling guilty about it. I absolutely love the stuff, and there is not a drop of guilt in my body (in this respect, at least....). I have friends who look at me as if I've got three heads when I put on one of these artists, but I truly believe that their doubt is a matter of close-mindedness. Anyone who gives bluegrass a legitimate will be hard-pressed to not find themselves at least tapping a toe, if not flat out dancing.
And what better time to tap a toe than in the summer? Bluegrass matches so well with things that I like to do during the summer - namely, sitting on a deck somewhere, mountains in view, drink in hand, dancing shoes on. Maybe you'll find the same - give it a chance. Here are a few tunes to get you started - stay tuned for more bluegrass playlists in the future.
"Why Only One?" - Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer
Being that good at the mandolin is actually illegal in seventeen different states.
Chris Thile was a bluegrass prodigy from the age of eight (he won a national mandolin championship when he was just 12--and yes, that exists), and has since been a part of various bands and recorded solo albums as well that have seen him live up to all the hype.
Also, what do I have to do in order to be present at the next time he plays in a giant field, alone???
"Methamphetamine" - Old Crow Medicine Show
OCMS are one of the genre's most popular acts, with their ultra-well known rendition of Bob Dylan's "Wagon Wheel" serving as an anthem for summer camps, fraternities, hikers and just about anything in between. This song is actually quite fiery - as the title suggests, they sing about the horrible effects of meth (which, unfortunately, is a widespread issue in lots of the areas where bluegrass is popular). However, the rhythm, harmony and instrumentals change the feeling, to the point where it almost feels like a happy tune, if you can ignore the lyrical content. Either way, it's a great one.
"Church Street Blues" - Tony Rice
Tony Rice is an old school kind of guy, and he's really fun to listen to when held next to some of this generation's bluegrass musicians, like those in the rest of this card. No kidding, he can play. A more relaxing, restful type of bluegrass (if there's such a thing), it definitely belongs on the list.
"Two Hits and the Joint Turned Brown" - Yonder Mountain String Band
Yonder are my personal favorite. No one has as much fun as these guys on stage. Pretty much the anti-Tony Rice, they're not keeping any secrets: they love to get drunk, they love to get high, and they love to play music. And if they can do all three at the same time, they're happy folk.
Oh, and, by the way - they're about as talented as they come.
Bluegrass fans unite
Unfortunately, there just aren't that many bluegrass fans, especially where I come from. So I love connecting with people who dig it, too. Are you a long-time fan? Just discovering it for the first time? Let's support one another's weird passions, eh?
This card is part of a larger collection, Songs of Your Summer. Check it out here. I hope you've all been enjoying - it's been tons of fun for me to put together these playlists with the summer months in mind.