I fell in love with bluegrass music about fifteen years ago. As an addled college student, I loved Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, and the Jefferson Airplane. Now my idea of heavy metal is the banjo of J.D. Crowe, the dobro of Jerry Douglas, the guitar of Tony Rice, the fiddle of Stuart Duncan, and the mandolins of Tim O’Brien and David Grisman. I’ve discovered that the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia came right out of the folk/bluegrass tradition and even recorded a great one-shot bluegrass album with a group called Old & In The Way (including David Grisman and Vassar Clements), playing a sprightly modifed Scruggs-style two-fingered banjo (he was missing the third finger necessary for playing pure Scruggs-style). That album came out in 1975; the group recently reunited minus Garcia, plus Herb Pederson for the wonderful “Old and in the Gray.”
While in Washington over the weekend I checked out the DC station WAMU that has a well known bluegrass program. The WAMU Web site has led me to its incredible 24-hour a day site for continuous streaming of bluegrass over the Internet, BlueGrassCountry. I’m listening now to the show Music from Foggy Hollow broadcast from–where else?–Sydney, Australia. Absolutely fabulous. Please do check out WAMU’s continuous streaming on the BlueGrassCountry site if you have, or think you might have, a place in your heart for this music that in so many ways comes straight from the heart of America.
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