Bela Fleck

Bluegrass: A regional sound goes global

This was supposed to be regional music, rural music. Then bluegrass spread way beyond that.
“Big Family” — the new PBS film on Friday, Aug. 30 — starts by quoting Bill Monroe, a pioneer of the sound: “Bluegrass has brought more people together and made more friends than any other music in the world.”
Then it shows that impact. We hear Monroe’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky” on his own 1947 record .. and on the flip side of Elvis Presley’s first record in 1954 … and from a modern Japanese group.
Yes, Japan likes bluegrass. “They treated us like the Beatles,” says Jeff Hanna of the Nitty Gritty Dirty Band. Read more…