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Music Query

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  • Music Query

    Can some music affecionado please tell me the difference between 'Bluegrass' and 'Country and Western' A friend was asking me this after hearing an Alison Krauss track in the car.
    Is bluegrass a 'style' of c & w or separate ? Quick answers please so that when I give her a lift again she'll think I know what I'm talking about !!

  • #2
    Hi Chris,

    Good question! Alison Krauss is bluegrass. I'm not the affecionado on this, but I *think* bluegrass is kind of "hill" music, born in the backroads of the mountains (I love it). Bluegrass has a different sound than Country & Western (also good). Compare Alison Kraus with Garth Brooks. There's a definite difference. Hope this helps (but if you want to be correct, you might not want to tell her bluegrass was born in the mountains unless someone else confirms this). Just tell her it's different.



    • #3
      There is a definate difference between country music and bluegrass. Bluegrass originated in Kentucky and unlike country where vocals are common, Bluegrass is more of an insturmental type music with a very fast paced picking of stringed instruments such as the banjo, guitar and violin accompanied by various percussion instruments like blowing on a jug and a wash board. It has a unique sound all it's own. If you ever saw the movie "Deliverance" with Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight there was a great Bluegrass segment in it where they play Dueling Banjos with a guitar and a banjo. Hope that helps.
      Last edited by DJ Dubovsky; 11-29-2001, 02:26 PM.


      • #4
        I'll certainly agree with you on the 'pace' of the instrumental backing of Alison Krauss with her band Union Station some phenomenal work on banjo and dobra.


        • #5
          For more acurate info check this page out


          • #6
            Thanks for the link DJ, I've just pulled it and I'll read it later. I've quite a bit of Alison Krauss material and saw Nanci Griffith a few weeks ago in Manchester. NG called her music 'backwoods' style !


            • #7
              Great link Debbie! Thanks.

              I thought you had bluegrass festivals on your side of the pond. Am I wrong? Now I feel like picking up a mandolin, but I wouldn't know what to do with it.



              • #8
                You're welcome. I've always loved Bluegrass music but I never really stopped to think about it before so that question was harder to answer than I first thought.


                • #9

                  Your link certainly clarified the divisions between the different styles and interesting to see how the result was pushed forward by the influence of the one artist, Monroe. There’s lots of people, styles and influences tossing their bit into the common pot.

                  Ed as regards bluegrass over here I’m not aware of festivals but if Glastonbury is ever run again I’ve no doubt it will be represented.

                  Just heard this morning that George Harrison has dropped off the perch, cancer having caught up with him and far away from his hometown of Liverpool. Well you can't flee cancer but you can flee Liverpool.


                  • #10
                    I just saw that about George. It's a real loss for the music world.



                    • #11

                      i remember where i was when john died, now i will remember where i was and who told me when george died. (fell off the perch. new one for me.) sobering for front-edge boomers.

                      re bluegrass - a fun movie that features a lot of old style country which in my mind equates to bluegrass is "oh brother, where art thou?" great music, funny, and those who were here then say it catches the flavor of 30's mississippi accurately. alison kraus in @ least one of the cuts

                      do yall get all our movies? do you have your own movie industry independent of ours or anybody elses?


                      • #12

                        Front edge boomers ??

                        There's a lot of money being pumped into film here and some interesting stuff coming out but it doesn't seem to be bankable because it is low budget and therefore lacks the special effects that form an integral part of most big earners. The dreaded Harry Potter has just come out over here (made here also) and is packing them in. The film is a thin plot beefed up with special effects although the sets and locations (Lots of castles etc) are pretty stunning.
                        Personally I'm into old stuff but two of my favourite US productions are 'The Sting' and 'The Shawshank Redemption' the latter being a cult film over here. Both are well written, strong story line and front rank actors

                        Went to the blood donor session this afternoon and it was standing room only. Attempted to jump queue claiming 'blue blood' but was pushed to the back !! I understand you can sell blood in the US, how much per gallon ? Everybody donates FOC here.


                        • #13
                          I think you guys kinda nailed the difference between bluegrass and country. I come from a bluegrass family who has played around most of the south, but mostly Arkansas. I don't know any bluegrass player that plays a "violin" though...hehehe....we call it a fiddle. I played the mandolin for while. You won't see any electric instruments in bluegrass usually.......most country does. Country has more of a twang and relies on guitar and drums in bluegrass....and bluegrass tends to sound a little higher pitched and some may say "whiney"

                          Nuthin' like a little "Orange Blossom Special" or some "Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms"

                          Bluegrass also comes from about the same roots as gospel and a lot of songs have a religious meaning. It's just good music


                          • #14
                            OK you smarty pants I was going to say fiddle but I knew that Chris would come back with "what's a fiddle?" so I just said violin. (For Chris: a fiddle is exactly the same as a violin except instead of tucking it under your chin you play it down near your hip) I did forget the mandolin though Mediaase, so you got me there. I envy you because I love the sound of a mandolin. I used to wish I could play some good bluegrass music but my fingers usually got knotted up after the second note.

                            So to finally put this topic in perspective, If music were a drug, Bluegrass would be an amphetamine where country music would only be considered caffiene.


                            • #15
                              Ok on the fiddle, its a term used over here especially in Ireland although this playing it on the hip is unknown to me. Still need interpretation for 'Front Edge Boomer' ?


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