Bluegrass has become more obscured than ever. Is there even such a thing as “pure” bluegrass? Some would argue that the music of Bill Monroe and his alumni are as accurate of a way to directly describe the genre. In truth, there is no such thing as “pure” bluegrass since it’s inherently a hybridized form. Sure there’s context and history, but bluegrass is actually an amalgamation of blues, folk, country, and spiritual music, none of which can be encompassed by one definitive style or form.
As Tim O’Brien and Friends kicked off the final set of RockyGrass 2012, I planted my feet a couple of yards behind the elevated stage. The canopy of treetops overhead, awash in color from the stage lights, absorbed a light drizzle. To my right, the deity of all double bassists, Edgar Meyer, calmly warmed up next to the main stage staircase.
I had a dream about Steve Martin, last night..
I knew I'd be writing this story, today.. That's likely why he was on my mind. Of course he was in a white suit, with an arrow headband on his head. [I'm a child of the seventies, after all..] But instead of playing for laughs, he was picking his banjo with fire, along with a bevy of world-class bluegrass musicians. This was an especially fun dream, considering I've never seen him perform in any capacity beyond the movie theater.
Louis Molinary is convinced that the Stones wouldn’t really care if he wasn’t able to make his mortgage next month. The fifty-something real estate developer from Charleston, SC is quick-stepping into the festival alongside me, headed back to the picking tents. He tells me he’s new to bluegrass music and wants to hear some more, he said.. Until last year, when a longtime friend finally convinced him to come, Molinary had been more of a fan of The Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin.