The Grammy Awards Premier Ceremony transpired Sunday afternoon, and though some worthy artists and valued projects walked away with deserved awards, it’s hard not to describe 2022’s Grammy haul in country and roots as anything but somewhat deflating.
Unlike country music’s big award shows like the CMAs and ACMs, The Grammys actually take the time to recognize artists in the bluegrass, Americana, folk, and blues realms, along with pulling from a more expanded list of nominees in the country categories.
We are living in the era of Billy Strings in bluegrass music, and it won’t be long before that is so self-evident it’s trite to say, and his popularity and influence spills over into the popular culture realm at large. Gone already are the days of seeing him in clubs or on side stages .
The annual Essential Albums list is Saving Country Music’s most comprehensive guide to the music of a given year. Drawing from the over 100 album reviews published during the year, this is where you come to find what you might have missed in a very busy year for releases.
Alan Jackson, Bela Fleck, Bobby Dove, Carly Pearce, Charlie Marie, Emily Scott Robinson, Flatland Cavalry, Hayes Carll, Hope Dunbar, Jesse Daniel, John R. Miller, Kiely Connell, Margo Cilker, Rob Leines, Sierra Ferrell
Tyler Childers might not be going bluegrass, but he is going to Telluride as one of the headliners of the 2022 Telluride Bluegrass Festival in beautiful Colorado. Along with Molly Tuttle, Béla Fleck’s My Bluegrass Heart, Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi, and others.
Make no mistake though, if you want to hear the absolute pinnacle of bluegrass in 2021 when it comes to just sheer blazing imagination and artistry, then accept no substitutes. Béla Fleck and ‘My Bluegrass Heart’ are it, period. ‘My Bluegrass Heart’ is a masterwork
Bela Fleck, Billy Strings, Brian Sutton, Chris Thile, David Grisman, Edgar Meyer, Jerry Douglas, Michael Cleveland, Molly Tuttle, My Bluegrass Heart, Noam Pikelny, Review, Sam Bush, Sierra Hull, Tony Trischka
I know what some will say: Bluegrass has always been here. And that’s most certainly true. But for these subgenres of country music to sustain, they need fresh blood every few years, both in the form of exciting new performers, and new fans. And in 2021, bluegrass is enjoying both.
From the hills and hollers of Kentucky as a strict traditionalist, to some of the most enterprising and innovative interpretations of the bluegrass form, from beside artists as far ranging as Ricky Skaggs and Jerry Garcia, Tony Rice was American string music incarnate.
Alison Brown, Alison Krauss, Bela Fleck, Chris Hillman, Clarence White, David Grisman, Doyle Lawson, JD Crowe, Jerry Douglas, Jerry Garcia, Keith Whitley, Peter Rowan, Ricky Skaggs, Ry Cooder, The Byrds, The Grateful Dead, The Kentucky Colonels, THe New South, Tony Rice
Nominees for the 28th Annual, 2017 International Bluegrass Music Awards were announced Wednesday in Nashville, with The Earls of Leicester and Balsam Range leading all nominees with eight nominations each, and Entertainer of the Year noms for both. Flatt Lonesome also picks up big nominations for Entertainer and Vocal Group of the Year.
Justice has finally been done, and the current King of Americana finally has his Grammy. Actually, he now has two of them. Alabama-born songwriter Jason Isbell walked away with Best Americana Album honors at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards for his latest record Something More Than Free during the pre-telecast awards Monday afternoon (2-14), as well as Best American Roots song for “24 Frames.”
Bill Keith many be known by just as many people by the name “Brad” Keith because of the nine months he spent as a member of Bill Monroe’s illustrious Bluegrass Boys in 1963. Though it was a very short stint in Bill Monroe history, the result was some of the most iconic, groundbreaking, and beloved bluegrass banjo recordings ever captured, regularly prefaced by Bill Monroe introducing “Mr. Brad Keith” on the banjo.
“Country must evolve” is the way it is sold to the country music public when pop and hip-hop influences are invited into the country music fold. What these folks fail to point out is that country has been trying to evolve for 30 some odd years right under their noses. Are you looking for true progress and evolution in country music? Look no further than this list of women.
Abigail Washburn, Amanda Shires, Anderson Family Bluegrass, Asleep at the Wheel, Be Good Tanya's, Bela Fleck, Brandi Carlile, Caitlin Rose, Dale Watson, First Aid Kit, Hank Williams, Jolie Holland, Kacey Musgraves, Kasey Chambers, Liz Rose, Neko Case, Paige Anderson, Rachel Brooke, Rounder Records, Ruby Jane, Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, The Beach Boys, The Carter Family, The Trishas, Tom Waits, Uncle Earl, Willie Nelson
The war vs. pop influences and progress in country music, and the purity yearned for by the traditional elements of the genre is almost as old as the genre itself. In an attempt to power through the rhetoric, here is a cool-headed attempt to explain some of the differences between the traditional and mainstream mindsets.
If your looking for that one bluegrass ensemble that is defining our generation’s take on the discipline, it’s hard to argue against the Punch Brothers. Though Punch Brothers talk usually trends toward the talent of mandolin maestro Chris Thile, the troupe boasts overarching, rabidly accomplished skill across the front line, and a far superior instrumental adeptness that is undeniable.