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Country Blues => Weenie Campbell Main Forum => Topic started by: dave stott on July 22, 2007, 07:41:25 AM

Title: bluegrass meets country blues meets country
Post by: dave stott on July 22, 2007, 07:41:25 AM
I have been listening to a nukmber of groups that are re-inventing old timey music..The Duhks, Old Crow Medicine Show and others..

after attending a bluegrass / folk gathering here in the northeast, I learned of another group called: Crooked Still

They perform the song "come on into my kitchen" with a banjo, bass and what appears to me to be a cello with the lead singer...They have placed the performance of the tune on their myspace site.

but my reason for posting this message is that there are a lot of new young artists coming along playing the old country blues tunes, alongside bluegrass or country tunes.

While their interpretations may not be "exactly like the original".... the genre is not dead or dying as some would believe.

instead it is being re-invented and brought into todays light.

Dave
Title: Re: bluegrass meets country blues meets country
Post by: dave stott on July 22, 2007, 08:06:08 AM
sorry

the tune is on you tube, not the myspace site

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NB1ZGels-dY&mode=related&search=
Title: Re: bluegrass meets country blues meets country
Post by: CF on July 22, 2007, 08:16:03 AM
Dave my band The Saddle River String Band is doing precisely this same thing . . . & to success. We've hit several of the bluegrass festivals locally & people are very much liking what we're laying down. Our instrumentation being guitars, banjo, mandolin, stand-up bass, kazoo & harmonica. These are bluegrass & 'old-time music' festivals, but I have to say that the organizers are fairly ignorant of what old-time music encompasses. Our album includes arrangements of 'Louis Collins', 'County Farm Blues', 'Some of these Days', & 'Don't Sell It (Don't Give it Away)' . . . we have begun performing 'Can't Get the Stuff No More', 'Kindhearted Woman', 'Nobodies Fault But Mine', 'Be Ready When He Comes' & several of our originals are ragtime tunes & the crowds especially are very much enjoying this music . . . I think these festivals are very much in need of a new source of songs from the prewar era, I'm of the opinion that bluegrass music has become a pretty stale genre . . . 'Newgrass' is by & large reserved, 'appropriate', technical & safe music with none of the fire that Bill Monroe had . . . & in defending our band (which I'm having to do sometimes) I'm having to remind some these people that Monroe forged his music out of a wealth of north americana influences, the obvious being blues & jazz & ragtime . . . folk & country . . . He's playing variations of Blind Lemon licks & etc., & HE had all their spirit & passion . . . I think there is an underground renaissance happening right now in folk music, there are a lot of 'younger' musicians who are looking beyond the prior genertaion's popular value for blues (Clapton, SRV) or country (Brooks, etc.) & even bluegrass (Rice etc.) & are hearing these prewar artists with uncluttered ears or minds . . . None of these new acts will ever usurp the original masters but I think they are hearing them now with curiosity & joy & amazement . . .
I'm just happy to see our small legion of fans singing along with 'Some of these Days' or 'Don't Sell It', people are coming up to us now & asking 'Who is Charlie Patton?' What a privelege!

Just listened to Crooked Still . . . very nice . . . but would like to clarify that Saddle River is more staunchly traditional sounding in our interpretations . . . we're kinda sticklers that way . . .
Title: Re: bluegrass meets country blues meets country
Post by: uncle bud on July 22, 2007, 09:05:13 AM
Here's an article I just read recently in the Globe and Mail about a band called Dyad that I'm not familiar with, but the article touches on some issues brought up here.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070718.PUNK18/TPStory/

Title: Re: bluegrass meets country blues meets country
Post by: Rivers on July 22, 2007, 08:13:24 PM
I find this very encouraging and in-sync with various things I've seen lately. The thing is to keep putting it out there in whatever form.
Title: Re: bluegrass meets country blues meets country
Post by: Bill Roggensack on July 23, 2007, 06:14:10 PM
Although my "playing" interest is mainly country blues, I have been spreading my "listening" time across acoustic blues, old-timey, bluegrass, alt country, "old" country and folk for many years. To my ear, they all blend together quite nicely. Dolly Parton got it right when she described country music as "music with a lot of class ... ordinary stories told by ordinary people in an extraordinary way." And I think this comment applies equally to all the so-called genres I've listed above. Somewhere in the quote database on this website is one attributed to Louis Armstrong: "All music is folk music, ?cause we're all folks." So crossovers and style blending are good things, and I applaud artists like Crooked Still, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Tim O'Brien, and The Red Clay Ramblers, that are blurring the boundaries and keeping "real" music alive and fresh - covering and emulating everything from Charlie Poole to Robert Johnson to Hank Williams. As I think about this point, the name Ryland Cooder comes to mind. Over to you Rivers!
 8)
Title: Re: bluegrass meets country blues meets country
Post by: Cambio on July 24, 2007, 11:16:39 AM
I hate to be so contrary, but I find a lot of this music to be amateurish and dreadful.  I'm all about tradition and expanding on traditions, but I think you need to have a pretty good grasp of a tradition before you start messing with it.  When I hear a lot of this music, it sounds like the folks who are playing it have a very sophomoric understanding of the music that they are trying to expand on.
I've heard a lot of great traditional music that is being played these days, as there is much of it out there, but I don't think that these bands that are throwing all forms of "Roots/Americana" music into a pot and creating something "new" are doing the old stuff any justice, or any favors.
Title: Re: bluegrass meets country blues meets country
Post by: CF on July 24, 2007, 11:40:27 AM
Cambio: I totally agree . . . don't think I want to say any more than that  . . .  except: I don't think you can go be a jazz musician or spend your life playing rock, hip-hop, metal, or what have you, suddenly hear Robert Johnson, Blind Lemon, Bill Monroe, etc. & then your interpretation of their songs have really much of their magic or skill. You have to listen to country blues to learn how to play it right. I do find that a lot of these new interpreters of prewar music are just not getting it, personally, & I certainly don't listen to them. But there are some who do get it & are keeping the spirit alive. 
Title: Re: bluegrass meets country blues meets country
Post by: dave stott on July 24, 2007, 12:48:26 PM
Guys and Gals

The way I look at it is: there are  young folks out there that have taken the time to notice the origins of the music and are presenting their interpretation of it.

There are always going to be good interpretations and bad (or less good) ones...

I still feel very optimistic just by the mere fact that young people are at least taking the time to listen to the musical roots.





 
Title: Re: bluegrass meets country blues meets country
Post by: Pan on July 24, 2007, 02:23:24 PM
From what I'm reading from this thread I really expect this not to be everybody's cup of tea, but here's a Finnish band who merges bluegrass, blues, and acoustic European gipsy jazz. My opinions are, of course, completely biased, because they're my friends, and they even play one of my songs.  :P.  Anyway, I'm proud to present you with CatLee&Co:
http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=64706316

Cheers

Pan
Title: Re: bluegrass meets country blues meets country
Post by: Rivers on July 24, 2007, 04:35:26 PM
I hear what you're saying guys. Key phrase perhaps should be "all else being equal...". Musical Darwinism will take care of the rest. The key thing is people are interested, that's what will keep it alive.
Title: Re: bluegrass meets country blues meets country
Post by: JimNJBlues on July 24, 2007, 09:20:49 PM
I hate to be so contrary, but I find a lot of this music to be amateurish and dreadful.  I'm all about tradition and expanding on traditions, but I think you need to have a pretty good grasp of a tradition before you start messing with it.  When I hear a lot of this music, it sounds like the folks who are playing it have a very sophomoric understanding of the music that they are trying to expand on.
I've heard a lot of great traditional music that is being played these days, as there is much of it out there, but I don't think that these bands that are throwing all forms of "Roots/Americana" music into a pot and creating something "new" are doing the old stuff any justice, or any favors.

  Agreed.
Title: Re: bluegrass meets country blues meets country
Post by: Parlor Picker on July 25, 2007, 01:13:50 AM
Going off at a slight tangent, the ones I can't stand are the electric rock musicians who suddenly "discover their roots", which is nonsense, because they never had any roots.  They then start playing "country blues" with no sensitivity for the music, almost total lack of feeling, no knowledge of the music's history and injecting pieces with single string solos they learned on their Strats and SGs.  They might even play a ragtime number with great accuracy and flashy picking - but absolutely no feeling.

We've had this type of player over here in the UK (both American and British) and all the sub-Clapton "blues fans" go crazy for what they think is real, authentic blues.

Oh well, each to his own.  Rant over, time to start work...
Title: Re: bluegrass meets country blues meets country
Post by: Rivers on July 25, 2007, 03:55:09 AM
Hmmm... touch of elitism there PP... where are my roots, certainly not in Mississippi...
Title: Re: bluegrass meets country blues meets country
Post by: CF on July 25, 2007, 05:18:55 AM
Nothing wrong with a little elitism I say, this world could use a little honour & well-placed snobbery.
Son House's music is often the subject of dreadful reinterpretations by hard rockers-turned-country-bluesers. Son's fire & drive are constantly being mishandled & I think has lead to him being devalued a little by some country blues fans. I know I have the strangest aversion to certain (of course not all ) open tuning slide playing on a steel-bodied resonator because of players I've met & heard in the past . . . a rock voice over a dobro, open G slide? . . . . . shudder . . . 
This is just my personal preference of course. It is not Gospel.
He doesn't really quite play blues but here's a cat from my neck of the woods doing the old-timey thing well I think, goes by the the handle PETUNIA
<AHREF="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Guyp4uUcVf4
AND
<AHREF="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqscZ1zExUs&mode=related&search=
Title: Re: bluegrass meets country blues meets country
Post by: Foresthill_Picker on August 06, 2007, 04:07:37 PM
So from what I am reading there are a few who would call a merging of Country Blues with Bluegrass and Country a bad thing? Then what do we do with an artist like Doc Watson who (IMHO) merges Bluegrass, Country Blues and Country quite well. I recently made a playlist of Doc's songs and not only were there a bunch of Bluegrass classics, but also  Spikedriver Blues,  Stackolee, Mississippi Heavy Water Blues, Did You Hear John Hurt?, John Henry/Worried Blues, Talking To Casey. His version of Stormy Weather ....hmmmm what category music would that song belong to? ....other than a Doc Watson classic !!

I like to see all these types of music have a chance to be learned, heard and judged on the performance, not on some preconceived notion that some songs shouldn't be performed at certain venues.

Thanks

Stephen
Title: Re: bluegrass meets country blues meets country
Post by: CF on August 06, 2007, 04:42:05 PM
I think everyone here was judging these new incarnations particularly on the performances but the problem I face as a performer of country blues for a bluegrass crowd is that they have preconceived & often limited notions of what 'old-timey' music is & very little of it (in my experience where I live) includes the prewar efforts of non-whites.
There is no contemporary playing this music at the level of a Doc Watson that I can think of off-hand . . . & isn't he an 80 year old man?
Title: Re: bluegrass meets country blues meets country
Post by: Johnm on August 06, 2007, 07:31:50 PM
Hi all,
I think one of the difficulties in being a musical generalist who performs Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Blues convincingly is that these styles tend to have very different rhythmic feels, and even within any one of the different styles there are a variety of different rhythmic feels, as in the way Earl Scruggs's smooth roll contrasts with the punchy, straight-up-and-down feel of Ralph Stanley or the bouncy feel of Allen Shelton. 
I would make a distinction between performing repertoire from these various styles and playing in the styles.  I have never thought of Doc Watson as a Bluegrass player, though he does make Bluegrass songs part of his repertoire from time to time.  I just think Doc plays in his style, which encompasses Old-Time songs, Bluegrass songs, as well as occasional Country Blues, Country and Pop Standards. It's all just Doc.
Jody Stecher is a present-day musician who not only plays repertoire from Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Blues, but can play in each of the styles convincingly, which is far rarer.
I'm dubious of musicians who think it's easy to play in a variety of styles.  I think the best way to do that is to take songs from different styles and express them in your own style, as Doc has.
All best,
Johnm
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