What is Bluegrass?

I thought it would be a good idea to introduce the two musical genres we are working with to find out what is really involved, and how complicated the combination of the two will be.  I’m really not an expert on either genre, so I might pull some key information (steal) from Wikipedia and share the important deets with you.


As Wikipedia says, Bluegrass is actually a sub-genre of country music and was inspired by the music of immigrants residing in Appalachia in the late 1800’s.  To tell you the truth, I abhor country music.  Something about bluegrass really gets me though, and I find it quite enjoyable.

“Unlike mainstream country music, bluegrass is traditionally played on acoustic stringed instruments. The fiddle, five-string banjo, guitar, mandolin, and upright bass (string bass) are often joined by the resonator guitar (also referred to as a Dobro) and (occasionally) harmonica. This instrumentation originated in rural dance bands and is the basis on which the earliest bluegrass bands were formed.”

Notice how percussion is not typically involved, which may complicate the combination with metal.  (Some devout fans might even tell you that bluegrass with drums isn’t real bluegrass!)  The bassist usually plays rhythmically, thus providing a beat.

As for the vocals, three or four-part harmonies are very common, with the high voice often being dissonant or modal.  Wikipedia refers to this as a “high lonesome sound.”

Bluegrass lyrics can range from narrative tales about everyday life in Appalachia, relationships and lost love, or simply about the weather.  It is not typical to sing about fulfilling the wishes of Satan…but we’ll get to that.

Please read more about bluegrass here and most certainly check out some bluegrass bands. It really is fantastic music if you enjoy talented instrumentation and great vocal harmonies.  Andrew recommends the following bands:

While I very much enjoy bluegrass, I admit that I haven’t explored it very much until recently.  I do love a couple bands that have some bluegrass influences though, such as:

Definitely worth a listen if these names are new to you!

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5 thoughts on “What is Bluegrass?

  1. L R says:

    Glad to see Devil Makes Three on that list. They’re based in Santa Cruz- I think they still do shows there every now and then. Might be worth it to see how they do a show… live sound, etc. Also, keep up the good work! Sounds like this should be a very clever endeavor!

    • blood and banjos says:

      i didn’t know they were from santa cruz, awesome! and thanks for the encouragement! i hope i can see this thing through completion…

  2. There are a couple other bluegrass bands/artists you should check out while on your journey.
    -Seldom Scene
    -Blue Highway
    -Alison Krauss and Union Station
    -Punch Brothers
    -Bela Fleck
    -Del McCoury
    -Rhonda Vincent
    -Patty Griffin
    -Ralph Stanley
    -Tony Rice
    -Jerry Douglas (you must have heard of him….has played with….well everyone)
    I could go on and on….let me know if you need more.

  3. […] continue to next post Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was tagged black metal, blackgrass, bluegrass, music.Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment […]

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