How did bluegrass become the new sound of political protest across the US?

The Guardian ran a superb article over the weekend on a genre we don’t cover enough here on AUK –  bluegrass – partly because it appears to be the marmite of americana. The article focused on the genre’s recent gravitation towards activism: “Bluegrass has no history of protest music. Or rather, its protest has always been a passive, melancholic one, the sound of displaced workers longing for their home in the Blue Ridge Mountains far away. It is a music whose roots are bedded so deep in its nostalgic view of America that it can seem estranged from the modern world – and vice versa.”

It also considers how unusual it is that a music so tied in with the south and its early 20th-century history hasn’t made it into more US popular culture. You can read the whole rollicking good read here and while we’re at it, it’s a good time for us to plug the Rotterdam Bluegrass Festival which takes place this weekend over there, with an amazing line-up including the Hackensaw Boys, Jerron ‘Blind Boy’ Paxton and Tami Neilson.  More details here.


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About Mark Whitfield 1656 Articles
Mark Whitfield has been Editor of Americana UK for the last 20 years while also working in public health as his day job, which has been kind of busy recently.

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