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.

Please help to support americana in the UK by donating £2 a month to us - we'll send you an exclusive 20 track curated playlist every month plus the opportunity to win tickets and CDs. Click here for more information.

Author: Mark Whitfield

Mark Whitfield has been the Editor of Americana UK for the last 17 years and still feels like this is his pretend job, mainly because it is.

Leave a comment..

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.