There are lots of styles of country music. Its difficult to choose one but I've decided to research Bluegrass more. I like the instruments traditionally used in bluegrass - fiddle, mandolin, banjo and guitar. Violins often double stop with open strings to underpin the rythmn and harmony.
Unlike practically any other strain of american music, bluegrass can be traced - as the quote above says - to particular time and a particular group of men. Kentucky born mandolin player/bandleader Bill Munroe and a select handful of musicians he gathered in his band, The Bluegrass boys.
Monroe and his band transformed the traditional country string band music into something fresh and exciting and revolutionary. They did this by giving it a syncopated beat along with close, him pitched lead and harmony vocals on favourites like "Uncle Pen" and "Muleskinner Blues" .
Here he is paying Uncle Penn above at age 82.
It starred George Clooney and featured vintage bluegrass music in a quirky film. It also included contemporary new grass musicians like Alison Krauss. The soundtrack sold millions, won five grammy Awards and sparked another revival.
In 1948, two of the Bluegrass boys left and set up their own band (Flatt and and Scruggs). Their band, Foggy Mountain Boys was influential too with the banjo playing lead. In 1955 they added resonator guitar to the line up. With the spread of bluegrass mountain radio, others began to be influenced too. In particular the Stanley bothers started covering some of Monroe's songs int heir own mountain style. They enjoyed great success. They also feature on the O Brother Where Art Thou Soundtrack.
By the 1960s Washington DC became the centre of bluegrass innovation. This was in partly because many musicians from Kentucky and Virginia had moved there in search of work. Young talented musicians were pushing the boundaries of traditional bluegrass using electrified instruments and eclectic styles. Bands like Seldom Scene and the Country Gentlemen emerged with more complicated lead instrumentals and smoother vocals. They were also beginning to sing songs written by the people like Gordon Lightfoot, Bob Dylan and even Eric Clapton. Since the 1970s, bluegrass has enjoyed a huge revival with bands like Nickel Creek, Alison Krauss, Larry Sparks, Del McCoury, IIIrd Time Out, Blue Highway, Claire Lynch and Rhonda Vincent.
Here is a video of the fantastically tented Nickel creek. They started out as a straight bluegrass band but are transcending that now.
The recording below is from