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Music is Music

Updated: 4 days ago

The President's Corner

When a new, and most likely young member of Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys would play a lick that Bill didn’t think was “bluegrass” enough, he’d reportedly often say, “That ain’t no part a’ nuthin.”  As much as I revere Mr. Monroe and the “bluegrass” genre he created, I respectfully disagree.

Music is music.  If it’s well written, it can by played in any style, and it still sounds great.  Take Lennon and McCartney.  Though their compositions were written in a rock/pop format, they have since been successfully transferred across musical genres into country, classical, bluegrass, folk, blues and even world music hits. 

So, while there are several musical genres, they are often artificial --- constructed not by composers and musicians, but in the minds of the listeners by the listeners themselves.  I was in a bar late one night in Nashville (go figure) when a Kathy Mattea song came on the jukebox.   The guy next to me says, “That ain’t country!”  The song was “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses.”  It was in the top ten on the country charts at the time.  I think the guy just heard a minor chord and dismissed it as “too folky” for him.  Maybe it was the third dropping a half step that freaked him out.  Who knows?  My point is simply this: it’s all music and it makes no difference what we call it,  so long as it moves us.

I do confess that here at old BNR we’ve talked lately about whether a particular tune is “too folky” for the bluegrass stations, “too grassy” for the country stations, or “too jazzy” for the Americana stations.  Fact is, even those of us in the music business sometimes have a hard time classifying the nature of a particular tune as we’re trying to decide what music to present to you.  I’m happy to report that we just record what we think is good music.  Period.  Call it what you like.


Steven Briggs

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