Bluegrass - High Lonesome
In the l940s and l950s, as mainstream country music embraced more sophisticated arrangements and electric instruments, a branch of it rebelled and began to develop new styles with the classic acoustic instruments like the banjo, the fiddle, and the mandolin. By the early l950s people were starting to call this music Bluegrass, in deference to the band that defined it, Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys. One critic called it "folk music in overdrive," as it emphasized breathtaking tempos, dazzling instrumental virtuosity, jazz-like solos, and sky-high vocal harmonies.
The great founders of Bluesgrass,
the bands of Bill Monroe and of Flatt and Scruggs, are well represented in the Bear Family catalogue, as are the other first generation pioneers like The Osborne Brothers, Jim and Jesse, Hylo Brown, and Jimmy Martin. Here are the recordings that defined modern bluegrass. They’re required listening for anyone interested in the genre.
Related to bluegrass is another series of Bear Family sets, these devoted to old-time country and gospel music--the music that was the foundation for bluegrass. Here are classic singers like Molly O'Day, Rose Maddox, Sara and Maybelle Carter, and Grandpa Jones, in performances that helped keep country in touch with its folk roots.