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Friendship Music Festival Top Bluegrass Bands And Artists

Over the course of festivals in Ripley County, its already long and storied history, the United States has been the where many iconic things were invented. From baseball to the transistor, many world changing things owe their roots to the place we call home. Among the incredible inventions to come out of the US is an iconic and unique form of music. Known as bluegrass, the music is a combination of 18th and 19th century Appalachia music, country music, and other American root music types. Central to bluegrass music is acoustic string instruments including the banjo, fiddle, guitar, upright bass, and mandolin. Rarely other instruments can be included as well like brass or even drums. Included below is a very brief summary at some of the top bands and artists in this genre.

Bill Monroe

Known as the ‘father of bluegrass music,’ Bill Monroe popularized the style of music in the 1940’s and the 1950’s. Along with contributing to the rise and popularity of the music over time, Bill Monroe is also known for being an inspiration to the following generation o musicians. Frequently listed when musicians recall their own past and what drove them to play, Bill Monroe popularized the fast-paced kicking style that is often at the heart of banjo playing. He is also responsible in part for setting in place the instruments that would come to define the genre. While a great deal of the music tradition is argued, few can deny the role and impact Bill Monroe had on the genre as a whole.

The Other End Of The Spectrum

On the opposite end from Bill Monroe are individuals and groups that have begun taking bluegrass to the next level. Representing a gradual evolution of design and sounds in Friendship Music Festival, Railroad Earth is a band that can be seen as a great example of where this music can go. Defined as ‘New Grass,’ Railroad Earth manages to tie together elements of the bluegrass music with other things like jazz, Celtic, rock, and more. The end result is something that is not entirely what Bill Monroe would recognize but fantastic and worth checking out none-the-less.

An Incredible Range Of Talent

The list above only begins to scratch the surface of talent that exists in this genre of music. Along with what we have already reviewed, consider Alison Krauss, Sam Bush, Tony Rice, Ricky Staggs, Del McCoury, Vassar Clements, The Osborne Brothers, Jimmy Martin, Mac Wiseman, Lester Flatt & Earl Scrugg and the Stanley Brothers. All of these are successful bluegrass musicians that you should try out as you explore this fascinating and diverse genre of music.

In addition to the more established names, you can also take it all in at the Friendship Music Festival in Ripley County. Typically inexpensive and toned down, these bands will provide excellent music as they demonstrate their skill with their instruments. High energy and incredibly engaging, you may be amazed at the local talent living only a few houses down. Simply check local venues and bars to see if they have anyone booked and spend an afternoon or evening seeing a musical form shaped and perfected in this land.

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