Heading along the bluegrass road again, this is the concluding part of our list of the best bluegrass artists past and present. Already we have been in the auspicious company of Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys as well as listening to some of the newer acts such as New Grass Revival. We start our tour through the bluegrass country with a slightly jazzier slant accompanied by David Grisman and his quintet.
David Grisman Quintet
Although traditional bluegrass fans probably will not consider the David Grisman Quintet as true bluegrass, it cannot be argued that this quintet is becoming more and more popular in America. This new revival of bluegrass musicians takes the traditional instruments of bluegrass and experiment with them. And David Grisman definitely approaches the music on the jazzy side of things, Grisman is a pioneer of a new lengthy instrumental style of bluegrass that is bringing a new younger audience to appreciate the music and experiment with traditional bluegrass.
Trampled by Turtles
Trampled by Turtles are following a path similar to New Grass Revival, with the basis of their music founded on rock n’ roll. Unlike New Grass Revival, Trampled by Turtles are not taking the actual songs but rather the style of rock n’ roll and adapting it to bluegrass instruments. All these new grass bands are carving out a niche for themselves in a crowded market place. Again, traditional fans of bluegrass may be aghast at what Trampled by Turtles are doing, but if new fans who like their experiments with traditional bluegrass artists, there is no harm in that.
Another new band making the headlines is the Punch Brothers, they have taken progressive bluegrass and put their own particular contemporary twist to it. The band is a collaboration of virtuosos who bring a spontaneity and a very thinking man’s approach to bluegrass while bringing their own modern sound of contemporary music. All their music is created using traditional instruments and that’s what makes them so individual.
The Country Gentlemen
Hailing from Washington D.C, the Country Gentlemen are counted among the bluegrass greats; at one time or other, luminaries of the bluegrass scene came through this mega bluegrass band, including Jerry Douglas, Charlie Waller, Ricky Skaggs, John Duffy, Doyle Lawson and Eddie Adcock. The band were not strictly always playing traditional bluegrass and varied to more contemporary styles from time to time. The Country Gentlemen were akin to the Traveling Wilburys of their day.
Del McCoury Band
Originally a guitar player with the legendary Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, Del McCoury branched out to form his own band and to produce his brand of bluegrass music that made him immensely popular. Playing alongside famous musicians, such as Steve Earl, McCoury became a really popular figure in contemporary music by bringing great bluegrass playing to the more mainstream music scene.
Bluegrass music has not always followed the traditional course, but the new bands laying down some variations of this beloved music are keeping the genre alive and bringing new younger fans to this eighty-year-old music genre.