The second part of our blog looking at the best female bluegrass artists that are on today’s bluegrass scene highlights even more talented singers and musicians. For years bluegrass music was a fairly male dominated music genre, but today the following artists are defining a more female aspect of things, and one that is blossoming.
Kristin Scott Benson
There are many females fronting bluegrass bands today but not as many side women. Side musicians are the bluegrass version of hitmen, highly skilled professionals that are hired to do a specific job. And Kristin Scott Benson is such a gunslinger, she is one of the most technically brilliant musicians in bluegrass today. Her banjo playing has gusto and fire in it that drives any band she plays in forward and with tempo. She often is to be found touring with super bluegrass band The Grascals and the IBMA have recognized her amazing playing by awarding her four times with the title Banjo Player of the Year.
If you are a fan of the great bluegrass band Front Country, then you will be fully aware of lead singer and the major songwriter for the band Melody Walker. Some critics cite Walker as an outspoken and politically minded artist, and to some extent this is true. Her songs often touch on delicate subjects such as racism, poverty, sexism and injustice, which sometimes enrage the more conservative elements of society.
Some of Walkers best work are actually cover versions of popular songs by a wide range of musical artists, everything from King Crimson, Don Henley and even tUnE-yArDs. She can be heard on the new album by The Good Ol’ Persons entitled Other Love Songs which pushes the traditional values of bluegrass music further than she has ever done before, songs containing material concerning race and sexual orientation.
Rebecca Frazier makes her reputation as being a first-class bluegrass musician, she was actually the very first woman to appear on the front cover of Flatpacking Guitar Magazine, such is the admiration for her musical dexterity. Frazier is also one of those annoying people that is amazingly good at everything, you just have to listen to her vocals to see that. Her most recent album When We Fall showcases both her great vocals and her brilliant playing.
Like so many of her bluegrass generation she entered into a musical career early in life. Frazier was not even a teenager when she formed the band Hit & Run Bluegrass and since then she has never looked back. Today she is a highly respected bluegrass guitarist and has been cited by many contemporary artists as their inspiration. For herself, she names the great banjo player Alison Brown as her own personal inspiration. Rebecca Frazier now resides in Nashville and is expecting a child, she moved to the city to give birth and for the time being her touring days are on hold.
The world of women and bluegrass music has never been stronger, no longer is this a male dominated music genre, and with extra special talent around like we have highlighted in this blog, the only way is up.