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Bluegrass

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What Makes This Musician Great?–Bill Monroe

As I talk to people about American music and Southern music, I’ve noticed that many folks mistakenly assume that Bluegrass is an old genre stretching back into the hills for generations.  In fact, it’s one of the newer genres of American music, and we can trace its beginnings to one man in the 1940’s who single-handedly set all the standards…
Tom Daniel
September 8, 2021
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Hillbilly Thomists

What would you give in exchange for your soul? Bluegrass greats Bill Monroe and Doc Watson asked that question in one of their most memorable live recordings. It’s also the same one posed by Fr. Thomas Joseph White, O.P., on one of the tracks of the first album released by the Hillbilly Thomists, a bluegrass band of Dominican friars from…
Casey Chalk
February 8, 2021
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Appalachian Music and the Phonograph

In the late 19th century, Romantic composers were driven by nationalism as a means to advance their art.  For example, Russian composers like Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov made their composed music sound Russian, and the only way to do this was to become immersed in Russian folk music to see what made it tick.  They studied work songs, play songs,…
Tom Daniel
December 4, 2020
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Bluegrass and Jazz: What Do They Have in Common?

If you’ve come across some of the other things I’ve written for Abbeville, you might have been exposed to my assertion that almost all of American music is Southern music.  Therefore, an obvious answer to the question of what do Bluegrass and Jazz have in common would be geographic origin.  Yes, they definitely both come from Dixie, hallelujah.  And just…
Tom Daniel
April 24, 2019