Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Father of Bluegrass

Born this day in 1911, Bill Monroe would have been 98 years old today.

Not just a musician, not just a songwriter, not just a showman or assembler of great talent...Bill Monroe invented a new genre of music. Bluegrass did not exist until Bill Monroe assembled a band. He was looking for a specific sound, one that was in his head and nowhere else.

He along with Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Mac Weissman and a slew of others that passed through his employ, defined and set the only mark that told us what "Bluegrass Music" was.

If a band came along that called themselves "bluegrass" and it was missing something in Bill's head, he was fast to retort, "That ain't no part of nothing.". And you couldn't argue with him. He was the guy.

Bill suffered a stroke in 1996 and could no longer play. In September of that year he passed away. Emmylou Harris commented, "We all knew that if he [(Monroe)] ever got to the point that he couldn't perform that he wasn't going to make it. Music was his life." .

Bill Monroe isn't with us anymore, but the music he defined...the music style he created...lives on.

Long live bluegrass. Long live beautiful and powerful music. Long live Bill Monroe's memory.

Thanks Bill!

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