Hooked on Bluegrass

Layne Bowen

I was a junior in high school back in Kansas when a friend dragged me to a Nitty Gritty Dirt Band concert. They played some rock 'n roll, but they also played all these acoustic bluegrass tunes that really got my attention. About a year later, the same friend dragged me to see New Grass Revival - I was knocked out.

Since I had been listening to the WHO, Beatles, Stones and Yes, it was probably good that I was seeing bluegrass (or something like it) being played by people who looked like me! I'm not sure I ever would have made the switch from Pete Townsend directly to Bill Monroe.

By my freshman year in college, I was playing in a bluegrass band with that same high school friend (one Ranger Rick Bradstreet). That following summer, I went to bluegrass festivals and learned the difference between bluegrass and newgrass in a big way. I saw Bill Monroe, Larry Sparks, Ralph Stanley & Lester Flatt and really learned to appreciate the traditional stuff. As time has passed, I've grown to appreciate the contributions of musicians from both ends of the bluegrass spectrum and everything in between.

(posted 12/4/2005)

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