When The Doors Are Open Wide You May Get More Than You Bargained For!

A press release for a new (non-bluegrass) album came to our attention this week. It's a new album by Todd Snyder entitled Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables” on Aimless Records.

A lot of us in the bluegrass community don't venture outside of our own boundaries very often and sometimes what we find can be very disturbing. So hold on to your seats because this next part may be shocking. It's not what we normally would write but we felt strongly enough to make you aware of it's existence.

This press material quotes Mr. Snyder as saying 'I want to inspire people. I want to inspire them to leave home, to do things traditionally considered wrong. If you listen to my record and vandalize your school, godspeed.”  and they're labeling him as a “Rabble Rouser”

With that kind of message don't you think “Rabble Rouser” is just a bit too tame?

We then found a review of this same album published in the Republican newspaper out of western Massachusetts. The writer, Kevin O'Hare said this young man “is one of the best songwriters in America, straight out of the Jerry Jeff Walker, John Prine school of rabble-rousers” Since we have not heard any of his music that we're aware of, we'll save judgment on his writing ability but it's clear that his sense of respect and decency are in question. However, to equate him with Walker and Prine may be a serious discredit to both of them.

Even though there are (and have always been) some subjects in bluegrass that may hover around the fringes, (murder, moonshine, etc.) they are reflections of the lives lived by the community and not an all-out call for rebellion.

What the advocates of the “Big Tent Theory” don't seem to consider is that when you open the door that wide you'll get all the Todd Snyders PRESCRIPTION BLUEGRASS IMAGE -  BIG TENT THEORY GRAPHICyou ever wanted and a lot more. And once the door is open it's impossible to close it again. 

This Big Tent Theory that says there is room for all is much like the guy who moves from the small town to the big city so that he'll have more opportunities for work, for education, for recreation and entertainment, culture and sophistication then complains about the crime and the taxes that he didn't have in the small town.

Big Tent subscribers, is this what you want the bluegrass music to become? Sorry, but you can't have it both ways.

No comments: