Is Bluegrass Going Mainstream?

Prescription Bluegrass Guest Editorial By: James Reams
PRESCRIPTION BLUEGRASS IMAGE  -  JAMES REAMSIt's getting so I can't turn on the TV or radio without hearing bluegrass music, or at least a banjo, within a few minutes! I’ve even seen traditional bluegrass music used for a political ad campaign, which probably had Bill Monroe turning over in his grave!

To paraphrase a car insurance commercial, all this bluegrass popularity makes me happier than a bluegrass musician with a record deal!
And it’s not just the US that has been bitten by the bluegrass bug. I just saw an ad for a foreign film that’s taking the European film festivals by storm – and it’s about a bluegrass musician! Plus crossover bands like the UK’s mega-popular Mumford & Sons have helped sprinkle bluegrass seeds internationally.

That got me to thinking (a dangerous thing for most musicians), “Why this apparently sudden popularity for all things bluegrass?” And, “Is anybody else wondering the same thing?”

Bluegrass has been enjoying increased interest by the general public pretty much since the epic “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack took home three Grammys and went octo-platinum. What was it about that album, and bluegrass music in particular, that struck listeners, causing them to shell out their hard-earned cash and, for some, to pick up an instrument and start playing bluegrass?
So, to take a cue from a popular late night talk show host, here’s my stab at the top 10 reasons (in no particular order) why bluegrass has taken off in popularity. I’m anxious to hear what you have to say as well, so email me at james@jamesreams.com and give me your 2¢ worth.

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