Bryan Sutton: Live “Log Jam”

The popularity of Bluegrass Music has been on the rise the last several years.

You would think that for this small but loyal community of pickers/musicians/ purists

this would be a good thing?

Well for many Bluegrassers, this type of music that is gained popularity is not even Bluegrass..

Bryan Sutton’s “Log Jam” is a perfect example of a newer type of bluegrass that is crossover

and not an art form that a lot of purist want to acknowledge as a bluegrass category.

I can of course argue both sides… but let’s just look at why I think it’s a good thing that

this pure music form evolves.

First, the music innovators for the most part use the same instruments with perhaps some slight

changes (various bands such as adding a cello or a flute). A full drum kit has never

been an instrument that has been widely accepted (don’t tell the Osborne Brothers). This is simply because the bluegrass

instrument lineup is a drum kit….. bass being the kick drum, mandolin being the snare,

acoustic guitar being the off rhythms or brushes, banjo playing a percussive roll such as

a shaker. .. well, you get the picture. Done right, the rhythm is very powerful and drums

actually get in the way.

So, this lineup of Bryan’s is still traditional right? Then what’s different?

Well folks, the only thing here that’s different is the skill level of the

players. You know, this could be a Bill Monroe song if you think about it. And if Flatt & Scruggs

played this back in the 50′s, it would sound traditional, as the chords here are the same as the bluegrass

players from yesteryear played as well. Now I’m certainly not saying that the classic players couldn’t play.

It’s just that styles change just like clothing, refrigerator colors (btw, my mother still has her harvest gold

kitchen appliances…)

This is all something to think about… I’m referring to the word popularity, as it’s musicians

like Bryan Sutton that are giving the music form a facelift and attracting more fans, especially younger ones… simply by

more diversified musicianship…

I’d love to hear your comments below, whether you agree, or disagree.. (and btw, I love traditional bg more than any

music on earth.. a Stanley Bro’s album turned up loud or Sparks and I’m a happy guy).