Here on top on Redbud Ridge, I see and hear a lot of things. Over the course of 20 years I have seen a great deal of change in what IS bluegrass. In the mid 90's a group of High-Spirited madmen created a new species of music. The BackPorch Rockers banged bongos with banjos and was loved/hated by Knoxvillians as the #1 Bluegrass Band in Town according to a readers poll in MetroPulse. Now adapting rock and roll songs into Bluegrass is run of the mill. How then does one push the boundaries of this very much alive and evolving genre? Mr. Bill Monroe was an innovator. He took the music that was around him and created something out of nothing. Heck, at one time he carried an ACCORDIAN player. So what is Bluegrass? Acoustic Instrumentation: The soul of Bluegrass is the purposeful use of acoustic, regional instruments. Banjo, MANDOLIN, fiddle, flattop guitar, dobro. They don't even have to be professional quality. Ham can mandolins and cigar box fiddles made to sound as sweet as a vintage Gibson or a Strad. in the hands of a master. You must actually be able to play, not just hold the thing. I do not speak to the pure vocalist. If your job is just singing, OWN IT! I have a good pal that PERFORMS to backing tracks. He is not a karaoke amateur, but a REAL pro, with real gear and REAL PIPES. Faced with the choice of not performing due to lack of a stable band (a difficult task) he crates his band up every night. He works hard at his bizz and my hat's tipped to the man. I have an issue with the POSER that at the core is just a bad all around musician/entertainer. The soul of grass is built upon respect for the Music, the Culture, the Region, the People (folks), others and most importantly one's self. We know that the music is meant to evolve. If one chooses to be a "novelty act" and parody, BE GOOD AT IT. Back in the day, some people were offended by the Rockers, and BPR was actually "banned for life" from one venue (now a nail salon). But no one could deny the brilliant talent of the artists, like or no. Ability: I will never perform live and sound like Redbud Ridge, simply because it's largely just me multi tracking these days. But by golly I can play all the songs myself. Improv and solos as well as vocals are expected. Any quack who knows three chords and owns a capo can fake most every song. Musicians know, understand, practice skills for years before exposing themselves professionally. I would NEVER say/post or present anything I wasn't prepared to do LIVE. When I am engaged, my consumer expects the product advertised. When you buy Beans and Open the can and get Clams, you are NOT getting what you pay for. MUSIC DOES NOT HAVE TO BE FORMULAIC TO BE BLUEGRASS: Kent Bilbrey Productions is proud that Sutton Aquarius is now #1 in blugrass. The Knoxville Sound she is helping guide is Redbud Ridge, Bilbrey/Phillips and Many other great Knoxville artists. Is that "big-mouth country girl" telling stories to music really bluegrass? You damn tooting it is. Acoustic artistry with strings and things? Yep. that's what it is. Don't listen if you don't like. Don't argue about what it is or isn't. SA IS #1! in bluegrass. Write your own stuff that's better and bump us off. Be prepared to have your real skills challenged. Another key component of Real Bluegrassers, We love to show off and PROVE who is the best in the room....
KBP is proud to announce our new website! http://www.theknoxvillesound.com/ Will take your there! Check it out and sign in!
I find it a sad commentary that the current Heavyweight Champ for Free Speech is Larry Flint/Hustler. But be that as it may, I would gladly stand up right this moment and protect his GOD Given and Constitutionally Protected Freedom of Speech/Expression, with my very LIFE if need be.
I personally have been involved in 3 Free Speech Cases. Two involved GOING TO JAIL over WORDS. Another actually led to a Court Hearing in front of a Magistrate. ALL CHARGES CLEARED. An attempt to squash/punish my free speech by means of False Criminal Charges and a restraining order, worked till the court date and was overruled Because you CANNOT RESTRAIN FREE SPEECH. Having served my country for 14 yrs to protect this right for each and every person that reads this, and having stood up to the Justice System many times, I feel comfortable. I HAVE SOMETHINGS TO SAY.....
My mama told me that " If you can do it it ain't bragging" Well, My page is #1 on this chart. One band represented on this page was VOTED Best Bluegrass Band in Knoxville, two years in a row, close to 20 years ago.
Recently, a band from just over the piedmont plateau near the coastal plains in Georgia, wrote in and declared "that I was NOT bluegrass". Let me address that as part of my "bigger picture"
I was born and raised in the little ol bitty hills of Tennessee. I've wandered around for years listening and studying the Music of My People. I play Mandolin like a banshee, solid guitarwork all around, 2 types of banjo, dobro, bass, and have been told I have a pleasing voice. AND MY PAGE IS NUMBER ONE IN BLUEGRASS IN EAST TENNESSEE. I, by damn AM the bluest sumbitchin grasser you've ever met! Middle Ga, is NOT even near the birthplace of my Regional ART. DO NOT PRESUME to reclassify ME from there. You bring your weak city crap up here chumps, and let me call some friends. WE get to define what bluegrass is because WE ARE BLUEGRASS!
Now, addressing a more local issue. There are "artists" on this chart that claim to "sound like June and Johnny".
To them: Well, you are lying..... AGAIN! Karaoke is not an art. You are frauds. You brag, but you can't do it. I have seen recent footage of several of your "performances". As your former teacher I say "SHAME ON YOUR RUDE MISBEHAVIOR" I know I taught you better. You MOCK the very culture and people you claim to represent and perform for. You have upstaged (the rudest thing ANY PERFORMER COULD EVER DO) real artists. and they MOCK YOU! You jackasses will never, ever sound like Junebug or Johnny. They had GIFTS from GOD that you will never have. My brothers and sisters in Bluegrass have that Gift.
Some of us have discussed this and have reached the following conclusion: YOU JACKASSES ARE NOT BLUEGRASS.
This is America. Anyone is Free to say anything they want. I say PUT UP OR SHUT UP....you are welcome to any gig I will ever, ever book to prove me wrong.
Now for your listening Pleasure...enjoy a BLUGRASS song I WROTE call, Stupid Mule......
(later on in the blog "sex" will be mentioned so stick around!) I woke up this morning and found out that I am in the TOP 40 NATIONWIDE for Bluegrass Artists on Reverbnation! (reread title)Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart. I truly love my fans. You are why I do what I do! I have got to be honest, I ain't that good. God has Blessed me! Period. My Colleagues are the very best artists anyone could wish to work with. Without God, "a little help from my friends", AND YOU my fans, I would be nothing. Bring music (anyone's) into your life daily and in LARGE DOSES! It's good fer what ails ya!.........What? oh yeah, the sex thing, "HIGHLY OVERRATED!"
Once again for the time being I am at the top of the Blugrass Charts for Knoxville! I couldn't have done it without you cool cattz! Happy Easter!
This collection of work is the product of dozens of the finest artists from all over the region. It includes songs by the Infamous BackPorch Rockers, twice voted Best Blugrass Band in Knoxville. With one exception, All the folks on the local chart are real talented musicians dedicated to the craft. Additionally, they actually sound live, like they do on their recordings