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Bluegrass: The Early Years

Article Published: Aug. 1, 2013 | Modified: Aug. 4, 2013
Bluegrass: The Early Years

Patrick Crouch plays banjo with Strictly Clean & Decent, which will perform at Mountain Home
Music’s Aug. 3 presentaiton of ‘Bluegrass: The Early Years.’

Photo by Lonnie Webster

Bill Monroe organized a unique band of musicians back in the late 1930s.

A native of Kentucky, he named his band Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys. In 1938, they made their first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

The music caught on quickly. Other groups formed. The name of Bill Monroe’s band took on a larger meaning: It became a style. Mandolin, guitar, banjo, fiddle, bass fiddle and high tenor singing represented this style. Folks started calling it bluegrass.

The name stuck.

This Saturday night, Aug. 3, Mountain Home Music will present “Bluegrass: The Early Years,” a musical story of the beginnings of bluegrass.

“Radio broadcasts of the Grand Ole Opry helped bluegrass music catch-on,” said Joe Shannon, founder and host of Mountain Home Music. “But it was more than that, too. It was innovative, with rural roots; it was exciting and played by master musicians. Not only did folks listen, many wanted to make that, or a similar, sound. It didn’t take long: a name became a style, a style became a genre, and now bluegrass music is heard and played around the world.”

The concert this Saturday night, Shannon said, will be the third volume of “Bluegrass: The Early Years.” Previous concerts have focused on the music of Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys and also on the music of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. The music of these pioneers will definitely be a part of this year’s show, but the primary focus will be on the music of the Stanley Brothers — Ralph, and Carter and some of their early stylistic configurations, including a cappella singing.

Playing the music will be Kay and Patrick Crouch and Ron Shuffler — Strictly Clean & Decent. A master fiddler and member of the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame, David Johnson will join in this special concert.
George Shuffler, the brother of Ron Shuffler, was a member of the early Stanley Brothers Band, and it was George Shuffler who introduced flat-picking the guitar (Doc Watson style) into bluegrass music. As part of this concert, Ron Shuffler will share some of his brother’s experiences with the Stanley Brothers Band.

“Bluegrass: The Early Years” will take place at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, which is located at 170 Councill St. in downtown Boone (behind Earth Fare). Starting time is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. Student tickets are $10, and children’s tickets are $5.

Tickets may be purchased at Mast General Store (Boone and Valle Crucis), Fred’s General Mercantile in Beech Mountain, Kudzu Music in Boone and at Pandora’s Mailbox and the Dulcimer Shop in Blowing Rock.

Tickets may also be purchased online at For more information, visit the website or call (828) 964-3392.

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