Acoustic Blue: Making Connections20 September 2010
When a star of classical music plays a concert at, say, Symphony Hall here in Boston, it’s common practice for just a handful of carefully vetted music students and aspiring professionals to be permitted into the green room after the performance. When a pop music act plays a venue like the Boston Garden, a select group of fat cats, friends and contest winners are given backstage passes.
In bluegrass, such gate keeping hardly exists. When I go to even very large festivals or concerts, I’m always struck by how accessible some of the biggest names in the business can be. Not only will performers generally come down to the merchandise tables after a show; it’s not uncommon to find them picking around some campsite in the wee hours.
This is one of the charms of bluegrass: that it’s an intensely social form of music at every level. Virtuosity is certainly prized, but there’s a human element to the music that’s harder to quantify yet equally important. Whenever we catch a bluegrass act, we’re particularly attuned to how the performers relate to each other, and how they connect with the audience.
This theme of connections— both within a band and with the public— is the subject of Cousin Curly’s final installment of Ye Olde Performer Showcase featuring the New England-based bluegrass outfit Acoustic Blue:
The song accompanying this segment is Merle Haggard’s rowdy ode to heartache and hard living, “Back to the Barrooms.” Just listening to it makes me thirsty.
To explore all the Performer Showcase segments, click here. A tip of the hat in gratitude to the members of Acoustic Blue for sharing their thoughts and experiences with me. Here’s to our paths crossing again soon!
Yer Pal— Curly