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Let Us Now Praise Famous Dives, Part 2: The Station Inn

27 June 2011

Summer, the season for sequels, has officially arrived. Those mobs at the cineplexes who have turned out to see The Hangover 2 or Cars 2 have not gone unnoticed by yer Cousin Curly. It seems that today’s perspiring public wants nothing more than, well, more of the same, and who am I to argue? In this spirit, I offer up the following summer bluegrass blockbuster…

Those of you following this space closely know that I’m a great fan of The Cantab Lounge, New England’s Mecca for Bluegrass and other roots music. When I posted my paean to that venerable institution, I called it “Let Us Now Praise Famous Dives, Part 1,” knowing that I had a “Part 2” lined up.

That was in May of last year. Nothing like just-in-time delivery, is there?

Anyhow, the long wait is over. Popcorn is optional…

Not all the music at the Station Inn is bluegrass, but much of it “demonstrates bluegrassish tendencies,” as the doctors like to say. In addition to the famous names mentioned in the video, here’s a sample of the performers who have appeared at the Inn over the past few years: The Red Stick Ramblers, Kimberly Williams, Blue Highway, Dierks Bentley, Roland White and Shawn Camp. Special mention should be made of The Cluster Pluckers and The Mashville Brigade, a couple of “supergroups” of Nashville musicians who are or were fixtures on the scene.

Going a bit farther back, no less a figure than Bill Monroe himself trod the Inn’s humble stage. You could make a movie about this place’s many brushes with fame, and it appears that one Patrick Isbey has done just that. Click here to see a clip from his documentary, The Station Inn: True Life Bluegrass.

Although our beloved Cantab can’t claim the international recognition afforded the Station Inn, otherwise these two joints feel like twins separated by nothing more than distance. They share a complete lack of pretense that can’t be imitated or approximated. Their very ordinariness makes them special.

Yer Pal— Curly

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