Monday, April 03, 2006 ... 12:44 PM
I cut the following bit from my March 31 post because it's excessive and sort of silly, and I couldn't integrate it with the other segments. But I realized yesterday that the 5th paragraph in that post is a non sequitur without it.
A couple of weeks ago I watched this 1994 documentary, High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music. It's more a collage of bluegrass plot points than a story (and I wish John Cohen or Roscoe Holcomb had gotten a mention for the term "high lonesome"). It does stick together some charming original footage of Ralph Stanley, a jolly Jimmy Martin, and Bill Monroe.
Monroe is disarming and humble, singing and chatting, buckdancing yodeling picking, and looking pensive running his hands over the walls of a deserted hillside cabin that we're meant to infer is the Old Home. I like the connection the film draws between Monroe's vision of bluegrass and the streamlined chrome of the nuclear age. I love to see hillbilly and Southerner stereotypes derailed. It seems peculiar, revisionist, that bluegrass is heard today as a backwater or even backwards music. I think we can thank the cultural tailings of Deliverance for much of the perception. I felt a jolt of satisfaction discovering that the pretty urbane Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith won a lawsuit against the producers of Deliverance for using his "Fuedin Banjos" without permission. Hey Jughaid, ain't them Hollywood slickers know thar's laws pertectin' intellectual property?
I have that documentary coming up next in my Netflix queue, and am pretty excited to check it out. I've seen photos of Bill Monroe in the deserted old cabin, they were pretty powerful photos - maybe stills from the movie? I couldn't find a photo credit.
Making Notes: Music of the Carolinas
(Novello Festival Press, April 2008)
includes my essay, "Link Wray"
Flop Eared Mule
The Celestial Monochord
Dig and Be Dug in Return
Modern Acoustic Magazine / Blog
The Old, Weird America
Honey, Where You Been So Long?
The Greensboro Review
Fried Chicken and Coffee
Mungo (This was the blog of my friend, the late Cami Park. Miss you, Cami.)
Cat and Girl
Film Freak Central