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Independent Bluegrass Music

Bluegrass is an outgrowth of country music. Originally a way to keep country pure as the genre's popularity continued to grow, it has developed into a style of its own. The artists most responsible for bluegrass is Bill Monroe - the genre itself was named after his band. Monroe developed the genre's signature style (hard, fast tempos with high, close harmonies and an emphasis on instrumental technique) in the mid-1940s, popularizing it in the '50s. By the end of that decade, their sound had become part of country music. During the '60s, such groups as the Dillards took bluegrass further, adding rock and jazz influences to the music and creating progressive bluegrass.



The Bills


Alison Brown


Kathy Chiavola

Bluegrass singer/songwriter.

The Fish Heads

Bluegrass, but not your parents bluegrass.

Green River Outfit

A progressive approach to traditional music and genre-bending versions of contemporary tunes.

Tim Lake

An eclectic mix of bluegrass, jazz, and blues.

Jim Miller

Singer, songwriter, guitarist, fiddler, harmonicist, interpreter of traditional blues, bluegrass, folk, country and other ethnic flavored genres.

Monroe Crossing

Award-winning bluegrass group.

Pert Near Sandstone

Modern American Stringband based in Minnepolis, MN playing American Stringband, Old-Time, and Bluegrass music.

Becky Schlegel

Bluegrass, folk and pop.

Dave Tak & The Finnbillys

Kicks like country, jumps like bluegrass, has a rock-n-roll edge and lays on a bed of blues.

Wood's Tea Company

Acoustic group that performs fiery Celtic tunes, bluegrass, sea shanties, and American folk songs.


Indie, folk and swing by Duluth songwriting duo of Sara Softich and Jason Wussow.

One of the most important instrumental changes that occurred happened in 1945 when Earl Scruggs joined Bill's band, the Bluegrass Boys. Earl picked the banjo differently than Bill's previous Banjerist, Stringbean. Earl played a style known as three-f inger, and later known as "Scruggs-style." Now, Earl didn't invent this style, but he was the one responsible for bringing it out and introducing it to the public at large. In Scruggs-style the thumb, index and middle finger pick the banjo (with fingerpi cks) quickly, alternating fingers. What you end up with is an amazingly fast array of notes.

Bluegrass styles include contemporary bluegrass (The Nashville Bluegrass Band, The Country Gentlemen, Connie and Babe), traditional bluegrass (Bill Monroe, The Stanley Brothers, Ralph Stanley) and progressive bluegrass (J.D. Crowe and the New South, Alison Brown, Jerry Douglas).

Independent Music From Independent Bands and Musicians

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