Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Will the circle be unbroken

A Facebook friend "liked" a very good article describing how the soundtrack of O Brother, Where Art Thou? broadened the audience for bluegrass. The artists who provided the music of the Soggy Mountain Boys have reunited to perform at a gathering of the International Bluegrass Music Association. Toward the end of the article another group performing there is noted:
The band's appearance coincides, in spirit, with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the Red Hat headliner Friday evening—a band that has spent 2016 celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. Like the O Brother soundtrack, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's expansive 1972 record Will the Circle Be Unbroken brought revered traditional artists like Doc Watson, the Carter Family, Earl Scruggs, Merle Travis, and Jimmy Martin back into the national spotlight. It remains an important crossover record that bridges revered old-school figureheads with a young, fresh audience.

"These albums really helped cross over into the mainstream, and I think remind people how powerful and important the music is," Lewis says. "It's kind of cool to have both of those on the same stage, in the same night, to give a nod in the direction of film and of albums that bring traditional music to broader audiences."

There were eventually three collections of songs in a series of "Will the Circle be Unbroken" records/CDs. My favorite is Volume Two, the one that includes the remarkable gathering of musicians above (and more).


Fifteen Years Later, Bluegrass Is Still Reeling from O Brother, Where Art Thou? | Music Feature | Indy Week