Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The New Bluegrass? Those Darlins in Rolling Stone

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 10:29 AM

click to enlarge Rowland, is that you? It smells like you, but there's something different...
  • Rowland, is that you? It smells like you, but there's something different...

Rolling Stone recently sat down with Del McCoury and Sam Bush to talk about "five acts to watch" in the new school bluegrass scene. RS, Bush and McCoury shoot the shit about new jack pluckers like Old Crow Medicine Show, O'Death, Uncle Earl...and Those Darlins?!? Huh? I know for a fact that Nikki Darlin is an Appalachian lunatic, but I didn't know that was all it took to be a bluegrass band.

[Insert joke about Darlins' musical ability here. Brace for the inevitable boot in the balls I'm going to get from Kelley here.]

I'm from New England and don't really have the bloodlines to make empirical declarations about the difference between traditional country and bluegrass, but this list seems like a pretty far stretch--a great group of bands, fer sure, but, uh, not really bluegrass. These acts are more Uncle Dave Macon than Bill Monroe, at least as far as the ones I've seen, and I'm sure it's easy for some Coastal Media Elite-type person to confuse the two.

I've always been under the impression that bluegrass is more like speed metal and trad-country is more like Oi!--both have similar aesthetic origins, but the presentation and adherence to technique are what made them different. Or maybe it's just uncool to call young, hip bands "country" for fear of scaring away classist, regionalist Brooklyn Vegan readers. The longer I live away from the coast, the less I understand Coastal Hipsters--thems is weird kids fer sure. But this article also ran in Rolling Stone, which is like the "cool dad" of music magazines, so who knows.

Where do you guys draw the line between trad-country and bluegrass? And is anybody else weirded out by the national presses' obsession with Jessi's dentistry?

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