I’m a farmer with a mandolin and a high tenor voice.
“To me there’s no difference between Muddy Waters and Bill Monroe.”
~Bob Dylan (to John Pareles, Sept 1997)
“Uncle Pen” from 1956 at the Ryman Auditorium:
|Birth name||William Smith Monroe|
|Also known as||Bill Monroe|
|Born||September 13, 1911|
|Origin||Rosine, Kentucky, USA|
|Died||September 9, 1996 (aged 84)|
|Genres||Bluegrass, Bluegrass gospel|
William Smith Monroe (September 13, 1911 – September 9, 1996) was an American musician who created the style of music known as bluegrass, which takes its name from his band, the “Blue Grass Boys,” named for Monroe’s home state of Kentucky. Monroe’s performing career spanned 60 years as a singer, instrumentalist, composer and bandleader. He is often referred to as The Father of Bluegrass.
From allmusic.com – Stephen Thomas Erlewine:
Bill Monroe is the father of bluegrass. He invented the style, invented the name, and for the great majority of the 20th century, embodied the art form. Beginning with his Blue Grass Boys in the ’40s, Monroe defined a hard-edged style of country that emphasized instrumental virtuosity, close vocal harmonies, and a fast, driving tempo. The musical genre took its name from the Blue Grass Boys, and Monroe’s music forever has defined the sound of classical bluegrass — a five-piece acoustic string band, playing precisely and rapidly, switching solos and singing in a plaintive, high lonesome voice. Not only did he invent the very sound of the music, Monroe was the mentor for several generations of musicians. Over the years, Monroe’s band hosted all of the major bluegrass artists of the ’50s and ’60s, including Flatt & Scruggs, Reno & Smiley, Vassar Clements, Carter Stanley, and Mac Wiseman. Though the lineup of the Blue Grass Boys changed over the years, Monroe always remained devoted to bluegrass in its purest form.
Read more @ allmusic
Awards & Legacy:
- made an honorary Kentucky colonel in 1966
- inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1970
- inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971
- inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as an “early influence”) in 1997
(Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Wills, Hank Williams Sr., and Johnny Cash are the only other performers honored in all three)
- As the “father of bluegrass,” he was also an inaugural inductee into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor in 1991.
- In 1993, he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
- he was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1995
- His well-known song “Blue Moon of Kentucky” has been covered not only by bluegrass but also rock and country artists, most notably Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, and Patsy Cline.
- In 2003, CMT had Bill Monroe ranked No. 16 on CMT 40 Greatest Men of Country Music.
Artists that claimed to be influenced by or to be playing the bluegrass genre were often bullied by Bill Monroe. He always considered himself the father and caretaker of bluegrass. He would often say of new bands that did not perform to his standards, “That ain’t no part of nothin’.” Even those who question the scope of bluegrass refer to Monroe as a “musical giant” and recognize that “there would be no bluegrass without Bill Monroe.”
“Blue Moon of Kentucky” – live:
Album of the day: The Essential Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys (1945-1949) (1992):
– Hallgeir & Egil