Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bluegrass Festival: Why I Love Bluegrass

To be honest, it's hard to know where to begin. I'll start by saying that I have listened to many different kinds of music, and you'll find in my iTunes account music ranging from the soundtrack of Phantom of the Opera to the modern electronic music of Owl City.

However, to me, there is nothing like bluegrass.

Bluegrass is a step back in time, while still retaining a sense of timelessness. Listening to a CD of bluegrass or attending a bluegrass performance is like listening to history. It's not fancy like classical music. It's not what teenagers desire at a dance party. It's not even like the popular country music of today. Bluegrass brings to mind what Dustin Taylor of Huckleberry Flint mentioned: "just sitting around a campfire playing songs."

Bluegrass is engaging. It beckons you to get up and dance. It urges you to sing along with all of your heart. The fast rhythms and the amazing cooperation of instruments make bluegrass a delight to listen to. Banjos, guitars, mandolins, fiddles--the music they make together astounds me, and when I listen to bluegrass I want so much to be a part of it, to be a part of the community it creates.

Bluegrass is heartfelt. The lyrics, whether they are more about today or more about the tales of yesterday, are all about what it is like to be a human. There is a universal theme to bluegrass songs. Whether they are about what it's like to lose a loved one, what it's like to be denied love, or what it's like to be full of wanderlust (a desire for adventure)--we can relate. Often, the songs are sorrowful and painful, because this world is full of sin and problems. But there are songs that express hope, and ones that are just plain fun. They are true to life, and I love that.

Bluegrass calls to me like no other music does. It's personal in a way that is hard for me to describe. It's music to travel by, music to listen to on this journey of life, riding the rails and hiking the trails. It's compelling in all seasons of our life. Music is a beautiful gift that God has given us, and I'm so thankful for bluegrass and those who play it with all the talent they have been given by God!

On that note, I'll announce the winners!

won the iTunes download of her choice of a Cherryholmes CD!

Vince won the iTunes download of his choice of a Huckleberry Flint CD!

(I used the List Randomizer to choose the winners.)

For those of you who didn't win, I strongly encourage you to check out the music of Cherryholmes, Huckleberry Flint, and other bluegrass artists. Enjoy the music meant to draw people together and touch your heart. If you want any other recommendations for bluegrass artists, feel free to leave a comment. I'd love to hear your thoughts on bluegrass or on your favorite type of music!


Julia M. Reffner said...

Congrats to the winners and thank you so much for sharing with us more about bluegrass.

I loved hearing why you enjoy it!

My favorite artists are Jeremy Camp, Christy Nockels, and Casting Crowns.

As for music for writing. I like world classical. I just can't listen to music with lyrics while writing or brainstorming and I find world classical spurs my imagination. I'm partial to Indian music right now, although I think that may be because that's where we're adopting from.

I would love to hear who are your other favorite artists in bluegrass. Do you write to music?

Amber Holcomb said...


I'm so glad you enjoyed this weekend, and I really appreciate you stopping by to leave comments for the guests, as well. :D

Thank you for sharing about the music you love! I think for writing it can be a lot easier to listen to music without lyrics, especially if the songs with lyrics are ones you're familiar with (which just make you want to sing along)! ;)

I hope all is going well with the adoption process! How exciting for you and your family. :) May the Lord bless you and your new child.

As for other bluegrass bands I like, I recently found one called "Balsam Range" that I really love! There latest CD is called "Trains I've Missed" and the song with the same name is beautiful with such an inspiring message! :) I also like the CDs "Fiddler's Green" and "The Crossing" by Tim O'Brien. There are many people that like Alison Krauss & Union Station, and the CD "Nickel Creek" by Nickel Creek is really good. (I think Nickel Creek's music has become more Indie lately, and I don't have their other CDs, so I can't say for sure whether I like all of their music or not.)

Anyway, there are lots of great bluegrass musicians, and I love discovering more bands on iTunes and such, or just going places where you can hear bluegrass music in person. LOVE that! ;)

Oh, and as to whether I write to music or not, I love writing poetry to music. :D I think because I do like a lot of music with lyrics, it can be hard to write my WIP to music, although I'm sure I have and/or will at some point. ;) I think what I love is pondering my WIP, where it's been and where it's going, while listening to music (especially bluegrass), if that makes sense!

Thanks for stopping by, Julia!


Renee (BlacknGoldGirlsBookSpot) said...

I do love the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack too Amber! I also enjoy the softer stuff like Josh Groban (can't wait for the new album this Nov.) and Michael Buble. When I feel like dancing I'll listen to Lady Gaga but she's really the only pop artist that I like nowadays. Most of the time I'll listen to stuff from the 60s and 70s. I like the later music of the Beatles and the harder rock like Jimi Hendrix, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin. I do ocassionally listen to country but I'm NOT a Taylor Swift fan LOL!

Julia I didn't know you were adopting, that's terrific! I hope everything goes well for you and your family!!!!!

XOXO~ Renee

Amber Holcomb said...


Oh, you gotta love the Phantom of the Opera--even though it's terribly sad! I think I've heard a little of Michael Buble, and there are some more modern-type songs that are a lot of fun to listen to with friends! ;) Have you heard the song "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz? I bought just that one song from his CD because it's so fun and energetic!

Oooh, and I love "Oldies," as well, although I confess I'm more of a Beach Boys fan than Beatles fan. ;) Thank you for sharing what music you enjoy listening to!


Ariel Wilson said...

My iTunes music is just as random :P I have mordern Christian, Taylor Swift, modern pop, HSM(!), soundtracks and tons of Disney. It's so fun putting it on random and seeing what pops up :P

Amber Holcomb said...


Fun! ;) I LOVE soundtracks, and Disney music is great! Thanks for sharing!


Vince said...

Hi Amber:

I’m delighted to win a Hunk Finn download. Perhaps I will try and play along with my mandolin. : ) It will depend on their song selections.

Bluegrass is happy with what it is and does not try to change with the times. It is most likely to have family bands. It is most likely to have band members of all ages from very young to very old in the same band. I think local Bluegrass festivals will have the most musicians in the audience. Usually people who like Bluegrass like it all their lives – regardless of how their other musical tastes may change. Bluegrass is like a loyal dog who gives you unconditional love no matter who you are. Of course, I love it!

My wife and I really enjoy the Del McCoury Band which is a family group and which has a fantastic Bluegrass sound all its own. I think you will enjoy this song, (notice what great pickers these guys are!)

Del McCoury Band: “It’s just the night”.


vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

Amber Holcomb said...


I'm so glad you're excited! I sent you an e-mail, so be on the lookout. :) I think you'll really enjoy their music; I think a lot of it would be fun to play along to (if only I knew how!).

Wow! I absolutely love the way you describe bluegrass music!!! Thank you for putting into words the general sentiment of bluegrass fans. :) I like the idea that bluegrass is happy with what it is and that it like a loyal dog. Very great descriptions! Love them!

The Del McCoury band does sound good; I have one of their songs from a bluegrass collection CD that belongs to my dad. :) Thanks for sharing that video! Very fun, and they do sound great together! :D


Jan Marie said...

I'll admit it - I am a classical musician to the core and prefer the symphonic classics. However, my husband, who has two degrees in music, one as a performance major and a master's as a composition major, has recently made a big jump. As long as we have been married, we have performed together in concert bands, playing the standard repertoire, and symphonies and operas. He has written works for symphony orchestras and concert bands.

After my mother's death in 2001, I regained possession of a violin that I had purchased for her. My husband took the violin and began taking fiddle lessons! Now he spends much of his time going around the area to Bluegrass festivals and playing in jams. He is having a great time but I have yet to join him on his escapades.

Jan Marie

Amber Holcomb said...

Jan Marie,

Classical music is beautiful. :) And those are quite some accomplishments your husband has made! How sweet that you play music together!

I'm sorry for the loss of your mother. I'm sure that must be so hard, even 9 years after the fact.

That is really neat that your husband has been taking fiddle lessons with that violin, though! :D So glad he's enjoying bluegrass. Maybe you'll fall in love with it, too. ;)


Julia M. Reffner said...


Thanks for answering my questions and giving me more bands to look up on YouTube. I think I've heard Nickel Creek and I know I've heard Allison Krauss. She has a beautiful voice with so much range.

Cindy at The Writer's Alley makes a new "mix" for each manuscript. I think that's a neat idea. I definitely think poetry is conducive to music.

@Renee, Thanks for the good wishes. I'm sure it will be an interesting journey, but I'm looking forward to it.

Amber Holcomb said...


You're welcome! :) Alison Krauss really does have a beautiful voice!

And that is a neat idea to have a different "mix" for each manuscript! It reminds me of Cerella Sechrist's website--she has a "soundtrack" listed on there for her book. That is so much fun, because I love thinking about my manuscript in movie format! ;)