by Lee Zimmerman
Photograph by Jay Blakesberg
“I heard, ‘bluegrass is going to be big this year’ when I started playing around 1964… and every year after that for 20 years,” John McEuen recalled. While “big” remains a relative term, bluegrass has definitely seen a growth spurt. “Every year since, it has expanded, grown and increased its audience a few percentage points.”
One of the earliest threads of Americana and one rooted in more rustic realms, bluegrass owes its consistent rise in popularity to artists who have always taken the music’s traditional trappings and moved them toward the mainstream. It’s clearly not your father’s bluegrass anymore. In fact, it never was.