Even a true fan of bluegrass can see that the genre is kind of easy -- well, really easy -- to make fun of.
Often, at least to those unfamiliar with bluegrass music, the sound that they associate with the genre is robust, fast and, well, includes a banjo player.
Complete with emphatic narratives and a fiery ensemble of string instruments, the latest release from Old Crow Medicine Show, "Carry Me Back," is the group's most spirited and sophisticated album yet.
Rolling traditional ideas together with a progressive ethos, the Hatrick pushes the boundaries of bluegrass and folk with a carefree attitude.
"Across the Imaginary Divide" is another foray for Béla Fleck into jazz, coupling with a pianist much as he has done with Chick Corea in their live shows and on their CD "The Enchantment" (2007). The trio is filled out by Rodney Jordan on bass and Jason Marsalis on drums.
Nashville's hot new item, Humming House, harnesses Americana and throwback folk-pop to reinvent tradition.
Mike Compton reminds us of all the reasons why it's worth staying close to the traditions.
Initially a tribute to the late Merle Watson, Doc Watson's son and musical partner, MerleFest has evolved into one of the biggest festivals of its kind, on par only with Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, both of which draw between 70 and 80,000 people each year.