Culture and Recreation


Is bluegrass music a distinctly American genre?

Yes, the style of music developed out of country music during the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s. Bill Monroe (1911–1996), a country and bluegrass singer-songwriter, altered the tempo, key, pitch, and instrumentation of traditional country music to create a new style—named for the band that originated it, Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys (Monroe’s home state was Kentucky). Bluegrass was first heard by a wide audience when in October 1939, Monroe and his band appeared on the popular country music radio program The Grand Ole Opry.

Although bluegrass evolved through several stages and involved a host of contributors, through it all Bill Monroe remained the guiding and inspirational force, and therefore merits the distinction of being the “father of bluegrass.”


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