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Does Bela still play straight Bluegrass?

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Aug 10, 2022 - 9:30:22 AM
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8087 posts since 8/30/2004
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Yes, Bela is still a great Bluegrass player...Listen below is is a video from 2012 but Bela hasn't lost a single chop trust me. I'm posting this because I'm getting emails asking if Bela can still play straight B,grass...Jack

Blue Ridge Mountains

Edited by - Jack Baker on 08/10/2022 09:33:31

Aug 10, 2022 - 9:43:11 AM
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Omeboy

USA

3251 posts since 6/27/2013

Jack,
Maybe if we're all lucky, many of these same people will also wonder if they can use their toasters in the bath-tub.

Aug 10, 2022 - 10:06:46 AM
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RB3

USA

1434 posts since 4/12/2004

He was doing so well until he got to the 2:28 mark of the video.

Aug 10, 2022 - 10:08:56 AM
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13592 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Jack Baker

I'm getting emails asking if Bela can still play straight B,grass...Jack

Blue Ridge Mountains


Bela can play whatever Bela wants!

His "straight bluegrass" always had a progressive edge. The name of his current tour (and most recent album) is "My Bluegrass Heart." His tour band has included Stuart Duncan and Michael Cleveland on fiddle, Sam Bush Sierra Hull on mandolin, Justin Moses and Bryan Sutton guitar, Jerry Douglas on Dobro, Edgar Meyer and Mark Schatz on bass.

With that lineup, I'm pretty sure Bela is playing some mean bluegrass.

Aug 10, 2022 - 10:12:23 AM
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8087 posts since 8/30/2004
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Thanks Ken,
Yeah Bela is still the King or at least shares the throne...

Edited by - Jack Baker on 08/10/2022 10:14:22

Aug 10, 2022 - 10:15:46 AM
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8087 posts since 8/30/2004
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Hey Ome,
Leave those Crocodle's privates alone.laugh  Look at it this way. If we didn't have people like Bela and others who dare to be playing progressive music we'd all be listening to Renaissance Music as out fav. music...J
 
Originally posted by Omeboy

Jack,
Maybe if we're all lucky, many of these same people will also wonder if they can use their toasters in the bath-tub.


Edited by - Jack Baker on 08/10/2022 10:23:17

Aug 10, 2022 - 10:20:43 AM

8087 posts since 8/30/2004
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Wayne,
Bela didn't get that far out to my ears...Jack

Originally posted by RB3

He was doing so well until he got to the 2:28 mark of the video.


Aug 10, 2022 - 10:23:03 AM
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ChunoTheDog

Canada

1704 posts since 8/9/2019

When bluegrass gets a little pretentious is when I start dozing off.

Béla is awesome to watch, don't get me wrong.

But if I want some straight shooting old school bluegrass he's not my 1st choice.

Aug 10, 2022 - 10:23:29 AM

ChunoTheDog

Canada

1704 posts since 8/9/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Jack Baker

Thanks Ken,
Yeah Bela is still the King or at least shares the throne...


Agreed

Aug 10, 2022 - 11:19:23 AM
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KCJones

USA

1780 posts since 8/30/2012

Of course Bela can still play straight bluegrass. It's arguably the most simplistic style of anything played on the banjo. It's not about whether he can, it never has been. He can play literally anything, he's a master of the instrument.

Same with Noam Pikelny. He's probably the best bluegrass banjoist in the world. He just chooses to play jazz most of the time.

I recently saw Punch Bros (Noam) and My Bluegrass Heart (Bela), playing at a festival on the same day. Both sets were jazz  music, not bluegrass. Not really even progressive bluegrass, it was basically just a jazz show, which was quite frankly disappointing because I didn't really want to listen to a bunch of jazz music at a bluegrass festival. But the very last song of each set, both bands played ripping bluegrass songs with extended breaks in the traditional style. It was almost as if they were telling everyone, "just in case you doubted us, we can still do this better than anyone else". The only reason I was even in the field that day was to see Michael Cleveland, and he stayed away from the jazz and did not disappoint.

All that said, I would much rather have had Kentucky Thunder and Flamekeeper on stage that day. Now that's bluegrass!

Edited by - KCJones on 08/10/2022 11:21:39

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Aug 10, 2022 - 11:19:40 AM
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1965 posts since 1/28/2013
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This ain't the 1950's anymore, and Scruggs, Monroe, Stanley, the Dilliards, and Jim and Jesse are long gone. Traditional Bluegrass style today is mainly used for teaching purposes, once a Modern Player even reaches the Intermidiate level with the Scruggs style, they leave Traditional behind and set off to conquer new Worlds of music. You won't get anywhere today playing Down the Road, Rocky Top and Mule Skinner Blues, no matter how good you are.

Aug 10, 2022 - 12:15:32 PM
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686 posts since 4/1/2009

We ain’t in a episode of Star Trek yet either… there seems to be a many who make a name for themselves playing good, straight down the middle, banjo… I think I can even name a few if I try hard enough!

Aug 10, 2022 - 12:25:38 PM
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686 posts since 4/1/2009

I concur with Jack… I didn’t hear anything Fleck played that I thought got “too far” out in left field. Guys like Fleck, and Kruger are really talented in their craft. I’ve also heard both play both modern and old school ideas from different stylings. We need all of us! And you can never expect everybody to be “spoken to” by every player out there… it’s good we have them all to listen to in my opinion. I also think most any musician will gravitate to what ever style or sound speaks to them the most… for me it may well be the older school stylings, but I’m not gonna turn my nose up at anybody… you can learn something from them all!

Aug 10, 2022 - 1:01:49 PM
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Hmm? I'm not sure about that Jan...Lots of Festivals have Bluegrass and they are always full of people who like both traditional and modern banjo playing. I teach a few students much more advanced Melodic style...Jack

Originally posted by jan dupree

This ain't the 1950's anymore, and Scruggs, Monroe, Stanley, the Dilliards, and Jim and Jesse are long gone. Traditional Bluegrass style today is mainly used for teaching purposes, once a Modern Player even reaches the Intermidiate level with the Scruggs style, they leave Traditional behind and set off to conquer new Worlds of music. You won't get anywhere today playing Down the Road, Rocky Top and Mule Skinner Blues, no matter how good you are.


Edited by - Jack Baker on 08/10/2022 13:02:41

Aug 10, 2022 - 1:23:43 PM
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4133 posts since 9/12/2016

since we all have a different taste I play sour notes a bit here
Never bought into Bela's music--- When Bela hit the scene---Eddy Adcock already had great -- progressive single string going full tilt -----also-- I thought NGR losing Courtney to bela was sad. Single string coming so much in vogue instead of more in depth melodic -----seemed a shame in the land of Mundes=Keiths-Blacks etc. Courtney had robotic timing in his straight playing and sometimes drove the melodics.

Of course I have probably only listened to about a couple percents of Belas music --so I have no business saying much .No doubt he is a gifted to the max.
This leads me up to a question Jack--I have an album with Courtney playing White Freight Liner and never could figure it out ---I have been thinking, you might be able to.over and out --throw down on some Whitewater

PS another reason I always give is I just didn't have time for another hero

Edited by - Tractor1 on 08/10/2022 13:28:08

Aug 10, 2022 - 1:27:17 PM
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8087 posts since 8/30/2004
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I'll listen to it and try to figure out the song...Jack  p.s. just heard it. Just an advanced semi melodic tune Tractor. Nice playing by Courtney...

Edited by - Jack Baker on 08/10/2022 13:31:06

Aug 10, 2022 - 1:30:20 PM
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4133 posts since 9/12/2016

I have Bela doing it and it is all over the net--but the Courtney version is him at his best --thanks

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_the_Storm_Is_Over

Edited by - Tractor1 on 08/10/2022 13:39:34

Aug 10, 2022 - 2:16:40 PM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

27725 posts since 8/3/2003

I like the traditional picking but.... that second break Bela did was fantastic. Wish I could play half that good.

Aug 10, 2022 - 4:45:42 PM
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4133 posts since 9/12/2016

I went and gave that a listen--liked it a lot -too--the foggy mountain special lick for reverence and a lot of single stringing the same note which is something that sits much better than "too busy"-and the faded half time walk down at the end----that ain't the bela I was whinnin about ha ha

Aug 10, 2022 - 4:55:43 PM
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1965 posts since 1/28/2013
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quote:
Originally posted by Jack Baker
Hmm? I'm not sure about that Jan...Lots of Festivals have Bluegrass and they are always full of people who like both traditional and modern banjo playing. I teach a few students much more advanced Melodic style...Jack

Originally posted by jan dupree

This ain't the 1950's anymore, and Scruggs, Monroe, Stanley, the Dilliards, and Jim and Jesse are long gone. Traditional Bluegrass style today is mainly used for teaching purposes, once a Modern Player even reaches the Intermidiate level with the Scruggs style, they leave Traditional behind and set off to conquer new Worlds of music. You won't get anywhere today playing Down the Road, Rocky Top and Mule Skinner Blues, no matter how good you are.


 


Today a band needs a new sound. People want to hear something that sounds different. Plus banjo players today want to see just how far they can take the banjo. So far it seems the banjo has no limits.

Aug 10, 2022 - 5:24:02 PM

8087 posts since 8/30/2004
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I agree Jan...things are different these days...Jack

Aug 10, 2022 - 6:28:21 PM
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4133 posts since 9/12/2016

I never stayed much in the bluegrass frame of mind , too much other good music to get the five out and make noise with. But when I dig on earl hittin little girl of mine in tennessee --I'm lovin as much as it ever was possible. even Earl got tired of same ole same ole. Moderation works there as usual.The 3 part harmony and classic arrangements of grass --were never in my desires.
The banjo has had a strange run since it showed up a late kid in music instruments ,,I would like to see where it goes from here ---- if it keeps morphing this fast

Over the years --we have had periodic awakenings to the general public--such as FMB--Jed Clampete--dueling banjos--Smokey and the bandid --rocky top---we might be due for one of those

Edited by - Tractor1 on 08/10/2022 18:33:07

Aug 11, 2022 - 8:16:21 AM
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Even the vocals have changed. The high lonesome singing style is disappearing, and has been replaced by modern sophisticated vocal styles and arrangments. The old Carter Family type harmonies are non-existant, and even when they are used they sound corny and out of place. When you get right down to it, Traditional straight Scruggs is the easiest style to master. The Progressive styles Modern Players are using today is off the charts as far as skill level. Melodic style at one point was considered Progressive, but that is mild compared to what is being played now. Some Professional Players will spend a year or more mastering a certain song with the intricate picking patterns and left hand movements, before they perform it before an audience.

Edited by - jan dupree on 08/11/2022 08:18:38

Aug 11, 2022 - 9:40:02 AM
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8087 posts since 8/30/2004
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Jan,
I try to be open minded as possible but! I just purchased Sirius XM Bluegrass Radio for my car and most of the stuff they now play I turn off. Almost sorry I bought the Program...Jack

Aug 12, 2022 - 9:56:06 AM
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Eric A

USA

1602 posts since 10/15/2019

A lot of the vocals on what is sold as "bluegrass" today sounds like egregious Country Radio Twang to me.

On banjo, I'm not so sure that anything yet has been done any better than Down The Road from the spring of '49.

I'll die on this hill.

Aug 12, 2022 - 11:31:09 AM
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1965 posts since 1/28/2013
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quote:
Originally posted by Jack Baker

Jan,
I try to be open minded as possible but! I just purchased Sirius XM Bluegrass Radio for my car and most of the stuff they now play I turn off. Almost sorry I bought the Program...Jack


It's virtually next to impossible to get any kind of record deal playing Traditional Bluegrass, or get any of the Streaming Services to feature it on their Formats. And FM radio is not going to touch it, even the independent stations won't play it. They used to feature Old Time hours at midnight or early Sunday mornings, where they would play a couple of hours of 50's and 60's Bluegrass, but even that has been discontinued. The Dixie Chicks were the last ones to get any kind of air play on Commercial Top 40 radio, and they were told not to use a banjo or fiddle anymore, they refused and managed to get another year in before they were removed for Political reasons.

Edited by - jan dupree on 08/12/2022 11:33:53

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