Bluegrass in Colorado

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Bluegrass stylings in Colorado have ranged from Hot Rize's mix of traditional and modern ideas with humor to the earnest traditionalism of Jeff Scroggins and Colorado; from the jamband approach of Yonder Mountain String Band and String Cheese Incident to the indie-pop sensibilities of the band Front Range. The Colorado bluegrass scene's participatory aspects (Gardner 2004) are entwined with lucrative enterprises like Planet Bluegrass and its instant-sellout Telluride and Rockygrass festivals. While the Colorado Bluegrass Music Society (est. 1973) and a variety of camps have long supported learning about the music, Colorado College and the University of Northern Colorado have begun to engage bluegrass as a part of curriculum. Bluegrass music making in Colorado parallels recent trends in bluegrass and related acoustic musics elsewhere, but also reveals local particularities. Presenters (key local musicians and music organizers as well as scholars) will highlight salient aspects of Colorado bluegrass, with particular emphasis on festivals, production aesthetics, jambands, continuity with larger bluegrass scenes, comparison with other "extra-contextual" scenes (Hambly 1980), higher education's engagement with the music, as well as ways that ethnomusicology can contribute to bluegrass activities, and vice versa. All attendees to this session are asked to participate in the discussion, bringing their perspectives on this and other "named systems" revival musics in Colorado and elsewhere. This roundtable will serve as a rare chance for scholars and nonacademic stakeholders to engage in relaxed dialogue about this form of music in a formal setting.


Denver, CO

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