Here’s another new entry in Bluegrass Todayging community – The Australian Bluegrass Blog.
The site is managed by Greg McGrath, a serious Aussie bluegrass enthusiast who I met last spring when he was visiting in the US. Greg also maintains Gippsland Bluegrass, a blog for pickers and bluegrass fans in his part of Victoria.
During a recent discussion, Greg shared the story of how he came to be involved in blogging, and it demonstrates the sort of missionary zeal that has kept bluegrass music active and growing for so many years – and especially how it manages to extend its reach so far from where it was born sixty years ago.
“I was inspired to do something after my big trip to the USA last year. I wanted a medium to show my pictures and tell the stories of the many wonderful people I had met in North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky. I was also taken by the work that Pete Wernick was doing through his Jam Camps; I was invited to attend the one in North Carolina last year and spent four days there in awe of what Pete and Joan were achieving with otherwise ‘closet pickers.’
I got home and explored some web site options, but did not have the immediate technology to take advantage of them. I tried building websites, but as a frustrated perfectionist I was not happy with the results and I could not afford software to build them or the cost to host them. After a several months of frustration I virtually gave up trying to get what I thought were some great stories up on the web.
One of the folks I met during my time in the USA was Ted Lehmann who spends his days traveling to festivals and reporting on them on his blogsite. I did not readily understand what a blog was then, but it was always there in the back of my mind.
More months passed and I happened across Ted’s blogsite once again and spent some time there, trying to understand the mechanics of how he made it work and what might be involved for me.
During this time ‚Äì inspired by Pete Wernick’s work – I started to invite musicians into my home to learn the etiquette of bluegrass jamming and develop their confidence ‚Äì just like Dr. Banjo. My aim was to build up a group of jammers who could help grow interest in bluegrass music in the region. About this time I found a way to create my own blog site (Gippsland Bluegrass) and used it to generally post news of happenings across my region and to give the local jammers and others a reference point for all things bluegrass, especially those who were new to the music.
I had some success with this site. It was being read by many people outside the state who encouraged me to do something similar for the wider Australian scene. I then discovered Bluegrass Today and that gave me the final bit of encouragement I needed to tackle a national site – The Australian Bluegrass Blog.
The two sites differ in that I am trying to keep the ABB about Australian bluegrass news and events on a national level, while the Gippsland blog really is more locally focused with some international posts from time to time.
The ABB is is just on 5 months old now (launched in January 2008) and has several contributors from across Australia. I welcome contributions from far and wide. If it’s about bluegrass music and relevant somehow to Australian scene then it’s welcome on the site.”