Big Family documentary now available for streaming from KET

The excellent 2019 documentary about bluegrass music, Big Family: The Story of Bluegrass Music, produced by Kentucky Educational Television, has finally been made available for online streaming.

Filmed in large part during the World of Bluegrass convention in 2017 and ’18, the film tells the story of the evolution of the music, expressed by the artists who play it today. Interview segments are intertwined with audio and video from performers, starting with the earliest days, and progressing through to the contemporary artists of today.

Featured speaking during the film are some of the biggest names in bluegrass, including Béla Fleck, Ricky Skaggs, Chris Thile, Alison Brown, Sam Bush, JD Crowe, Del McCoury, Bobby Osborne, Laurie Lewis, and many others. Writer Teresa Day, and producers Matt Grimm and Nick Helton, did a masterful job of weaving the dialogue and the live music into a cohesive narrative that makes its two hour run time an extremely interesting and diverting program.

Upon release four years ago, Big Family could only be shown on KET broadcast stations, owing to the licensing agreements made with copyright owners of recorded music. But it would seem that those restrictions have been resolved, as the complete film is now offered as an online stream from the KET web site.

If you never seen this terrific presentation, set some time aside to watch. Any smart TV or online device that can search the web can access the video. Newer bluegrass fans will learn a great deal about the history and development of the music, while long term bluegrassers will enjoy seeing some of their favorite artists talking about their own experiences falling in love with the music.

Since KET depends on audience funding for a major part of their operating budget, you might also consider making a donation should you find Big Family: The Story of Bluegrass Music to your liking.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.