Bluegrass in Baltimore – The Hard Drivin’ Sound and Its Legacy

Bluegrass in Baltimore - The Hard Drivin' Sound and Its LegacyThe area including Baltimore, Washington D.C. and surrounding region, Maryland and northern Virginia, is noted for a power-packed style of bluegrass music, notably in the 1940s and 1950s, although it is often the style of choice even today.

During that era there was an influx of Appalachian migrants who came looking for work. As a consequence Baltimore found itself populated by some extraordinary mountain musicians, members of the Dickens family were among them, and it was for a brief time the centre of the bluegrass music world.

This period and these musicians are the subject of a new book – Bluegrass in BaltimoreThe Hard Drivin’ Sound and Its Legacy (publication date, May 31, 2015) –  that relates the far-from-easy life that these musicians endured, only ameliorated by the music that they played and enjoyed. Even in that enjoyment they were looked down upon with prejudice by the locals, and bluegrass music was deemed the “poorest example of poor man’s music.”

Based upon interviews with legendary players from the so-called “Golden Age of Baltimore Bluegrass,” this book provides the first in-depth coverage of this transplanted-roots music and its broader influence, detailing the struggles Appalachian musicians faced in a big city.

Bluegrass in Baltimore was written by Tim Newby, the features editor at Honest Tune Magazine and an active participant in Baltimore’s thriving live music scene.

The publisher McFarland Books of Jefferson, North Carolina, has created a video to introduce the book……


Bluegrass in Baltimore details a history of a very important region in the development of bluegrass music.

Full details about the book aren’t yet available, but here is what is known ..

Price: $35.00

Print ISBN: 978-0-7864-9439-2
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-4766-1952-1
ca. 55 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Softcover (6 x 9) 2015

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.