Annual Bluegrass Quiz for 2018

It’s January 24th, which means almost nothing except that there are only eight more shopping days till Groundhog Day. That may not seem important to you, but for the country’s merchants who sell groundhog-related items, like groundhog-imprinted sheets and groundhog-shaped waffle irons, this is the week they depend on to make their entire profit for the year. 

It’s also time for our annual Bluegrass Quiz, officially called the Bluegrass General Knowledge Quiz (nobody actually calls it that). This is an opportunity to see if you’ve learned anything about bluegrass music in the past year, or if you’ve just been playing video games and arguing with your friends on Facebook.

When I first published one of these quizzes, there was a ranking system based on how many correct answers you gave. Here’s a quick summary of my original explanation of the rankings: We will attempt to rank your knowledge of bluegrass music blah blah blah . . . your answers to the questions . . .  blah blah blah, etc

Just take the quiz. Your answer key and rank calculator are below (note: as in past years, the questions will become progressively more difficult).

1) Before Bill Monroe hired Earl Scruggs, he had a banjo player in his band who took his stage name from which green vegetable:

A. Kale
B. Stringbean
C. Fried Green Tomato
D. Swiss Chard

2) For legal reasons, the name “Dobro” is officially a brand name. What is the generally accepted  generic name for the instrument?

A. The Hawaiian acoustic resophonic slide hound dog guitar
B. You know, one of those guitars with that metal thing in the middle
C. That instrument that Bill Monroe didn’t like
D. The resonator guitar

3) Before J.D. Crowe called his band The New South, it was called J.D. Crowe and . . .

A. The Kentucky Mountain Boys
B. The Virginia Valley Boys
C. 21 Pilots
D. Them

4) How are mandolins tuned?

A. Rarely
B. Just like a gu itar, however that’s tuned
C. In pairs of fifths, G, D, A, E, from lowest to highest
D. Very slowly

5) Complete the following line of lyrics from the chorus of the Stanley Brothers’ White Dove:

“I live my life in sorrow, Since mother and daddy are . . .”

A. My landlords
B. Dead
C. Seriously injured
D. Named Kardashian

6) The fiddle player, also from Florida, who replaced Chubby Wise in Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys was . . .

A. Chubby Anthony
B. Chubby Checker
C. Slightly Overweight Jayden
D. Vassar Clements

7) In the song Salty Dog Blues a “Salty Dog” refers to which of the following:

A. An old “sea salt” or experienced sailor
B. A hot dog cured in brine, available at Cincinnati Reds games ($4.95, sauerkraut extra)
C. A corrupt horse trainer
D. I really don’t want to know

Answer Key:

1: B,  2: D, 3: A, 4: C, 5: B, 6: D, 7: D

If you got 0 to 1 correct answer, your Bluegrass Knowledge Ranking (BKR) is 1. Why did you even bother?

2 to 3 correct answers: you’re ranking is 2. You know a little bit about this music, enough to consider yourself an expert and get into arguments about the definition of bluegrass, the IBMA, and other fun topics.

4 to 5 correct: You’re a 3. You know enough about the music to find arguing with the 2s a tedious experience best avoided at all costs.

6 correct: Congratulations! You’re a 4, a legitimate bluegrass music expert. Getting dates in high school was challenging, wasn’t it?

7 correct: Once again, you’re Neil Rosenberg, or you’re a cheater and you’re fooling no one.