In today’s competitive environment it’s hard to break through the barriers when it comes to airplay and sales.
Some choose the aggressive marketing approach to overcome this: frequent calls to program directors, in-person confrontation, and in extreme cases, kidnapping of DJs (please don’t try this with me; I’m only in charge of the Truegrass show, which means pre-1990 releases).
Another approach is through the songs themselves. For example, some have recently used the names of SiriusXM shows in their song titles, so we now have Derailed, Bluegrass Junction, True Grass Again, and I Wish Kyle Cantrell Was My Dad (I made that last one up).
But a tried and true method of getting bluegrass airplay on all forms of radio, and resulting bluegrass chart success, is to write the bluegrass song about bluegrass. We lead all other genres in this department. There are two or three rock ’n’ roll songs in this category (Rock ’n’ Roll Music, Old Time Rock ’n’ Roll, etc.) and one or two country ones (Don’t Rock the Jukebox, Kindly Keep it Country).
It’s highly unusual in the classical world, but there were reports of Johann Sebastian Bach having composed a song for alto voice entitled Spiel Barock Musik Oder Zieh Leine! (Play Baroque Music or Get Out!), but apparently it achieved very little commercial success and was mostly sung at parties after a fair amount of Riesling had been consumed.
In the world of bluegrass music, though, we could fill up an an entire Time Life collection of songs about our own music: That Bluegrass Music, Blame it On the Bluegrass, A Far Cry From Lester and Earl, Monroe’s Doctrine, Bluegrass Saturday Night, That High Lonesome Sound, not to be confused with That High Lonesome Sound, most recently Write Bill a Letter, and the list goes on.
Is there room for more songs in tribute to our music or in protest of kinds of bluegrass we don’t like? Of course there is, and here are some song ideas for you, absolutely free (though 50% of the publishing would be fair). These will practically write themselves:
Bluegrass is My Life
Oh Boy It’s Bluegrass Festival Time Again
Just a Banjo Romance
Bluegrass is My Overall Preference When it Comes to Genres of Music (possibly a little wordy)
Where’s the Bluegrass?
Bluegrass Makes Me Cry
I Can’t Quit Playing Bluegrass
Bluegrass Has Been Very Good to Me
The Fiddle Wrecked My Marriage
Bluegrass in My Veins
Bluegrass in My Arteries
In the songs-about-Monroe sub-genre:
Bill Made it, We Play It
That is Part of Something
Bring Bill Back From the Dead
W.W.B.D. (What Would Bill Do)
I Dreamed I Was a Blue Grass Boy
Nephew of Uncle Pen
Son of the Nephew of Uncle Pen
In the reactionary bluegrass protest song sub-genre:
Play Bill’s Music Right (shared with the above sub-genre)
Stop Trampling On My Grass
If It Doesn’t Have a Banjo I Don’t Want to Hear It
How the Music Used to Be Before a Bunch of People Ruined It
Other Kinds of Music Are Crap (this might lack subtlety but it makes a strong statement)
Did I mention I want 50% of the publishing?