• Celebrate 2019 with a new Bluegrass Quiz!

    I have a New Years tradition: I resolve to quit smoking, then realize I didn’t smoke to begin with. That was easy. I also take this time to give an annual bluegrass knowledge quiz. This time around, I thought veteran readers

  • Yes, Virginia, there is a Bill Monroe

    Merry day-after Christmas. I’m spending the holidays in a somewhat remote area of western Canada, where it was necessary to write and send this column in late November, to allow time for it to be delivered by dog sled (with

  • Have a truly traditional Christmas this year!

    I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season so far. Much of traditional Christmas literature, including, I believe, the first chapter of Matthew (“Like, Really Awesome News for Modern Dudes and Dudettes” translation), refers to this week as “crunch time.”

  • Bluegrass gift giving guide for Christmas

    Do you give holiday gifts to the bluegrass people in your life, like your band members, your agent, your manager, your sound engineer? It’s not usually expected, which is good in a way: you’re off the hook if you don’t

  • Millennial adaptations of bluegrass standards

    We love to make fun of millennials; you know, with their selfies of their own wedding proposals, their own baptisms, and their own gas station fill-ups; their inability to perform labor-intensive  tasks like coal mining or voting. But of course

  • Did you see what the dog did?

    I’m neck deep in studio work in North Carolina this week, so here’s one that first ran right before Thanksgiving two years ago, and right after the 2016 election. As you’ve noticed, the political climate may actually be more tense

  • What will they write on your headstone?

    Perhaps it was the recent passing of Halloween, or perhaps the post-music-camp mental fatigue (I just returned from the wonderful Walker Creek Music Camp in California), but my mind has suddenly turned to the macabre.  More specifically I’ve begun thinking about