• What is The Nashville Number System?

    I have recently been asked to address the issue of the number system, or as it’s sometimes called, “The Nashville Number System” (note that in Knoxville, it’s always referred to as “The Knoxville Number System”). I was a little reluctant to deal

  • Concept album fun for you and me

    The biggest recent news in my band has nothing to do with new CD releases, international tours, or our band “bus” failing an emissions test. It’s more in the realm of geological news: the youngest son of our mandolin player

  • The great album cover dilemma

    Are you putting together your first CD cover, or are you looking for ways to upgrade the quality of your newest one? Don’t feel any pressure; that’s pretty much a yes or no question, and there’s no right or wrong

  • The power of positive bluegrass

    In many parts of our society, we place a high value on being positive. “Just stay positive,” we’re often told, even if we’ve just received the news that we have three months to live. Some countries are more positive than others,

  • Mr. Bluegrass Manners rides again

    Mr. Bluegrass Manners has been away for awhile. First he was dealing with final exams at ETSU where he teaches a class in the bluegrass program there called “Bluegrass Etiquette in a Rude Rude Rude Time.” Then he took a

  • 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.”