Chris Jones’ Bluegrass Today Quiz

I took a look at the calendar this morning (I do this at least once a month), and it occurred to me that I’ve been writing these weekly columns for Bluegrass Today for almost a year now,

One of the first ones that I wrote contained a bluegrass music quiz, and a ranking system for knowledge of bluegrass, with “1” being a bluegrass ignoramus and “5” being Neil Rosenberg.

I thought it would be a good idea to make this an annual event, in case your knowledge level has changed. It’s always good to keep your qualifications up-to-date, and I may make up a new quiz for that purpose, but this week, I thought it might be good to have a quiz on some of the subjects covered in this column over the past year.

There won’t be any formal ranking system, so there’s no pressure. Feel free to use the correct answers to win bets in bars (I’ll be expecting a small commission).

Chris’ Bluegrass Today Quiz

I. You should avoid taking a band publicity photo because:

  1. Your band isn’t photogenic (and that’s being kind).
  2. The only professional photographer in town specializes in wildlife photography.
  3. Your band personnel will change within six weeks of the photo session.
  4. You’re not actually in a band.


II. The two most overused adjectives in bluegrass promotional material are:

  1. “Lackluster” and “nasal.”
  2. “Hard-driving” and “dynamic.”
  3. “Greasy” and “green.”
  4. “Pointy” and “non-descript.”


III. It’s time for a new manager when:

  1. He/she was dead for 8 months before you knew about it.
  2. Major accomplishment of the year: encouraging the bass player to wear shades on stage.
  3. He/she took a vacation trip to Switzerland and has never come back.
  4. All of the above.


IV. “Blue Yogurt Thermostat” is:

  1. Something for sale at IKEA.
  2. A decent jamgrass band name, using the “item-in-the-refrigerator-plus-object-in-the- room” naming method
  3. A slang term used in meth labs.
  4. A phrase many people believe is in the third verse of the Dave Evans song Carry Me Back to the Bluegrass


V. You’re eating a “malted waffle” and off-brand fruit loops. This means you are:

  1. Eating the continental breakfast (6-9 a.m.) at a cheap hotel on the road.
  2. In my kitchen, and apparently I don’t like you that much.
  3. On the new “Colorful Carb-loading” diet you’ve been reading about.
  4. Overdue for a supermarket run.


VI. Which of the following lines, overheard recently at a festival record table, represents appropriate chit-chat with an artist:

  1. (Looking at one of the artist’s older CDs) “GOD you’ve aged!”
  2. (Addressing the female fiddle player) “Are you pregnant?”
  3. “I thought your last banjo player was a lot better. What happened to him?”
  4. “I really enjoy your music. Which is your latest CD?”


VII. “IBMA” is an acronym for:

  1. “International Bluegrass Music Association”
  2. “I’m Bringing My Antibiotics”
  3. “Incessant Bulls***ing and Milling Around”
  4. “Irrational Banjo Mania Allowed”


VIII. Which statement about life on the road is laughably false:

  1. No matter what the sign says, If you can’t actually see gas or food from the highway, it isn’t really there.
  2. Never drive in Atlanta, except between the hours of 1:00 and 4:00 a.m.
  3. Men’s rooms on the road are generally clean and pleasant.
  4. Never eat Chinese food at a truck stop.


IX. Which statement about the breakup of a band is most likely to be true and least likely to be said:

  1. We all part as the best of friends, with the utmost mutual respect.
  2. It was time for some of us to pursue different musical interests.
  3. We’re not splitting up, we’re just going on hiatus while we spend more time with our families.
  4. If we spent one more day with each other, someone was going to get hurt.


X. Which contract rider request is most likely to be honored by a bluegrass festival:

  1. Five towels (turkish cotton, minimum dimensions 18”X21”) must be provided on stage.
  2. Refrigerated, bottled water, and an assortment of fresh fruit must be provided in an air conditioned backstage area.
  3. Artist must not be scheduled prior to noon or later than midnight without prior consent of artist or representative.
  4. Artist will be paid after conclusion of performance. Any form of payment at all, including bartering of vegetables, is acceptable.


XI. Which of the following should you say when speaking to a Canadian customs agent:

  1. “We’re performing at a concert tonight. Here is our contract.”
  2. “We’re performing at a concert where liquor will be served. We’ll also be teaching workshops for extra money. Oh, and one of us is a convicted felon.”
  3. “We’re carrying 800 CDs, but they’re just for promotion.”
  4. “We’re kind of a band, but we’re not playing…well we are playing at this festival but we’re not being paid. So why do you guys like hockey so much?”


If you answered more than six correctly, thank you for reading this column in the past year. You’ve now accumulated more useless knowledge than is probably good for you.


Answers: I:3, II:2, III:3, IV:2, V:1, VI:4, VII:3, VIII:3, IX:D4, X:4, XI:1