From The Side of the Road… 2021 Bluegrass Knowledge Test

Happy New Year! I believe I said that last week, but I figure if I say it often enough it has a better chance of being true. 

It’s time for a New Year’s tradition around here, and that is our annual Bluegrass Knowledge Test (BKT), in which you answer a series of bluegrass trivia questions (BTQ), to see how you rank on the Bluegrass Knowledge Scale (BKS). This is as much an annual ritual now as New Year’s resolutions (NYR). 

Unlike New Year’s resolutions, you can take this test and your score will last beyond the month of February. By the way, my first New Year’s resolution was to use fewer acronyms. I wrote that at the top of my list as “UFA” which also stands for United Farmers of Alberta.

There will be seven questions, each one slightly harder than the previous one. If you spent some of your pandemic time increasing your knowledge of bluegrass music, that is when you weren’t baking bread or binge-watching Green Acres, you should be able to improve your score from previous years.

Here, reprinted from previous years, is your guide to what your score says about your knowledge of the music:

If you answered 0 questions correctly:

You’re a 1: You know nothing about bluegrass music and don’t care. You just took the quiz because you have a lot of time on your hands, and The Voice doesn’t come on until 8:00.

You answered 2 or 3 correctly:

You’re a 2. You know next-to-nothing about bluegrass music, but probably have strong opinions about it anyway.

You answered 4 to 5 questions correctly:

You’re a 3: You know a lot about this music, but not enough to be annoying at parties.

You answered 6 questions correctly:

You’re a 4. You’re an expert. You’ve spent a lot of time listening to and absorbing information about bluegrass music. You probably have very few friends and are not very good at basketball.

You answered all questions correctly: you’re not fooling anyone; you’re Neil Rosenberg, and why did you bother taking this test (again)?

1) The D-28 guitar, played by many bluegrass guitar players is made by . . .

A. P.F. Flyer

B. C.F. Martin

C. D.B. Cooper

D. H.R. Haldeman

E. H.R. Pufnstuf

2) Del McCoury’s band name before it was The Del McCoury Band was . . .

A. Del McCoury and the Happy Kampers

B. Del McCoury and the Wayward Pals

C. Del McCoury and the Dixie Pals

D. Del McCoury and the Pals

E. Del McCoury and Deathstar

3) After its inclusion in Flatt & Scruggs’ band in the 1950s, which instrument was added to the list of traditional bluegrass instruments?

A. The dobro

B. The oboe

C. The resonator guitar

D. The resonator-style Hawaiian-influenced acoustic steel guitar which has a much shorter name but it’s copyrighted so it’s best if we don’t use it

E. A, C, and D

4) The combination of Chris Thile, Sean Watkins, and Sara Watkins is known as . . .

A. Nickel Creek

B. Nickel Estuary

C. Susan B. Anthony Dollar River

D. Chris Thile and Deathstar

E. Nickelback

5) The original tenor singer in the Foggy Mountain Boys was . . .

A. Curly Seckler

B. Mac Wiseman

C. Bill Monroe

D. Luciano Pavarotti

E. Wayne Newton

6) For a brief period in the early 1950’s Carter Stanley didn’t play with the Stanley Brothers but instead was a member of . . .

A. Jim & Jesse & The Virginia Boys

B. The Four Aces

C. The Kroger Plus Club

D. Bill Monroe & The Blue Grass Boys

E. Carl Story and His Rambling Storytellers

7) December 2020 marked the 75th anniversary of . . .

A. Bill Monroe hiring Howard Watts, aka Cedric Rainwater

B. Bill Monroe hiring Lester Flatt, aka Chubby Wise

C. Bill Monroe adding a second “Kyper” verse to Molly and Tenbrooks

D. Bill Monroe mourning the loss of accordion in his band

E. Bill Monroe hiring Earl Scruggs

Answer key:

1: B

2: C

3: E

4: A

5: B

6: D

7: E