To some, when they think of bluegrass music in Missouri, they think of The Dillard’s. Doug, Rodney, Dean Webb, and Mitch Jayne made quite an impact with their darling spot as the Darling family on The Andy Griffith Show. From Salem, Missouri, these boys took their Ozark bluegrass all over the world. With that being said, there is more to the Show-Me State Bluegrass world these fellers.
The history of Missouri Bluegrass Music is similar to that in other regions, with the basis being radios tuned to WSM in 1946, but unique in it’s own way as well. The Ozark fiddle style, Monroe flavored mandolin, raised head banjo sound, and rhythm guitar with heavy runs made up the first generation of Missouri bluegrass’ sound. Distinct harmony can be heard on these early recordings that uncommon to any other region. Home to one of the first bluegrass festivals west of the Mississippi (Bluegrass Pickin’ Time – Dixon MO 1967), the oldest Bluegrass association (Missouri Area Bluegrass Committee), and SPBGMA Missouri is an important state to the development and history
With the first generation of bluegrassers leaving us, a group of Show-Me-State natives have teamed up to form the Missouri Bluegrass Preservation Association. The non-profit organization has teamed up with The State Historical Society of Missouri to retain important information unique to the state’s music. MBPA is gathering up recordings, pictures, film, instruments, stories, etc to preserve for future generations with plans to open a museum in the near future. The museum will display several artifacts already collecting by the team, along with future donations and purchases.
The first objective for this group is the presentation of the Pioneer of Missouri Bluegrass Award. This award will recognize first generation bluegrass artists from the state that were influential in creating the unique style that is specific to Missouri. Several of these pioneers are still living, and it’s only right to “give them their flowers while they live,” so to speak. Honoring someone’s lifetime of music is an important chapter in the history of bluegrass, and Missouri Bluegrass Preservation Association has an avid desire to honor their pioneers and heroes. They will start presenting Pioneer Awards to those gone on once all the living legends have been honored. The Pioneer of Missouri Bluegrass is just a small token of gratitude for these important figures’ dedication and hard work for the music we love so much.
There have been many important artifacts disposed of in the past few years, which is a shame. Folks with anything pertaining to Missouri bluegrass music are encouraged to share the history they possess with the Missouri Bluegrass Preservation Association. Three collections have already been gathered and donated since the formation of the group in October ranging from records, to vintage instrument straps, to stage clothing and pictures. Any donations are welcome. Donated materials, specifically flats, will be archived through The State Historical Society of Missouri via their Rolla office, then properly stored until a museum is set in place. Partnerships with The Missouri Arts Council and Missouri Pure Music and Bluegrass Hall of Fame are being discussed right now.
This is a great new association with goals to preserve and honor a style of bluegrass unique to Missouri. If you have a piece of history you would like to have preserved for future generations, would like to make a donation (physical or monetary), have some artifacts to sell, or have any questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. A Facebook page has been set up, so folks can view some of the memorabilia that has been donated. A website is in the process of being set up, so MBPA can be more accessible to the public in the near future.
The history of bluegrass music is important anywhere in the world, and the Missouri Bluegrass Preservation Association is working hard to keep the roots of Show-Me-State bluegrass alive for the future.
Here is a sampling of some of the items donated to date.