Bluegrass is sometimes viewed as music for old fogies. The emphasis on tradition, the lack of electric instruments, the sheer lonesomeness of it all – it’s not Katy Perry or Justin Beiber, that’s for sure. In the past several years, however, it seems like more and more young people are becoming interested in bluegrass. While they may be coming to the genre in somewhat unconventional ways (Mumford and Sons, anyone?), many folks are glad to see teens and college students taking an interest. Scott Donnelly, host of The Pickin’ Parlor on the University of New Hampshire’s campus radio station WUNH, is one bluegrass fan who welcomes the younger generations.
“I like the fact that young people are discovering it and bending the rules,” he says. “The interest has increased tremendously over the years with the advent of “jam bands” and, believe it or not, the playing of the banjo on songs from all genres.”
There is one place where he’d like to see some younger faces, however. “The bluegrass festival crowd needs an infusion of youth,” he says. “I think over the long run this will happen. Let’s keep encouraging them to keep the music alive.”
Donnelly has been a broadcaster for over thirty years. He got his start when the DJ he replaced was trying to plan an exit from the radio business. “He snagged me after learning I played banjo and loved bluegrass music,” Donnelly says. Now, listeners can hear him every Sunday morning from 8:00 to 10:00. He has no plans for stopping any time soon, either.
“As a volunteer DJ, I have a relentless passion for this music,” he says. “I want to thank the listeners for keeping these musicians doing what they love to do. Together, we can keep this music alive for many generations.”
We recently had the chance to ask Donnelly a few questions about his thoughts on bluegrass music. Here’s what he had to say.
What form of bluegrass do you most enjoy?
What bands do you consider examples of the form you most enjoy?
If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
“J.D. Crowe & the New South – self-titled. It captures the energy, groove, and mastery of the music from all of the eras.”
What album is currently in your car stereo?
“Window View by Nick DiSebastian.”
Artists who would like to submit their music to Donnelly for airplay consideration can send a hard copy to him at:
Memorial Union Building
Durham, NH 03824
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