The Picking Dead: Bluegrass and Zombies

One of the most popular cable series of the past few years has been AMC’s The Walking Dead. Based on the popular graphic novels of the same name, this dramatic series deals with the psychology of human relationships following a fictitious zombie apocalypse (i.e., everyone turns into zombies).

The Walking Dead (now in its fourth season) has drawn rave reviews from critics and fans alike, and is the most popular cable drama of all time. [The show is intended for mature audiences, as it does include adult content such as swearing, violence, and disturbing images.]

The show even has a bluegrass connection. To begin Season 4, the first sound viewers heard was the music of The Stanley Brothers! That’s right, Ralph and Carter’s version of Precious Memories opened the current season of cable’s most popular drama.

The scene finds the main character, Rick, dealing with the loss of his wife, who died during childbirth. Taking to gardening to find peace in this twisted world, he listens to Precious Memories to block out the horror around him. 

This isn’t bluegrass’ first encounter with zombies. Many may remember Woody Harrelson’s creative use of a banjo in 2009’s Zombieland.

Finding comfort in The Stanley Brothers during a zombie apocalypse caused me to contemplate how many of our favorite bluegrassers would look if they were “walkers” in The Walking Dead. Thanks to The Walking Dead‘s Dead Yourself app, I was able to find out, and the results are terrifying. Let’s just say, if a zombie apocalypse ever does strike, we better hope it’s not during IBMA week!

See if you would be able to recognize some of your favorite bluegrass artists (who also happen to be fans of The Walking Dead) during a “zombocalypse.” Click the images to find out who they are.

HINT: I’m the first one.


The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9:00 p.m. EST on AMC.

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About the Author

Daniel Mullins

Daniel Mullins is an IBMA award-winning journalist and broadcaster from southwestern Ohio, with an American Studies degree from Cedarville University. He hosts the Walls of Time: Bluegrass Podcast and his daily radio program, The Daniel Mullins Midday Music Spectacular, on the Real Roots Radio network. He also serves as the station’s music director, programming country, bluegrass, and Americana music.