Here it is April already and I’ve completely neglected the annual bluegrass quiz, which was originally intended to be a New Year’s feature. That’s just the way the first quarter of this year has been going. I expect to get started on my taxes next month.
Regardless of when it’s run, though, the purpose of this quiz is always the same: to test your knowledge of all aspects of bluegrass music, even the aspects you wish you didn’t know anything about.
Officially, this quiz is called the Bluegrass General Knowledge Quiz, or “BGKQ” (because who wants to waste time saying “Bluegrass General Knowledge Quiz,” when you could be wasting time cramming for the quiz itself). This name has now been officially recognized by the Tennessee General Assembly in legislation that was slipped in between a bill to exempt University of Tennessee tailgate parties from all current liquor laws, and another one naming a West Tennessee overpass after a state senator’s insurance agent.
After completing this officially sanctioned test, you’ll be assigned a Bluegrass Knowledge Ranking (or “BKR”) from 1 to 4, based on your number of correct answers.
As a reminder from the last time we did this, this is the key we use to determine your level, and this is what these numbers represent in terms of your understanding of the music:
If you answer zero to one question correctly, you’re a “1.” You know absolutely nothing about bluegrass music. You’re pretty sure it’s supposed to be called “blues-grass,” and you just stumbled on to this article accidentally while searching the internet for discounted grass seed.
If you answer two to three questions correctly, you’re a “2.” You know almost nothing about bluegrass, but have probably developed strong opinions about it anyway. You should consider becoming a bluegrass journalist.
If you answer three to four questions correctly, you’re a “3.” You know quite a bit about bluegrass, but not enough to start wearing eccentric clothes.
If you answer five to six questions correctly, congratulations! You can consider yourself an expert. You probably know all the words to “Little Bessie” (long form) and may have had trouble getting dates in high school.
And, once again: If you answered all seven questions correctly, you’re still Neil Rosenberg, and why are you taking this test again?
And now, the 2016 Bluegrass General Knowledge Quiz (note that as in past years, the questions start easy and get progressively more difficult):
1) Bill Monroe was known as “The Father of . . . “
C. The shock absorber
D. James and Melissa Monroe
2) Before the dobro became accepted in bluegrass music, the five traditional bluegrass instruments were the guitar, the bass, the fiddle, the mandolin, and what instrument?
A. The banjar
B. The band saw
C. The banjo
D. The bag phone
3) In the year 2002, what took place at the Grammy awards of interest to bluegrass fans?
A. Jimmy Martin sang (and inserted a G-run into) U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
B. Bono sang a version of Skip Hop and Wobble
C. Dan Tyminski was given a free microwave he didn’t actually want
D. Ralph Stanley won a Grammy for his recording of Oh Death, and also performed it on the show.
4) Before it was called The Del McCoury Band, Del’s band was known as . . .
A. Del McCoury and the Dixie Pals
B. Del McCoury and the Dixie Partners
C. Del McCoury and Winn Dixie
D. Del McCoury and the Dixie Ruhks
5) Mac Wiseman is known as “The Voice with . . . “
A. A brain
B. A heart
C. A tongue
D. Ranch dressing on the side
6) Choose the correct lyrics for the third line of the chorus of Little Cabin Home on the Hill
A. “Just listen to the rain beat on my window pane”
B. “Just listen to the rain beat on the roof and stuff”
C. “Just listen to the rain, enough with the rain already!”
D. “Just listen to the rain, since you’re obviously not listening to me”
7) Bill Monroe’s band of 1946-47, which included Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Chubby Wise, and Howard Watts, recorded all of their material in what major city?
D. Gotham City
Answer key: 1:B, 2:C, 3:D, 4:A, 5:B, 6:A, 7:C