Christa Turnell

Did Bill Monroe Write Uncle Pen?

Did Bill Monroe Write “Uncle Pen?”

If  you drop the names of Bluegrass players and singers in a group of typical Bluegrass fans, it is going to set off an immediate debate over when, what festival, and which band line up cut a particular track or performed a piece live.  The reality is Bluegrass bands shift over time, and have since Bill Monroe brought his music to public notice in the 1930s.

One of the great Bluegrass debates covers Bill Monroe’s song, “Uncle Pen.”  People claim that Monroe did not write the song, or its music.  And, depending on who is telling the story, any number of guitarists and fiddle players claim to have written the song. READ MORE »


Mandolins in the Bluegrass Family

November 30, 2010 bluegrass music

The rather small, eight stringed mandolin with its fairly  poor stage projection seems an unlikely source of  modern Bluegrass music. Yet this magical instrument has become one of the best markers of Bluegrass. While Bluegrass is largely an American form of music, it is also derived from Irish and Scottish music.  In the early portion […]

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The “Mysterious” Mandolin

November 17, 2010 bluegrass columnist

Bluegrass is a celebration of challenging vocals and a wide variety of instruments. Perhaps the most important of those instruments is the mandolin. Few bluegrass musicians, and probably even fewer non professional players would tell you that Bill Monroe was not their inspiration to give the instrument a try. To some people, the small, eight-stringed […]

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