Books on Bluegrass

Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

This morning, I am getting ready to head for Nashville for the International Country Music Conference which is being held at Belmont University. In past years I have presented papers (one on Sally Ann Forrester, one on Bessie Lee Mauldin—you can see I like to write about women with double first names!), but this year I am going to be part of a panel which will discuss Neil Rosenberg’s excellent book Bluegrass: A History.

Bluegrass: A History was first published in 1985, so this years marks its 25th anniversary. (Needless to say, if you do not have a copy, let your fingers do the walking RIGHT NOW over to Amazon and order one.) BAH, as Neil refers to it, is the only book, to my knowledge, to cover in detail the history of bluegrass music. And until fairly recently it was one of the few books that dealt with bluegrass in any way, shape, or form.

Nowadays, more books about bluegrass have found their way onto my book shelves and I thought, in honor of Bluegrass: A History, I would list some of these for you. I highly recommend them all.

The Music of Bill Monroe by Neil Rosenberg and Charles Wolfe (discography and text)

Finding Her Voice: The Saga of Women in Country Music by Mary Bufwack and Robert Oermann

Can’t You Hear Me Callin’: The Life of Bill Monroe by Richard D. Smith

Man of Constant Sorrow: My Life and Times by Dr. Ralph Stanley with Eddie Dean

The Bill Monroe Reader edited by Tom Ewing (collected articles about Monroe)

The Stonemans: An Appalachian Family and the Music That Shaped Their Lives by Ivan Tribe

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone: The Carter Family & Their Legacy in American Music by Mark Zwonitzer with Charles Hirshberg

Come Hither to Go Yonder: Playing Bluegrass with Bill Monroe by Bob Black (banjo player with Monroe)

I Hear A Voice Calling: A Bluegrass Memoir by Gene Lowinger (fiddle player with Monroe)

I hope that sometime in the near (or far) future I can add to the list Pretty Good For a Girl: Pioneer Women in Bluegrass by Murphy Hicks Henry. (NOT PUBLISHED YET!!!!!)

There are a few others which I can’t find on my shelves right now and I’m out of time! Gotta finish packing, eat breakfast, and hit the road. Ten hours to Nashville! I’m taking my well-worn copy of BAH for Neil to sign. Better go put it in my suitcase right now or I’ll forget it. Happy Memorial Day weekend! Drive careful!

One thought on “Books on Bluegrass

  1. Bill Brokaw

    Met you at the Midwest Banjo Camp. Shared with you how much Lynn Morris’s DVDs helped me. Your method’s taken me much further than the tab approach of the others. Lynn rocks and I’m sorry about her stroke. Thank God she’s still with us and I’m sure she’s just as beautiful as ever.
    Bill Brokaw (64 year old beginning banjo player–a lefty to boot)

    Euclid, Ohio

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