No Spoons

Part of a video series with Butch Robbins about bluegrass history.

Which brings me to an interesting point that David Greer shared with me one time. How come it is that when a guitar player takes on another instrument. He’s sitting there playing guitar. Every respects him for his guitar playing. He puts on another instrument like a harmonica and all the sudden people look at him as if he’s even more of a musician than he was when he just had a guitar.

But if he takes that one extra step. Let him add percussion. As soon as he straps those cymbals to his knees and he becomes the laughing stock of the musical community. Now how come that is?

The bluegrass community (at least, years ago when I was more into it than I am now) is pretty closed minded about the weirdest things.

There was a tent at a festival I’d go to every year that had a big sign up that said “No spoons!” Any band with a drum was sneered at. Accordions are a laughing stock (despite the damned bestowed “father of bluegrass music” having an accordion in his first band, and his own mother having played it.) It’s just silly.

I hate to say it, but I get the feeling some people prefer to be closed minded. They are almost looking for things to be closed minded about, and they find it in the oddest places. On the other end of the spectrum, someone who’s happy to hear a flute player at a bluegrass festival is probably the kind of person who celebrates diversity and is looking for ways to expand their thinking.