The personal website of Chris Coyier

In Tune: A Community of Musicians

I miss old-time and bluegrass festivals (reminder: they’re different!) so much. There was a time in my life that my mental state was “life is just something I have to do between festivals”. I miraculously have old-time musician friends here in Bend, but of course, we haven’t been getting together at all during the pandemic. I love a good documentary anytime, especially about my favorite music, but especially now. Or any video of people playing, really.

Thanks, West Virginia Public Broadcasting:

I’m also aware that that the music is absolutely dominated by white people (that documentary is 100% white, by my count), despite that not being the roots. I appreciate The Ashokan Center for running events like African Traditions in American Roots Music:

You probably know the banjo’s African roots, but there’s so much more to learn about the profound rhythmic and melodic influence of African musicians in American roots music throughout history and today. Join fiddler and banjoist Jake Blount (RI), percussionist and storyteller Joakim Lartey (NY), and musician and educator Brandi Pace (TX) for a great conversation and maybe a few tunes.

(I linked up the awesome people leading the conversation names to their personal sites.)

I missed it live, but bought the recording. There is some great stuff to learn in there, like Jake Blount talking about the financial incentives that musicians had once the recording industry came along. It ended up such that black musicians were incentivized to play different sorts of music than white musicians were, which means far less crossover and genre-mixing than there naturally is. Aside from the loss of potentially more interesting and diverse music, it has led to misconceptions, like that black people weren’t a part of this style of music (“hillbilly music” it was literally called) all along.