Bluegrass Breakdown | Nashville Public Radio

Bluegrass Breakdown

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  • Local Host Dave Higgs

Bluegrass Breakdown: Thirteens

Oct 6, 2018

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: It's the natural number between 12 and 14, but it's far more than that. Through the ages, it has been shunned and feared for its sinister qualities. It's a number that engenders stifling superstition — two digits that just ooze bad luck, and are a harbinger of dreadful things to come. Superstion, bad luck and dread! No wonder the number has provided fertile ground for bluegrassical exploration. 

With the help of Don Rigsby, Well Strung, the Boxcars, Katie Penn and Tasty Licks, we'll be venturing into the spooky world of thirteens. 

Bluegrass Breakdown: New Releases

Sep 22, 2018

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: Fall is now upon us and the new CDs are falling from the sky like manna from heaven. We'll be gathering up the latest from Mountain Heart, the Lil Smokies, Eddie Sanders, Cane Mill Road, Sister Sadie, Newtown, High Fidelity and Deper Shade of Blue. 

Bluegrass Breakdown: Gambling, Part Two

Sep 8, 2018

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: It's a pastime that dates back to the Paleolithic period, long before the dawn of witten history where early man apparently ranked it only behind water, food and shelter as being necessary to sustain life. And in Bluegrassland, judging from the number of songs about the subject, it may be ranked even higher on that list. 

With the help of Doc Watson, Vernon McIntyre, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, the Foghorn String Band and Norman Blake, we'll be continuing our gambling ways by homing in on the gambler's lament, gambler's yodel, gambler's luck and gambler's dying words — along with exposing the sacrilege of gambling on the Sabbath Day. 

Bluegrass Breakdown: Gambling, Part One

Sep 1, 2018

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: It's the process of wagering something of value on an event of an uncertain outcome with the intent of winning money or prize. In bluegrassland, it's a sure fire way to addiction, violence, death, divorce and general ruination. With the help of Peter Rowan, the Lonely Heartstrings Band, Erynn Marshall, the Masters, High Range and the Hillbenders, we'll be playing cards, rolling the dice, spinning the wheel and otherwise gambling our money away. 

Bluegrass Breakdown: July & August, 1978

Aug 25, 2018

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: We'll be dipping back to July and August, 1978 when, among other things: Former Blue Grass Boys Lamar Grier and Peter Rowan team up with fiddler Tex Logan to form the Green Grass Gringos; Bill Grant and Delia Bell embark on a three-week tour of England; Ralph Stanley's son, Ralph Edmond Stanley II, is born; Kenny Ingram leaves Lester Flatt to pick with Jimmy Martin and is replaced by Blake Williams; and Dave Evans temporarily fills in on banjo with Melvin Goins.

Bluegrass Breakdown: New Releases

Aug 18, 2018

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: We've got time on our hands and money to spend and that dangerous combination always inexorably leads to the same thing — another wallet-depleting trip to the new bluegrass CD bins. 

We'll be unveiling the latest from Goodfellers, Williamson Branch, Kristi Stanley, Love Canon, Twisted Pine, Troy Engle and the Jakob's Ferry Stragglers coming up this more exciting than shopping for socks, folding a fitted sheet and cracking an egg edition. 

Bluegrass Breakdown: New Old Time

Aug 4, 2018

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: It's a type of music that's often humorously described as being better than it sounds, which actually comes from Mark Twain describing Wagner's operas. More metaphisically, it's a particular brand of music that, among many other things, helps give the listener a sense of security by harkening back to memories of home, early childhood, religious experiences, finding a place in the community, courting, working and death. 

We'll be immersing ourselves in the power of new old time music with the likes of Victor Furtado, Frank Lee & Ellie Burbrink, the Turf Dwellers and Mother's Boys. 

Bluegrass Breakdown: June And July, 1978

Jul 28, 2018

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: We'll be jetting back to June and July, 1978 when, among other things: At President Jimmy Carter's behest, the Seldom Scene play a backyard reception for members of Congress; singer-songwriter Johnny Bond, writer of such bluegrass staples as "I Wonder Where You Are Tonight" and "Love Gone Cold" passes away at the age of 63; and Nashville's world famous Station Inn relocates to its present location on 12th Avenue South. 

Bluegrass Breakdown: Harlan, Part Two

Jul 21, 2018

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: It's a city and county in Eastern Kentucky that's steeped in history, tradition and mountain culture — where folks live by their own set of rules, often meting out their own brand of justice. It's known for labor disputes, coal mining, moonshining and a rich musical legacy. We'll be exploring the latter as we return to bloody Harlan. 

Bluegrass Breakdown: Harlan, Part One

Jul 14, 2018

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: Harlan. It's the county seat of Harlan County, tucked away in the Eastern Kentucky hills in a land some people say time forgot. It's a place that evokes graphic images of starvation, black lung, bitter labor disputes, shoeless children, poverty, violence, blood and death. It's also a place that has been the scene of some colorful history, created a unique cluture and, most importantly for our purposes, produce some of the most intense music ever concocted by man or beast.