I’m from Wisconsin and got hooked on bluegrass. Yes, bluegrass. I moved to Minneapolis (for a job) and quickly moved to Phoenix (for a job), and picked to live in Raleigh (NC). No one could believe I started listening to bluegrass in Wisconsin, and attended Bluegrass festivals. I got into my computer stuff, then outdoor stuff, then highered stuff, and then I heard Alison Krauss and Union Station play, and I was hooked again on Bluegrass.
Just about that time, I met my boyfriend, who not only loves Bluegrass, but he plays Bluegrass with an acoustic guitar (just a bit, he says); but mainly, he builds acoustic guitars, and is really happy when people buy them, and play them. Even better, he loves it when they play Bluegrass with his acoustic guitars. So it’s hard not to be a bit crazy about Bluegrass in my house. Note: We both are dreadful at taking pictures and making videos, so we don’t have a decent photo or video of his guitars..as you can see…I know, it’s nuts.
Speaking of crazy, I get really obsessed about whatever is my latest “topic”, and right now I’ve been researching Acoustic Guitars and Bluegrass, and Education Technology (and I’m organizing my photos/memorabilia from all my outdoor trips). So today, I wondered why I seemed to post so much stuff about male bluegrass singers, players, and bands, and thought I should research women in Bluegrass. Many have heard of Alison Krauss, but who else should we be listening to? I found this cool article by Ted Lehmann from August, 2009, which seemed to have a good grip on where we’ve been and where we’re going (it’s going great!): Bye-Bye Boys Club – Women in Bluegrass
Ted pointed out that we’d better give kudos to Maybelle Carter and Hazel Dickens, but other than a few women here and there since 1945, the next female Bluegrass voices heard loudly were Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard in the 1960’s, but their work wasn’t as well-known as it should have been until 1996, when Smithsonian Folkways released their compilation they put together titled “Pioneering Women of Bluegrass”. Since then, they received multiple awards and Alice is still recording and is working on her new release right now.
Ted next gave a huge shout-out to Alison Krauss for putting a female face on Bluegrass..
I’ve seen her three times in concert, and each time, the crowd got bigger, louder, and frankly, the last time, the place was sold out and packed with people young and old.
In addition to Bluegrass, she talked about what it was like to record and tour with Robert Plant, proving she can do just about anything…
Ted pointed out a number of strong women in Bluegrass we should all check out:
- Rhonda Vincent
- Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road
- Dale Ann Bradley, plus Claire Lynch,and Laurie Lewis
- Plus: Sierra Hull, the Lovell Sisters (now Larkin Poe), and Sarah Jarosz