The primary difference between a New England bluegrass band and a Southern bluegrass band…


I’d like to enlighten you about the primary difference between a New England bluegrass band and a Tennessee bluegrass band.  I first realized the need for this post when we went to Canobie Lake Park for Screamfest last weekend.  In addition to screaming, Screamfest involved a bluegrass band.  Thanks, Deliverance, for painting rollicking good music as the stuff of horror.  (Before I proceed, let me be clear: the band at Screamfest was lively, the banjo player picked like a pro, and I don’t mean to impugn the skills of the musicians in any way.)

Before I explain, I humbly present my credentials.

Item 1: I spent my first 20-odd years of life in Tennessee and Mississippi and have now spent just over a decade in New England.

Item 2: As a kid, I spent many a Saturday afternoon playing bluegrass style hymns on the autoharp and guitar with the old folks at my dad’s church.

Item 3: I own a banjo that I can’t really play very well.  That last one may not actually count for much…

So, to answer to the question posed by this ill-advised blog post, take yourself a gander at the banjo case that was set on the hay bale behind the stage:

Read the stickers with a Southern accent.  Just try.
Read the stickers with a Southern accent. Just try.

Now go out and say, “The future is organic”, with a straight face, to at least 5 people using your southernest of southern accents.  If you can play the opening notes of “Dueling Banjos” while you do it, that’d be great.  If that still doesn’t convince you, do your best Ted Kennedy voice to say, “How about we get this shin-dig started, y’all!  Pick and grin, pick and grin!”  If you’re like me, you can’t even do that one in your head.