(Apologies to Edwin Starr for paraphrasing his work)
Some of the benefits of bluegrass are obvious – the very existence of the CBA is a testament to that. But there are other, long-reaching, but less obvious benefits.
Excess money spent on instruments and festivals, instead of sinful activities
No minor thing here. Idle hands (and idle money) are the devil’s workshop and I know there are folks out there who, without the pure, positive influence of bluegrass, might spend their time and money in unsavory pursuits. Bluegrass provides blinders on the straight and narrow path.
Camping well past the youthful years
When we’re young, camping in a tent and sleeping on the ground are great fun. The whole camping experience is a joy – the fresh air, the views, the camaraderie, the crackle of the campfire – it’s just wonderful. Too often though, once an aging body rebels against sleeping on the ground, the whole camping habit could fall by the wayside, to the detriment of the whole family. Enter the multi-day bluegrass festival – with RVs, air mattresses and big comfortable folding chairs. Maybe the campfire thing is diminished somewhat, depending where you “camp”, but you’re still out there having a good time in the Great Outdoors!
I know this one sounds far-fetched, and those who think bluegrass is exclusively peopled by inbred freaks with bad teeth will surely howl, but consider this: What keeps your brain active is what keeps you young, and bluegrass does this. How? There’s the rich history of bluegrass, which can’t be ignored as you pick the songs you want to play. For almost any song or tune you pick, there are numerous renditions to choose from and deciding upon, and arguing about, those choices is almost as much fun as playing them.
This last thing also bridges generational gaps, because fans of all ages can participate in the discussions and age or experience is not necessarily an advantage.
Next time someone says “Bluegrass? You like that hillbilly music?”, you will have more ammunition for your side of the story, and you might even make a convert out of a skeptic!