Ep. 10: Picking the Blue Ridge Blues - Down the Road on the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina
When most people think of mountain music, banjos, ballads or bluegrass usually come to mind, but the Blue Ridge is home to a rich and distinctive blues tradition that dates back generations, and is still played today.
In the Blue Ridge, you can find people gathered on any day of the week to play mountain music. Whether on a front porch or a festival ground, the most basic unit of mountain music is the jam session. Here’s a quick field guide to jam session etiquette, to help you get the most out of your tune time.
The hills of Western North Carolina are home to traditional Appalachian music, but the roots of old-time music stretch all over the world, combining the music of the first European settlers in the Appalachians with that of the Africans who came to the new world as slaves, and elements of the musical traditions of the Native Americans. When you hear the blue notes and syncopation that fiddlers like Tommy Jarrell play in tunes like “Black-Eyed Susie,” you can hear that old-time music is a melting pot like no other.
Earl perfected the syncopated style of three-finger banjo picking, known as “Scruggs Style." In 1948 he joined Lester Flatt to form the Foggy Mountain Boys. Their theme to "The Beverly Hillbillies" made the Scruggs style famous worldwide.