The Online Roots of Rock

JUKEBOX CLIP
Bill Monroe - Mule Skinner Blues
1939
 
Bill Monroe
September 13, 1911 — September 9, 1996


Father of Bluegrass

Bill Monroe and his brother Charlie and the Blue Grass Boys
Bill Monroe
Bill Monroe and his brother Charlie (inset) laid the foundation for Bluegrass music during the mid-1930s as the Monroe Brothers. During the 1940s, with his ever-evolving Blue Grass Boys, Bill Monroe refined and defined the Bluegrass sound for which he was inducted into The Country Music Hall of Fame.

William Smith Monroe
Bill Monroe was born into a musical Kentucky family on September 13, 1911 and started playing the mandolin at the age of 10.
By age 16 he often accompanied his uncle Pendleton's fiddle- playing at local dances, and developed a love for Stringband music.
Besides his Uncle Pen, another musical influence in Monroe's early years was black guitarist and fiddler, Arnold Schultz, who Monroe credits as inspiring his infusing the Blues into Stringband music.
In 1934 Bill and his brother Charlie formed a musical duo and performed throughout the southeast as the Monroe Brothers. They created a regional sensation with their fast playing, high clear harmonies, and Bill's virtuosity on the mandolin. Unknowingly they were laying the foundations for new style of music that would soon be known as "Bluegrass." In 1938, however, the brother act disbanded because of musical differences.
In 1939 Bill formed a backing group and auditioned for the Grand Ole Opry. The act was accepted and on October 28, 1939 Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys made their Opry debut with a high-energy version of Jimmie Rodgers' "Mule Skinner Blues." The audience loved what they heard and demanded three encores.
During the 1940s Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys continued to revolutionize stringband music by playing everything very fast in non-traditional keys with incredible virtuosity. The songs were original, and the musicians even looked different wearing cowboy hats.
By pushing old traditions into new directions, Bill Monroe created an exciting new sound that attracted both traditional and contemporary audiences. It also attracted many talented musicians.
But even more important, Bill Monroe's music reminded America of its Country music heritage. For this he was inducted into The Country Music Hall of Fame in 1970.
In 1986 the US Senate passed a resolution recognizing Monroe's unique contribution to American culture.
In 1988 his "Blue Moon of Kentucky" was adopted as the state song of Kentucky.
After a remarkable career as "pioneer, creator and teacher," Bill Monroe died on September 9, 1996.
Through his vision, virtuosity, and stubbornness, Bill Monroe carved out a new music genre — Bluegrass — and is lovingly remembered as "The Father of Bluegrass Music."

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.Featured Sites .

Bill Monroe - The Father of Bluegrass website
Bill Monroe website
Bill Monroe - The Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame webpage
Country Music Hall
of Fame and Museum
bio / sound clip
bio / timeline

Other Recommended Sites


Click on any link below for more information, or to order online

Can't You Hear Me Callin'
The Bill Monroe Reader
Come Hither, to Go Yonder
Bill Monroe - Can't You Hear Me Callin'
The Bill Monroe Reader
Bill Monroe Come Hither to Go Yonder
The Life of Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass
by Richard D Smith
2000
Tom Ewing, Editor
2000
Playing Bluegrass With Bill Monroe
by Bob Black
paperback
2005

Bill Monroe Songbooks Available Online
Monroe Intrumentals Todd Collins, transcriber


.Bluegrass Titles .

Bluegrass Odyssey
Rural Roots of Bluegrass
The Bluegrass Reader
Bluegrass:
A History
Bluegrass Odyssey
Rural Roots of Bluegrass
The Bluegrass Reader
Bluegrass: A History
A Documentary in Pictures and Words, 1967-86
by Carl Fleischhauer and Neil V Rosenberg
2001
Songs, Stories & History
paperback
by Wayne Erbsen
2003
Thomas Goldsmith, editor
2004
paperback
by Neil V Rosenberg
2005

Other Bluegrass Titles Available Online
Bluegrass: An Informal Guide by Richard D Smith
Grass Roots : An Illustrated History of Bluegrass and Mountain Music (Paperback) by Dave Rubin
Teach Yourself Bluegrass Guitarby Russ Barenberg


Click on any link below for more information, or to order online

Bill Monroe:
The Country Music
Hall of Fame
The Music of
Bill Monroe
1936-1994
The Essential
Bill Monroe and his
Blue Grass Boys
Bill Monroe - The Country Music Hall of Fame
The Music of Bill Monroe
The Essential Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys
Uni/MCA
1 CD / 16 tracks
Uni/MCA
4 CDs / 98 tracks
Sony/Columbia
2 CDs / 40 tracks

Other Bill Monroe Recordings Available Online
Bill Monroe: 16 Gems (Sony/Columbia / 1 CD / 16 tracks)
Bill Monroe: At His Best (Hollywood/DNA / 1CD / 12 tracks)
Bill Monroe: Cryin' Holy Unto The Lord (Uni/MCA / 1 CD / 10 tracks)
Bill Monroe: Live In Concert (Silver Eagle / 1 CD / 13 tracks)
Bill Monroe: The Early Years (1945-1949) (Vanguard / 1 CD / 14 tracks)
Bluegrass (1950-1958) (Bear Family / 4CD box set / 109 tracks)
Bluegrass (1959-1969) (Bear Family / 4CD box set / 120 tracks)
Bluegrass (1970-1979) (Bear Family / 4CD box set / 105 tracks)


Click on any link below for more information, or to order online

Bill Monroe:
The Father of Bluegrass Music
High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music
Father of Bluegrass Music
The Legend Lives On: A Tribute To Bill Monroe
Bill Monroe - The Father of Bluegrass Music
High Lonesome - The Story of Bluegrass music
Bill Monroe - Father of Bluegrass Music
The Legend Lives On - A Tribute To Bill Monroe
Features performances by Bill Monroe and The Bluegrass Boys as well as by Emmylou Harris, Paul McCartney, Dolly Parton, Ricky Scaggs and many others.
1993
info / order
VHS | DVD
The music of Bill Monroe with Ralph Stanley, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, and Mac Wiseman featured prominently.
1994
info / order
VHS | DVD
The music of
Bill Monroe
1993
info / order
VHS | DVD
2 Tape/Disk Set
158 minutes
2003
info / order
VHS | DVD


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