Bluegrass Corner

Bluegrass Music in the Quarantine

As we all struggle unable to attend outdoor festivals and concerts, as we miss our regular jam sessions, and are sick and tired of practicing at home alone, what’s to do?  Here are a few thoughts:

  • Pick topics in bluegrass that you’ve always known you should know more about but never got around to. Calendar them up and take them on one at a time as an “event” to brighten your day. Use the limitless resources on the internet, YouTube, Spotify, Apple, and other tools available. Here are some of the topics you might consider:
    • Bill Monroe—how did he get started? How did his music change over time? Listen to classic examples from the Father of Bluegrass in chronological order. Better yet, watch them on YouTube.
    • The Dobro—who invented it? How did it find its way from Hawaiian music to bluegrass?
    • Brother harmony singing—who are the greats and what sets them apart?
    • Who are some of the great young bluegrass bands that you probably never heard of?
    • Women in bluegrass—who are considered the greats and why?

You get the idea. Pick your own topics and dig in.

  • Consider carefully jamming with a few friends, outdoors, with social distancing and wearing masks.
  • Pull up some of the wonderful bluegrass resources on Netflix or Amazon and watch on your TV. Trust me, there’s some great stuff!
  • Try writing a song. Never tried? No better time than now!
  • Practice, patience, and tolerance, especially with those cooped up with you at home. Zoom with family and friends, chat, share, and keep that friendship glue intact.

Wayne Rice Wins 2020 Distinguished Achievement Award from IBMA. Wayne is in his 45th year as KSON broadcast DJ with his Bluegrass Special radio show every Sunday night here in San Diego. Wayne also co-produced the IBMA Awards Show for many years, IBMA’s premier annual event honoring the best of the best.

Wayne Rice, DJ at KSON, in the studio with Prairie Sky as part of his program, bringing live local bluegrass bands to the radio.

Locally, here in San Diego, Wayne has been a longtime supporter of the annual Summergrass bluegrass festival held every August (cancelled this year). He has been, and still is, a supporter of the San Diego Bluegrass Society and the North County Bluegrass and Folk Club, supporting their various activities and acting as MC for Summergrass and for their concerts and events when he can. He also hosted for years a program on his radio show, which brought San Diego area bluegrass bands into the KSON studio for a live performance and discussion.

If that’s not enough, Wayne has a stellar career as a banjo player. He had a major label recording career, including a Grand Ole Opry appearance with bluegrass group Brush Arbor, and after that he founded and played for years with seminal local band Lighthouse.

We’re very glad that IBMA has given this high honor to Wayne. He has done so much for bluegrass both here in San Diego and nationally. We all owe him a debt of gratitude.