The King of Blue Grass, Bill Monroe, would be 100 years old today. Probably no other artist in the 20th century impacted Country and Blue Grass than mandolinist supreme, William Smith Monroe. His love of music was evident in his performances and in his impact on other artists. Consider “Blue Moon of Kentucky“, likely his most recognizable hit.
And, renditions by some folks you may be more familiar with:
The King of Rock & Roll
The Queen of Country Music
A Few Lads
While they all went up tempo, I still prefer Bill’s original version. Bluegrass is such a guttural genre. It is hurtful, introspective and joyous, all at the same time. Bill Monroe almost single-handedly brought Bluegrass out of the mountain hamlets to the masses. Other “disciples”, like Barbara Mandrell, would continue the message through the years but perhaps the best known is a young boy who first got to play with Monroe on stage at age six:
While this performance is with Flatt & Scruggs (part of Monroe’s original “Bluegrass Boys”), Ricky talks about his first experience of playing with “the man” hisself here:
Likely my favorite, Bill Monroe tune in Uncle Pen, a song, that ironically, became a #1 hit for Ricky Skaggs many years later:
Bill Monroe. A true American icon, lover of music and consemate mentor. Happy Birthday, old boy.