The Difference in Bluegrass Men and Women
Now I know what you are thinking; we don’t need a Doc to tell us this. And you are right. But after the post about ‘Guitared and Feathered,’ I thought I ought to tell her as far as bluegrass bands there are some differences when you play with women as opposed to men.
None of this has anything to do with ability. All you have to do is listen to Sierra Hull play the mandolin- old Doc can’t hang with that kid, and I’ve been a player a long time. Or check out Kristin Scott Benson. She doesn’t weigh much more than a Gibson banjo in a Mark Leaf case, but she is the IBMA banjo player of the year. No one could argue Rhonda Vincent is not a sharp business woman as well as a fine player and singer. And Alison Krauss long since put to rest the rumor you had to be old and ugly to play the fiddle.
But in spite of all that there are differences. The last time I played with ‘Guitared and Feathered’ there was a discussion of what type of soap they were using at the time. Now I’ve picked bluegrass music with our banjo man Moose Dooley for almost three decades, and I have no idea what kind of soap the boy uses. And talk about snacks. They had all kinda little sandwiches you can eat in one bite, and birthday cakes every time you turn around. No beer and pretzels for those cats.
They are versatile instrumentalists, too. You have to play your mandolin in all sorts of different keys to accompany their voices. Bill Monroe himself said it was up to the musicians to adapt to where the singers were comfortable, not the opposite. If Monroe said it it is in the bluegrass Bible.
They have even helped me in my quest to be a writer. You better learn how to express yourself with some degree of sophistication and subtlety. They expect you to understand English without having to hit you over the head with a ball bat.
And even if my Marfar is the bass player I have to say they are quite a bit cuter than Moose or Warbler in Neuse River. It might be Chanel Number 5 instead of Old Spice, but it is still bluegrass, and a fine version if I say so myself.