Tagged bluegrass

Bluegrass Song “Keep Your Dirty Lights On” Sings Against Dirty Coal

MAY 7, 2014 – Bluegrass is not really known for its activism, but there are a few songs here and there, and many sing about the plight of the poor, common man. One new bluegrass song, "Keep Your Dirty Lights On" by bluegrass musicians Tim O'Brien and Darrell Scott, sings against dirty coal. But is not just your typical bluegrass song telling the plight of a coal miner. This song specifically uses the word "dirty" and "green", obviously references to the silly "clean coal" propaganda code word invented by coal companies hilariously implying that coal could ever be "clean" (What's next? Gentle rape?) and the "green movement". The song's lyrics go:

Every time they have elections, they talk about how coal is clean
Well coal is cheap but coal's still black, It ain't never turning green
So plug your electric car in, charge it and be gone
Do your shopping online, we'll get you every time

So we can keep your dirty lights on

Watch a video of Tim and Darrell performing "Keep Your Dirty Lights On" below at the in-house studio of WAMU Bluegrass Country here in DC recently.  (photo credit: Takver/Flickr/CC)

Bruce Springsteen Gets Out The Vote in Virginia, and Bluegrass Legend Ralph Stanley Asks Eric Cantor: “O Cantor Where Art Thou?”

OCT 23, 2012 – Bruce Springsteen, and the bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley, were in Virginia today, helping to Get Out The Vote. 

Ralph Stanley is a bluegrass legend, having a career of over 60 years with songs like, "Ridin' That Midnight Train" to his work with "O' Brother Where Art Though?". He has always been involved with politics, and played at a John Edwards rally, and later endorsed Barack Obama for President. He is a TRUE, old school "Southern Democrat". Currently Mr. Stanley is helping Wayne Powell with the "O'Cantor Where Art Thou?" tour, who is challenging Eric Cantor for the 7th Congressional District seat in Virginia.

Read more on NBCWashington.com here, and here is a great video  by jbf3t of Bruce in Virginia below singing an AWESOME acoustic guitar version of "Thunder Road". Below that is a 30-second AD for Ralph Stanley's "O Cantor Where Art Thou?" tour, showing how Cantor is never in the state of Virginia helping out Virginian constituents. (photo credit: CC/Ralph Stanley)

Legend and Master Banjo Player Earl Scruggs Passes at Age 88

MAR 29, 2012 – Legend and master banjo player Earl Scruggs, who was the father of the three-finger banjo picking style, passed away on March 28, 2012 at the age of 88. Born in 1924 in Flint Hill, N.C. he taught himself how to play with his 2 other  brothers, including the guitar and autoharp. He started his musical career with Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys in 1939.

IN 1948 Earl and guitar player Lester Flatt left the Bluegrass Boys and formed a duo,  their peak being in 1962 with the theme to the Beverly Hillbillies that virtually everyone knows. Earl Scruggs was a progressive when it came to music and social issues, and wanted to bring in some popular sound, maybe even some saxophone; but Lester was very conservative and hated long-haired hippies, and it caused a rift and breakup of the duo in 1969.

Earl Scruggs became one of the very rare country/bluegrass musicians to ever add his musical activist voice to the anti-Vietnam War movement, performing his classic song "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" at the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam demonstration in October of 1969. Earl Scruggs later said in an interview of his performance, "I think the people in the South is just as concerned as the people that's walkin' the streets here today… I'm sincere about bringing our boys back home. I'm disgusted and in sorrow about the boys we've lost over there. And if I could see a good reason to continue, I wouldn't be here today."

Watch a video of the legendary Earl Scruggs performing his "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" with some friends below.

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