Sunday, September 7, 2014

Bill Monroe: Blue Moon of Kentucky

Bill Monroe is one of the most important figures in the history of country music. He was the man who almost single-handedly invented bluegrass music. He is known as the “Father of Bluegrass,” and the music bears the nickname of his home state, Kentucky, the “Bluegrass State.” Monroe was born in Rosine, Kentucky, in 1913.

Bill Monroe was one of the finest mandolin players in country music, and it was his mastery of that instrument that has made the mandolin a mandatory part of every bluegrass band. Monroe’s love of the blues and gospel music and his high-pitched singing became signature elements of the bluegrass genre and would later become a requirement of the genre.

Bill Monroe and his long time backing band, the “Bluegrass Boys,” recorded songs that are now bluegrass and country music standards such as “New Mule Skinner Blues,” “Heavy Traffic Ahead,” “Uncle Pen,” “In the Pines,” “Working on a Building,” and “I Saw the Light.”

Monroe wrote and was the first to record the classic song, “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” which would later become one of Elvis Presley’s first hits with Sun records during the emergence of rock and roll. In recognition of his influence on early rockers, Monroe was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

Monroe died in Springfield, Kentucky in 1996.

Monroe’s best recordings include the albums, “Knee Deep in Bluegrass” (1958), “Bean Blossom” (1973), “The Essential Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys 1945-1949” (1992), and “The Music of Bill Monroe from 1936 to 1994” (1994).

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