After a weekend at the Florida Folk Festival where I had a chance to pick lots of different kinds of music (folk, bluegrass, cajun, etc), I’ve been wondering how you all define bluegrass. It seems to me that the pickers who consider themselves bluegrassers tend to be the most dogmatic about style and repertoire, but still, it seems to vary between groups.
For instance, I’ve run across bluegrassers who define the British pop song, “Fox On The Run” as bluegrass, but scoff at early George Jones songs (Why Baby Why, etc). Personally, I think the George Jones has a history and tradition that is closer to bluegrass, but it seems I’m in the minority.
So, is it the instrumentation and arrangement that make a song bluegrass? Or is it the history and tradition of the song? Or something else that I’m missing?