Another traditional American musical art form contends with the tension between preservation and evolution. Substitute the word "barbershop" for "bluegrass" in this Rolling Stone story , and you'll hear a familiar debate.
But as with any family, there's often disagreement. Purists decry the use of drums while progressive musicians continue to push the boundaries. "There are hardcore people that [think] if you even have a microphone you're way too far out," Del McCoury says with a laugh. "I exaggerate, but you have the hardcore folks. They can listen to whatever they want to but you need variety. You need to have that. You've got to have young people coming in all the time. That's what brings young people in, more progressive sound and variety. I just like variety in music. I think it's a good thing."Most musicians are generally supportive of innovation in the format, but some fans have a more restrictive view. "There's some hardcore traditional fans out there who really think that the best bluegrass ever recorded was in the late Forties, early Fifties and that nobody can really improve on that," says Cardwell. "That's their favorite, and God bless them, they're entitled to that perspective. Part of the reason for these strong feelings is they treasure the music so much. It's more than just a casual interest, almost a passion, a religious fervor. People who just really love bluegrass music treasure it so much that they want to hold onto it very tightly and not let it change because they're afraid if we don’t keep it the same, then it'll disappear in a generation or two.
Read the entire story at The State of Bluegrass Music | Rolling Stone.