Bill Monroe

Can’t You Hear Me Callin’: The Life of Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass

Can’t You Hear Me Callin’: The Life of Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass

Considering the range of stars that have claimed Bill Monroe as an influence—Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and Jerry Garcia are just a few—it can be said that no single artist has had as broad an impact on American popular music as he did. For sixty years, Monroe was a star at the Grand Ole Opry, and when he died in 1996, he was universally hailed as “the Father of Bluegrass.” But the personal life of this taciturn figure remained largely unknown. Delving into everything from Monroe’s professional successes to his bitter rivalries, from his isolated childhood to his reckless womanizing, veteran bluegrass journalist Richard D. Smith has created a three-dimensional portrait of this brilliant, complex, and contradictory man. Featuring over 120 interviews, this scrupulously researched work—a Chicago Tribune Choice Selection, New York Times Notable Book, and Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2000—stands as the authoritative biography of a true giant of American music.

The legendary mandolinist and bandleader Bill Monroe wove his personal vision through more than 60 tireless years of recording and performing, inventing almost single-handedly the music that is now known–in a nod to his first band, the Blue Grass Boys–as bluegrass. In his thoughtful biography Can’t You Hear Me Callin’, Richard D. Smith argues that “no single artist has had as broad an impact on American music.” As evidence, he highlights dozens of country and rock & roll musicians, both white and black, who were inspired by Monroe’s powerful mandolin playing on the Grand Ole Opry’s weekly broadcasts. (Chuck Berry’s “Maybelline,” for example, is an almost note-for-note copy of Monroe’s instrumental “Ida Red.”) Until now, however, Monroe’s hesitation to reveal personal details has kept his personality as mysterious as one of the foggy mountaintops he sang about in his signature high lonesome tenor.

Bluegrass audiences required a rural, Southern authenticity from the “Father of Bluegrass,” and Monroe was slow to deny their exaggerations. Smith, however, dismisses many of the backwoodsy stories that grew up around the Monroe myth, instead emphasizing truer biographical elements: loneliness, fear of abandonment, compulsiveness with women. Perhaps the book’s main scholarly step forward is the depth of interviews and research the author conducted with the women in Monroe’s life. Indeed, Smith remarks that “without exception,” none of Monroe’s platonic or romantic women friends had been interviewed before. These women reveal a second Bill Monroe, relaxed and gentle in private despite his imperious manner onstage.

Much of the book relies on the archives of the late Ralph Rinzler, a Smithsonian folklorist whose plans to write a Monroe biography were thwarted by his untimely death. Taking up where Rinzler left off, Smith employs solid scholarship and thorough fieldwork, yet he remains clearly in awe of his subject, ranking him as a “true giant of American music” on the level of Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Hank Williams, and Charles Ives. Can’t You Hear Me Callin’ is the first published attempt at a comprehensive, critical biography of Bill Monroe. Surely, it won’t be the last–a testament to the enigmatic genius whose every note extended one of our most emotive and demanding musical genres. –Edward Skoog

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Short Takes: Singing at 606, Valentine's Day, Jonathan Scales Fourchestra and

Short Takes: Singing at 606, Valentine's Day, Jonathan Scales Fourchestra and
Count the legendary David Grisman among the few acts announced thus far to appear at the forthcoming Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion. As a nod to the man who has played with the likes of legends Bill Monroe and Jerry Garcia, Grisman leads this week's …
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The best movies to watch on Netflix for Valentine's Day
stuck-in-love-netflix-valentines-day-rec. Synopsis: Three years past his divorce, veteran novelist Bill Borgens can't stop obsessing over, let alone spying on, his ex-wife Erica, who ignominiously left him for another man. Even as his neighbor-with …
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Grayson County Hospital Recognized for Fit-Friendly Workplace

Grayson County Hospital Recognized for Fit-Friendly Workplace
Monroe said: "We got points for 5ks, we got points for every time we worked out, points for submitting a grocery bill with healthy foods." Sikes said of the other employees: "It really makes me proud to see that they are making lifestyle changes and …
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Michael Martin Murphey to perform in Grand Junction
I learned all that stuff.” Songs include such icons as Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys, Woody Guthrie and the Louvin Brothers. Murphey's songs reflect his lifestyle — “I'm a cowboy and a rancher and I write about it …
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Definitive Collection

Definitive Collection

Bill Monroe is undisputedly the father of bluegrass music. With his Blue Grass Boys, he defined the instrumental style, giving the world the harmonies and toe-tapping tempos of this American art form. This collection features such hits as ‘Goodbye Old Pal’ & ‘Midnight On The Stormy Deep’.MCA. 2005.

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Chillbillies to channel Elvis at annual event
“That's All Right” was released July 19, 1954, along with a version of Bill Monroe's waltz, “Blue Moon of Kentucky.” The recording launched a career that defined rock and roll. In 2010, The Chillbillies threw their first dance party at the Center for …
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COMMUNITY CALENDAR
22; Bill Rasmussen: "Channeling Sports: A Conversation with ESPN Founder Bill Rasmusses," Jan. 23; Jennifer Wiseman: "Our Place in An Amazing Universe," Jan. 24; Anne Zaki: "Is the Arab … Milan, Mich., Snow Birds: The Milan, Mich., Snow Birds invite …
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Roy Williams watches Tar Heels signee Joel Berry lead Lake Highland

Roy Williams watches Tar Heels signee Joel Berry lead Lake Highland
Carmichael produced 27 points and 11 rebounds, and Ruben Monroe chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds. West Orange erased a 14-point, first-half deficit and beat Mount Dora Bible 82-69 in overtime behind 18 points from Troy Austin and a game-high …
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Area Sports Events Calendar Nov 30-Dec 8
Baseball U New England is conducting winter training program for high school age players at The Panthers Den in Monroe, CT beginning Monday December 2. Players will be able to participate in a once a week, 6 week, training program designed for … 2 …
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Will more free throws be good for the game?

Will more free throws be good for the game?
"I don't think that makes for a better game," Kansas head coach Bill Self said. "Early in the season, … In the regular season opener for Kansas against Louisiana-Monroe, the teams combined for 58 fouls and 72 free throws in a 80-63 Jayhawk win …
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WSU Football: What the Cougars need to do to get bowl eligible
Granted, they looked pretty good before Oregon and Arizona State — ranked second and eighth, respectively, in rushing in Bill Connelly's S&P+ — got to them, but that doesn't make me feel a whole heck of a lot better. Why? Because while the details of …
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Tenants lose nearly everything in Marlinton blaze
Firefighters from Greenbrier, Randolph, Nicholas, Webster and Monroe counties as well as Bath County, Va., also responded. All departments within … State Delegate Bill Hartman and Lynn Phillips, representing Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's office, were …
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Cool Bill Monroe images

Some cool Bill Monroe images:

Ryman Auditorium
Bill Monroe

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Johnny Cash, born J. R. Cash, (February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was a Grammy Award-winning American country singer-songwriter. Cash is widely considered to be one of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century; William Smith Monroe (September 13, 1911 – September 9, 1996) was an American musician who developed the style of music known as bluegrass, which takes its name from his band, the "Blue Grass Boys," named for Monroe’s home state of Kentucky. Monroe’s performing career spanned 60 years as a singer, instrumentalist, composer and bandleader. He is often referred to as "the father of bluegrass."

Home of Bluegrass music
Bill Monroe

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Megadeth; Portugal. The Man.; Quadron; Queens of the Stone Age; Barenaked

Megadeth; Portugal. The Man.; Quadron; Queens of the Stone Age; Barenaked
When Elaine Roy sings the opening lines of "Blue Moon of Kentucky" early on "Gypsy Runaway Train," it's hard to conjure up a more beautiful interpretation of the classic Bill Monroe standard. Soon, a flurry of picked strings rises and Lee Roy's voice …
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Bill would allow red light cameras in Michigan
Monroe County Deputy Sheriff Dave LaMontaine, of the Police Officers Association of Michigan, argued the cameras can't make the same judgment call an officer on the ground might make. “A citizen has a right to face their accuser and it changes the very …
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Monroe County Fair Move To Northampton Park Spurs Mistrust/Anger
Ogden, N.Y. – A battle is brewing between neighbors of Northampton Park and lawmakers over the upcoming Monroe County Fair. Critics say taxpayers are losing control of part of their park, and potentially will be struck with a huge bill. "This is for …
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Phil Ramone
Ramone worked with almost every big name in popular music — Frank Sinatra, Burt Bacharach, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Bob Dylan, Bill Joel, BB King, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Liza Minnelli, Sinead O'Connor, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder …
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Detroit Pistons, head coach Lawrence Frank, have painted their futures into
The Pistons team Gores salvaged after revered owner Bill Davidson passed away wasn't much different than most other undervalued businesses he bought up under his Platinum Equity banner. … Regardless, losing Drummond for more than one-fourth of the …
Read more on Michigan Business Review – MLive.com

What To Watch This Week: 'Hannibal' Debuts, 'Parks And Rec' Returns
… the Detroit mob, while Boyd and Ava try to keep an incriminating secret dead and buried. Written by Fred Golan & Benjamin Cavell; directed by Bill Johnson. … From NBC: "While on jury duty, Rosalee (Bree Turner) tasks Nick (David Giuntoli), Hank …
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