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Hillbilly Harmony

When you hear the picking of a banjo, your thoughts instinctively drift to Ned Beatty, canoes, Burt Reynolds’s mustache, and anal rape courtesy of unsavory inbred mountain dwellers. As far as you’re concerned, bluegrass is the soundtrack of the Bible belt. It’s music for people who fly the Confederate flag and drink homemade booze. Though you don’t really like the neo-Euro mood music played in all the chic Miami hotels, you’re pretty sure it’s cool, and pretty sure bluegrass is not cool.

You’re not alone, but you’re wrong. Bluegrass is definitely cool. Especially if you appreciate, y’know, authentic musicianship. Traditionally comprising the banjo, fiddle, mandolin, acoustic guitar, and stand-up bass, bluegrass bands transform the simplicity of country music into a jazz-folk-blues-ragtime fusion. They often feature multi-part harmonies and multi-instrument improvisation. Still not convinced? Jerry Garcia, who will always epitomize cool, formed a bluegrass band of his own in the Seventies. Decide for yourself this weekend at the 30th annual Everglades Bluegrass Festival. This year’s lineup includes the James King Band, Special Consensus, the Doerfel Family, and Everett Lilly and the Lilly Mountaineers. It begins today at 5 p.m. and ends this Sunday at Ives Estates Optimist Club.
Feb. 22-24, 2008


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