Bluegrass music is back and better than ever thanks to a resurgence in interest in the genre by young, educated people.
According to a survey released Monday by the National Music Foundation, bluegrass and country music have become the new American musical genres.
“This is a really good time to be a bluegrass fan,” said Paul Hannon, the foundation’s founder.
“People are excited to play this music.”
The survey also found that bluegrass is enjoying a surge in interest among college students, who are turning to the genre for a new taste of the music they love.
Forty-two percent of respondents said they are now looking for a blue-grass band, up from 29 percent in 2012, and 37 percent said they want to hear music by a blue instrument, up by five points.
“Bluegrass music can be really great in so many different ways,” said Scott Dickey, the founder of The Bluegrass Conservancy, a non-profit group that promotes bluegrass.
“It can be uplifting, it can be soulful, it’s beautiful, and it’s a great way to relax.”
The National Music Association, which represents country, blue-guitar and funk music artists, says that in the last decade bluegrass has experienced a renaissance of interest among young Americans.
The survey found that the average age of a bluejacket fan is 34.
Hannon, who studied music at the University of Michigan, said the survey also showed that bluejays are more likely to seek out music by bluegrass artists.
“People are getting into bluegrass because of the genre, and the genre is very appealing to people,” he said.
“When you’re looking for music, it really does matter who you’re listening to, and if you’re an artist, you’re going to find a lot of people who are looking for bluegrass.”
The poll also found more bluegrass listeners are finding it easier to get a taste of traditional music, like country and country blues.
Thirty-five percent of bluegrass fans said they listen to traditional country music, compared to 23 percent of country music listeners and 17 percent of blues fans.
The survey asked respondents to rate their own tastes in bluegrass, and 41 percent of the respondents said their taste is the same.
Forty percent of those who listen to country and bluegrass agree that their tastes are similar, while 40 percent of non-country and blueguitarist listeners agree.
“It’s just more and more people who say, ‘I’m a bluegogoist,’ ” said Scott J. Richey, the president of the National Bluegrass Music Association.
“That’s a pretty significant difference.”
Hannon said he expects bluegrass to continue to grow in popularity, but he thinks the genre can only take off as more people realize its appeal.
“I think people have to recognize that it’s not just a niche or something that exists to just be played,” he added.
“We need to make it something people want to listen to.”
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