Matt Grimm and Nick Helton
Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum (July 2019)
An exhaustive look at the history and legacy of bluegrass music.
Often dismissed and viewed through a stereotypical lens, bluegrass has a surprisingly wider and more inclusive reach than might be expected. Filmmakers Matt Grimm and Nick Helton offer a wide-ranging survey of this quintessentially American genre, which developed in the 1940s through a fusion of traditional English, Scottish, and Irish music with African-American blues and jazz, and is named after its acknowledged pioneer, Bill Monroe, and his Blue Grass Boys band. The filmmakers adopt PBS’s typical talking heads- and narration-heavy approach, leading from Monroe’s story to the growing popularity of bluegrass not only regionally, but across the US and overseas, with particularly large fanbases in Japan and the Czech Republic. Weighing in are legends in the genre, historians, music fans, and the next generation of performers, supplemented with ample performance footage. Its informational and conventional approach isn’t likely to net a large number of converts, but for already existing bluegrass fans, the doc will serve its celebratory purpose.