published Friday, October 21st, 2011

Bluegrass greats gather to celebrate Bill Monroe


What: 100th Birthday Celebration of Bluegrass with Peter Rowan, Tony Rice and The Travelin' McCourys.

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesdayhere: Southern Adventist University, 4881 Taylor Circle, Collegedale.

Admission: $10 adults, $20 families.

Phone: 236-2814.


On Sept. 13, 1911, in the high heat of a Kentucky summer, Bill Monroe was born on Jerusalem Ridge, his family's farm in western Kentucky. At 28, he and his band The Blue Grass Boys, gave life to a new genre of music on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Monroe's birth, three of bluegrass's biggest names -- Peter Rowan, Tony Rice and The Travelin' McCourys -- will join together for a concert at Southern Adventist University.

"Bluegrass music is woven into the fabric of many Southerner's lives. It's almost part of our culture," said Pam Dietrich in the university's Office of Student Services. "We are thrilled to offer this special performance to both our students and the community."

Rowan performed with Monroe for several years in the 1960s as a member of The Blue Grass Boys. He later departed to collaborate with progressive mandolin virtuoso David Grisman in the band Earth Opera and, later, in the band Muleskinner.

Rice has long been considered one of bluegrass music's most accomplished flatpicking guitarists. He has also performed with Grisman in the David Grisman Quintet, as well as in J.D. Crowe's New South alongside resonator guitarist Jerry Douglas and mandolinist Ricky Skaggs. On Oct. 4, he released the Monroe-themed album, "Tony Rice: Sings and Plays Bill Monroe."

The Travelin' McCourys are a splinter group formed from the backing band for International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame inductee Del McCoury, who also sang lead vocals for the Blue Grass Boys in 1963.

McCoury's sons Ronnie (mandolin) and Rob (banjo) are both featured in The Travelin' McCourys, which last performed in Chattanooga as one of the headliners of this year's Three Sisters Bluegrass Festival.

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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