One of those evenings that can happen in Barga every now and again – out of nowhere comes a complete surprise. A one off concert in L’osteria in Piazza Angelio by some original genuine bluegrass musicians from Portland, Oregon, USA. Larry Wilder and the Stumptown Stars set down their cases, pulled out their instruments and played a wonderful 2 hour set of acoustic close harmony bluegrass for Riccardo’s lucky clients who towards the end of the impromptu concert had spilled out in to the piazza and set up chairs and tables outside the osteria to watch and listen in comfort.
They were treated to songs from such diverse artists as Bill Monroe, Carter Family, Flatt & Scruggs, Stanley Brothers, Sons of the Pioneers, Stanley Brothers, Johnny Cash, Rose Maddox, Hank Williams, Kingston Trio and Gordon Lightfoot.
Bluegrass music is a form of American roots music, and is a sub-genre of country music. It has roots in Scottish, English, Welsh and Irish traditional music. Bluegrass was inspired by the music of immigrants from the United Kingdom and Ireland, and African-Americans, particularly through genres such as jazz and blues. In bluegrass, as in some forms of jazz, one or more instruments each takes its turn playing the melody and improvising around it, while the others perform accompaniment; this is especially typified in tunes called breakdowns. This is in contrast to old-time music, in which all instruments play the melody together or one instrument carries the lead throughout while the others provide accompaniment. Traditional bluegrass is typically based on a small set of acoustic stringed instruments including mandolin, acoustic guitar, banjo, fiddle, resonator guitar and upright bass, with or without vocals.
Bluegrass music has attracted a diverse and extremely loyal following worldwide. Bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe characterized the genre: “Scottish bagpipes and ole-time fiddlin’. It’s Methodist and Holiness and Baptist. It’s blues and jazz, and it has a high lonesome sound. It’s plain music that tells a good story. It’s played from my heart to your heart, and it will touch you. Bluegrass is music that matters.”
Click on the link at the end of this article to hear a short interview with Larry Wilder recorded immediately after their show this evening (in English )
Portland, Oregon’s own Stumptown Stars – their site is here
Yodelin’ Larry Wilder – 5 string banjo and guitar, arranger, lead and harmony vocals. Duo with son Nolan. Larry Bulaich Wilder grew up and began playing music in Burbank, California.
I was no natural. When I began playing banjo and guitar in the 60’s, I could not sing, talk, smile or look atthe audience. I was pathetically nervous and embarrassed to be on stage. When I finally began to speak on stage, I thought I had to use contrived or cute elocution. That didn’t work. I did not know that the technical aspects are far outweighed by a show’s personal touches. As my real persona began to come out, the audiences reacted positively. They began to tell me how comfortable they would feel. This was a breakthrough for me: I realized that my relaxed, yet focused approach worked. – Larry Wilder
A short interview with Larry Wilder recorded immediately after their show this evening (in English)
(In the interview Larry mentions an Italian blues grass group called Red Wine – their site is here )