As we anticipate the excitement of the new year, I immediately think about all that is in store for the International Bluegrass Music Museum and our new home currently under construction in downtown Owensboro. Unless you drive by the construction site everyday like I do, you may not have a sense of the dream that is quickly becoming a reality. However, you can drive by the site no matter your location, virtually, by visiting our homepage and view the live camera feed available 24x7.
As the future of the IBMM takes shape, what exactly are we anticipating? What makes bluegrass music so special that it warrants a shrine that celebrates everything about the music past, present and future?
Could it be the heritage of the music? Bluegrass certainly has a legacy with deep roots in Kentucky. Perhaps it’s the unique blend of acoustic instruments, tempos and vocal harmonies that stand out in a sea of overproduced, commercial music. Maybe it’s simply the novelty of a genre of music that seeks to preserve a tradition rooted deep in the fabric of America.
Surely elements of all the above contribute to making bluegrass music so special, but I contend the secret ingredient is people. Much like a family, bluegrass people like to get together, discuss common interests, and pick up where they left off. Also, bluegrass pays no attention to generational boundaries as everyone from nine to 92 understands the language, shares a similar passion, and enjoys tapping a toe and singing along. Finally, the community of bluegrass music creates an incredible sense of connection and belonging. The relationships bind people together more than a well-placed G-run or perfectly executed fiddle tune ever could. As Bill Monroe would say, bluegrass music is “powerful” indeed.
There is something very real and authentic about bluegrass and the people who rally around this wonderful music. The good news is that the “family” of bluegrass music is growing, and there is room for everyone. The International Bluegrass Music Museum creates an important and unique place to gather, so whether you are steeped in the music or just discovering your connection, everyone is welcome. Let’s face it, the Bluegrass Museum is more than simply a place to visit, it’s a place to belong, to connect, and a place to engage with everything that is good about bluegrass music. Indeed, you are the secret ingredient, so come see us in Owensboro, KY. Chris Joslin, Executive Director