If you have the opportunity, one of the best places to learn more about the history of bluegrass music is the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky. You-ll see educational exhibits about the origins of bluegrass, see and handle instruments, and hear the music of a variety of influential bluegrass artists. You can also find out a lot of information on the internet about bluegrass in general or about any bluegrass artist. However, if you don-t have the time to look it up or the money to go to Owensboro, all you really have to do is listen to Bill Monroe.I found some more information here.
Bill Monroe started out in the 1920s with his two brothers. Brother Birch quit the business and Bill and Charlie stayed together until 1938. When they split, he called his new band “Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys’ and bluegrass was born. It grew up over the next few years as Monroe defined and refined his sound. When banjo player Earl Scruggs and vocalist and guitarist Lester Flatt joined the band, the unique sound of classic bluegrass was created. Scruggs- three-finger style and Flatt-s smooth lead vocals were joined with other premier musicians and Bill Monroe-s high tenor to create a sound and style that have influenced bluegrass music ever since. Flatt and Scruggs left, of course, and became together the most prominent bluegrass musicians of the 1950s and 1960s due in part to television work including the Martha White Show, and a touring schedule that included universities, elementary schools and Carnegie Hall.
If you are a fan of the more modern bluegrass acts like Alison Krauss, Nickel Creek and Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, you should still go back and listen to the early music from the 1940s forward. Then, when you listen to the modern artists again, you-ll hear Bill Monroe.