Regular readers know the truth. I’m an unrepentant folk music
freak enthusiast. That’s just the way it is. I think it was squeezebox king Flaco Jimenez who said something about folk music being very simple music dressed up to seem really complicated. Still, there are nuances that create firm separations between various strains.
For instance, polka freaks could argue all day about the differences between Conjunto, Push, Honky and Slovenian polka styles and never get bored. Or step back and start talking about polkas and paso dobles and Cajun two steps and Portuguese marches.
Recently I’ve immersed myself in fiddle and banjo music after years lost in the land of the free reed. This naturally leads to a discussion of the various forms using that instrumentation. My brother the trout, Salvelinas Fontinalis was kind enough to send me an article that clearly explains the differences between Celtic, Old Time and Bluegrass music and as an educational service I’ll share it with you here. There will be a quiz later. This came from the National Folk Festival website.
A taste: An Old Time banjo player can lose 3 right-hand fingers and 2 left-hand fingers in an industrial accident without affecting his performance. A Celtic banjo player flat picks everything. A Bluegrass banjo player puts jewelry on his fingertips to play. An Old Time banjo player puts super glue on his fingernails to strengthen them. Never shake hands with an Old Time banjo player while he’s fussing with his nails.