It’s 11 PM, and normallly I would be heading to bed now (if I weren’t already asleep), but I’m still pumped up from tonight’s concert. Listening to Monroe Crossing was fabulous. I enjoyed our own part of the concert too, singing the spirituals, and later singing the Bluegrass Mass accompanied by Monroe Crossing. But I couldn’t help thinking, sitting in the audience while the band performed, that all the chorale rehearsals were worth it to get to hear Monroe Crossing without having to pay for a ticket.
I don’t know whether I’m a fan of bluegrass in general now, but I’m certainly a fan of Monroe Crossing. (I even went to facebook to become a fan of them there.) They are funny, friendly, and superb musicians. Amazingly versatile, in terms of the instruments played and the styles of music they can do. Bluegrass is a meld of styles to begin with, and apparently it has branched off into a number of sub-genres. They could probably do all of them if they chose to.
One of the really fun numbers Monroe Crossing did was what they said was a cross between bluegrass and Motown – what they call “mo-grass” (say it aloud if you don’t get the humor there). As ignorant of much of pop culture as I am, even I recognized “My Girl,” even if I had no idea (until I looked it up on wikipedia) that it was a hit from The Temptations. I don’t know what The Temptations would have thought of their song being play bluegrass style, but the audience tonight sure enjoyed it.
There were Gospel numbers, including two written by members of Monroe Crossing. I liked “Into the Fire” so much that I bought the CD afterward. They did numbers that were pure bluegrass, including one written by the “founding father” of bluegrass music, Bill Monroe (for whom this band is named). Because of the upcoming holidays, the banjo player even performed a solo version of “Carol of the Bells” – on the banjo, of course.
If you get a chance to hear Monroe Crossing, take advantage of the opportunity. Even if you don’t think you’d like bluegrass, let them surprise you. As quoted in our concert programs tonight, “I dare ANYONE to watch Monroe Crossing and not get happy!” (D.A. Calloway, Silver Dollar City)