Academic journal article Notes

Bluegrass Journey

Academic journal article Notes

Bluegrass Journey

Article excerpt

Bluegrass Journey. DVD. Directed by Ruth Oxenberg and Rob Schumer. With the Del McCoury Band, Tim O'Brien, Jerry Douglas, Peter Rowan, Tony Rice, Nickel Creek, Rhonda Vincent, the Lonesome River Band, Old Crow Medicine Show. Germantown, NY: Blue Stores Films, 2004. BSF 001. $24.99.

Bluegrass Journey explores both the music and culture of contemporary bluegrass with its crosscurrents of traditionalism and innovation, while also capturing the enthusiastic participation of its fans. In an effort to define contemporary bluegrass through documentary film, producers/directors Ruth Oxenberg and Rob Schumer present onstage, offstage, backstage, and audience perspectives of bluegrass music and culture. Oxenberg is a former ABC News producer, who in 1996 had produced a feature story on bluegrass for ABC Nightly News with Peter Jennings. Schumer, Oxenberg's husband, is an eye surgeon and research scientist who comes to this project with no prior film production experience. Nancy Kennedy edited and co-directed the film.

This eighty-six minute documentary focuses (perhaps excessively) on the music performances and audience members at the 2000 Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival on the Rothvoss Farm in Ancramdale, New York. Indeed, eleven of the fifteen scenes include footage from this festival. Additional segments covering the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) convention in Louisville, Kentucky, "the big daddy of bluegrass festivals," and two songs performed by Tim O'Brien and the Crossing at Blue Cats (Knoxville, TN), provide both continuity and diversity to this project. O'Brien is the primary voiceover, and other talking heads include Ronnie McCoury, Peter Rowan, and Pete Wernick. With the exception of brief archival footage of an eight-year-old Chris Thile and some photographs of Bill Monroe, most of the footage was filmed in 2000. …

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