Thursday, September 27, 2012

Books, CDs and Scores to Get Ready for the 12th Annual Hardly Bluegrass Festival Festival

Books, Recordings and Scores to Get Ready for the 12th Annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival 2012 on October 5,6,7  in Golden Gate Park

Now in its 12th year, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is an annual, free festival held in Golden Gate Park during the first weekend of October. When the festival began in 2001, there were only 2 stages, 9 bands performed, and there was still plenty of room to walk around Speedway Meadow. Over the years it has grown to an astounding 6 stages with over 90 acts and estimations of 800,000 in attendance for the three days of the festival. Initially, the festival focused specifically on bluegrass bands and included big names such as Ralph Stanley, Hazel Dickens, Earl Scruggs, and Alison Krauss. More recently, the lineup has expanded far beyond “strictly bluegrass” to include rock groups and musicians such as Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello, and even comedian Steve Martin and his band.

This will be the first year of the festival since benefactor and banjo player, Warren Hellman passed away. Luckily, for festival fans, Mr. Hellman’s will has provided for the event's continued funding for at least another decade. Don’t miss this incredible 3 day festival with one of the most impressive lineups of any festival running in recent years. It’s also a good idea to plan what bands you want to catch ahead of time to ensure you beat the crowds while you rush to the next stage. Here are some books and music suggestions available at the San Francisco Public Library to expand your bluegrass repertoire.


The American Fiddler: Old-time, Bluegrass, Cajun, and Texas Style Fiddle Tunes of the USA, selected and arranged by Edward Huws Jones (Boosey & Hawkes, 1998).

Banjo Song Book: A Collection of Over 75 Bluegrass, Old-time Fiddle, and Classical tunes in Tablature for the 5-string Banjo by Tony Trischka (Oak Publications, 1977).

Monroe Instrumentals: 25 Bill Monroe Favorites (Mel Bay Publications, 2002)

Parking Lot Picker's Songbook: Banjo Edition by Bill Evans & Dix Bruce (Mel Bay Publications, 2007).

Rare Bird Alert by Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers (Homespun Tapes, 2011).


Banjo Camp!: Learning, Picking & Jamming with Bluegrass and Old-time Greats by Zhenya Gene Senyak (Lark Books, 2008).
The Bill Monroe Reader, edited by Tom Ewing (University of Illinois Press, 2000).

Rural Roots of Bluegrass: Songs, Stories & History by Wayne Erbsen (Native Ground Music, 2003). Also available as a streaming audio book

Will The Circle Be Unbroken: Country Music In America, edited By Paul Kinsgbury And Alanna Nash (New York : DK, 2006). 

Working Girl Blues: The Life and Music of Hazel Dickens by Hazel Dickens and Bill C. Malone (University of Illinois Press, 2008)


Appalachian Bluegrass Legacy: 25 Vintage Bluegrass & Mountain Classics (Rural Rhythm Records, 2009).
Bill Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys: All the Classic Releases, 1937-1949 (JSP Records, 2003).

Classic Bluegrass from Smithsonian Folkways (Smithsonian Folkways Records, 2002). Also available as streaming audio.

The Mountain by Steve Earle and the Del McCoury Band (New West, 2009).

** We have additional recordings by Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, Doc Watson, Ralph Stanley and other Hardly Strictly Bluegrass favorites.

Online Databases with Streaming Audio

Many wonderful bluegrass and folk recordings are available through our music databases. Go to homepage -  Select “eLibrary” from the top navigation bar, then “eMusic” from the drop-down menu.  From the eMusic page, the following databases offer a great deal of American folk and down-home music:

American Song
Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries

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