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Thursday May 25, 2017
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Remaking Tradition

 

continued

you wondering if they could go deeper. It turns out they can. Their new album, Blue on Brown, with electric instruments, is billed as a tribute to the music of Bob Dylan and Arlo Guthrie, and it's something quite well thought out and unexpected.

When they decided to do the album, says John, "that really opened up the passageways for us to bring bluegrass into some other forms of music." The sentence is slippery in the fertile way that indicates new thinking is going on: does it mean that bluegrass is being carried forward, or that bluegrass is being incorporated into newer genres? The Abrams brothers are neither simply "covering" Dylan and Guthrie nor flavoring rock with bluegrass instruments in the way that Americana bands and folk-rock bands have done. Nor are they "updating" these classic songs for a new generation, although nobody has really done them this way before.

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