Bluegrass music mostly originated from the old time music of Appalachia, which itself was partly imported from the British Isles. Country, Gospel, Blues and the amorphously named “American Folk” styles were also thrown into the mix. More or less codified by the middle of the 20th century, the name and instrumentation derived from Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys band whose members also included Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt.

Each piece shown here represents both a bluegrass song as well as one of the instruments that comprise the bluegrass band. The pieces are strung with the strings of that instrument. I did some of the arrangements myself (though that is hardly saying much considering I could only fit a couple of bars on each piece). Yes, in some cases I committed the blasphemy of altering the key to make the notes fit and look better on the staff. The banjo piece was also influenced ever so slightly by the work of George Crumb.

Though Bluegrass music has evolved over the past 75 years, the basic flavor of the music remains the same. The musicians I’ve chosen, who play the music on which my pieces are based, represent different generations of performers and styles but none of the songs themselves are particularly new.


Little Cabin on the Hill (#2 & #3): Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs

Oh, someone has taken you from me,
And left me here all alone,
Just to listen to the rain beat on my window pane,
In our little cabin home on the hill.

Buy this song.

Music from these artists:
Bill Monroe
Flatt & Scruggs


The Blackest Crow: Uncle Earl

The blackest crow that ever flew would surely turn to white,
If ever I prove false to you bright day will turn to night,
Bright day will turn to day my love, the elements will mourn,
If ever I prove false to you the seas will rage and burn.

Buy this song (version not from this artist).

Music from this artist:
She Went Upstairs (this song is on this album)
Raise a Ruckus
She Waits for Night
Waterloo Tennessee


Blackberry Blossom: Mean Mary


Buy this song (version not from this artist).

Music from this artist:
Thank You Very Much
Walk a Little Ways With Me


Pretty Saro: Engines Of Commotion

My love she won’t have me so I understand,
She wants a freeholder and I have no land,
I can not maintain her with silver and gold,
Nor buy all the fine things that a big house can hold.

Buy this song.

Music from this artist:
Engines Of Commotion

Resonator Guitar (Dobro)

Big Scioty: Aly Bain and Jay Ungar (Jerry Douglas-dobro)


Buy this song.

Music from these artists:
Transatlantic Sessions – Series 1: Volume One
Jay Ungar & Molly Mason
Jerry Douglas


Wayfaring Stranger: Johnny Cash
Although this piece was created with Johnny’s version in mind, licensing issues are keeping me from being able to use Johnny’s version for your reference. This cover is by the High Point Bluegrass Band. I cannot find any information on this band.

I’m just a poor wayfarin’ stranger,
While travelin’ through this world below.
Yet there’s no sickness, no toil, nor danger,
In that bright land to which I go.
I’m goin’ there to see my Father.
And all my loved ones who’ve gone on.
I’m just goin’ over Jordan.
I’m just goin’ over home.

Buy this song (Johnny’s version).