Bluegrass Breakdown | Nashville Public Radio

Bluegrass Breakdown

Saturdays at 8:00 p.m.
  • Local Host Dave Higgs

July and August, 1977

Aug 26, 2017

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: We'll be firing up the high-lonesome time machine and propelling back to July and August, 1977 when, among other things: Kenny Baker injures his left hand while showing his new hunting knife to a buddy; Merle Watson's hand is severely bitten by a dog putting him temporarily out of commission as well; Vice-President Walter Mondale appears on the Opry during Roy Acuff's segment; and Elvis Presley dies at age 42. We'll have nothing but 40 year old goodness from the likes of Boone Creek, Boot Hill, the Front Porch String Band and the Country Gazette.

Last Rides

Aug 19, 2017

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: There's nothing quite as high, blue, lonesome, sad, forlorn... and final as a "last ride." We're not talking about the bench press power bomb move used by WWE legend The Undertaker, the longest tenured in-ring performer in the history of the organization, to finish off an opponent. Nor are we talking about a trip to the local convenience store to pick up a slushie before heading home. We're talking about the ultimate ride — crossing Jordan, buying the farm, cashing in the chips, going over the Big Ridge, riding the pale horse, kicking the bucket, heading to the last roundup and otherwise shuffling off this mortal coil. 

New Releases

Aug 12, 2017

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: While they may not exactly be manna from heaven, many consider them to be the next best thing. New bluegrassy projects are seemingly falling from the sky into the bins at an unparalleled pace. We'll be driving through the rain, goin' around this world and burning at both ends as we unveil the latest from Larry Cordle, Twisted Pine, Fireside Collective, Kim Robbins and the Infamous Stringdusters. 

Steel, Part Two

Aug 5, 2017

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: It's 1,000 times stronger than pure iron and can be recycled without any loss of strength. It's the second largest industry in the world behind oil and gas. The United States is the world's third leading producer thereof, behind China and Japan. In 1610 it started to be made in merrye olde England and ultimately gave rise to the Industrial Revolution. It's used in almost every industry on the planet, with housing being the largest consumer. And, most importantly for our purposes, it's spawned a righteous number of hard-driving bluegrass songs. 

Steel, Part One

Jul 29, 2017

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: It's a metal alloy that's composed primarily of iron, tin and carbon. Because of it's high tensile strength and relatively low cost, it's used to build darn near everything — to construct ships, erect bridges, tall buildings and armaments that won two world wars; create automobiles and household appliances and to generally transform the world. With the help of the Stanley Brothers, the Johnson Mountain Boys, Overall Brothers, Mac Wiseman and Turning Ground, we'll be exploring the backbone of America — steel. 


Jul 22, 2017

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: It's a complex emotion that encompasses feelings that range from fear of abandonment, insecurity, anger, rage, disgust and humiliation; a destructive force that wrecks friendships, relationships and lives. It's, in the words of Shakespeare, the big "green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on" (Othello Act III, Scene 3). With the help of Jeff & Vida, Claire Lynch, Chris Stuart and Peter Rowan, we'll be taking a close bluegrassical look at jealousy. 

New Releases

Jul 15, 2017

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: The beat (and the heat) goes on, with new releases falling like much needed rain.  We'll continue our look at what's new in the bins with the latest from Ralph Stanley II, the Lonesome River Band, the Farm Hands, Eddy Raven and Bob Amos. 

New Releases

Jul 8, 2017

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: School's out for summer and that always signals a boatload of new releases as groups ready new products for sale during their busy and hopefully financially lucrative festival season. We'll have tasty, just-off-the-presses hot, hard and driving tunes from Nu-Blu, Southern Raised, Iron Horse and the Kruger Brothers. 


Jul 1, 2017

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: They're more than a covered entrance to a building — they're the very epicenter of rural life — welcoming, nurturing and safe places tailor-made for socializing, courtin', pickin' or just sitting around and watching the world go by. With the help of Dale Ann Bradley, John Hartford, Larry Cordle and Old School Freight Train, we'll be celebrating porches. 

June, 1977

Jun 24, 2017

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: We'll continue our in-depth exploration of the rich bluegrassical fields of June, 1977 when, among other things: Elvis Presley holds his last concert in Indianapolis; after 41 years of Franco, Spain holds its first democratic elections; Tommy Franks, bassist for James Monroe and the Midnight Ramblers is killed in a wreck; A new NYC eatery, the Lone Star Cafe, begins featuring bluegrass Sunday nights; and The Conner Brothers, Bill Clifton, the Marshall Family, Tony Rice, J.D. Crowe and Curly Ray Cline add some new sparkle to the bluegrass LP bins.