Bluegrass Breakdown | Nashville Public Radio

Bluegrass Breakdown

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

Bluegrass Breakdown: Petty Grass

Dec 2, 2017

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: Over the span of five decades, he's been one of rock 'n roll's most consistent and endearing hit makers, selling over 80 millions records in the process. Inducted into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriter's Hall of Fame, he performed the Superbowl 42 half-time show and had the keys to his hometown, Gainesville, Fl. He was a member of Mudcrutch and the Traveling Wilburys and was best known, of course, as the iconic leader of The Heartbreakers. We'll be bluegrassing Thomas Earl Petty, who tragically died on October 2, 2017, just 18 days shy of his 67th birthday. 

Bluegrass Breakdown: Edges, Part Two

Nov 25, 2017

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: It's a community in Texas, a megachurch in Adelaide, South Australia, a Samsung smartphone, an arena in Bensenville, the nickname of a radio station in Toronto, Canada, a brand of motor oil and shaving creme, an acronym for Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies, the name of U2's guitarist, a term used in cricket and fertile ground for further bluegrassical exploration. 

Bluegras Breakdown: Edges, Part One

Nov 18, 2017

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: It's a line where an area begins or ends; the sharpened side of a cutting tool; a point near the beginning or the end; the threshold of ruin; and the subject matter of some of bluegrass music's finest songs. 

With the intrepid musical antics of the Hillbenders, Tim O'Brien, Cornerstone and the Crooked Jades, we'll be standing at the edge of the bed, the edge of the storm, the edge of goodbye and the edge of the bottle. 

Bluegrass Breakdown: New Fall Releases

Nov 11, 2017

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: So many new bluegrass tunes. So little time. So many great new bluegrass songs. Such pitifully little time. 

We'll be continuing unleashing the latest from Bud's Collective, Feller & Hill, Rebekah Long, Amanda Cook, Gina Clowes and Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers. 

New Fall Releases

Nov 4, 2017

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: You want 'em and we've got 'em. We'll be methodically unveiling the latest to hit the new bluegrass CD bins the past several months. We'll be crying, waiting on dust, praying, banging our heads, experiencing paralysis, and crossing over Black Mountain with Flatt Lonesome, Gina Clowes, the Sowell Family Pickers, Grass It Up and Thomm Jutz. 

August - October, 1977

Oct 28, 2017

On the next Bluegrass Breakdown: We'll be making a beeline to September and October, 1977 when, among other things: Don Reno & Bill Harrell amicably part company, each to lead their own separate bands; after 6 years with the Seldom Scene, lead singer John Starling plays his last show, having decided to return to his medical practice, or as John Duffey used to put it, back to ear, nose and wallet; and fiddler Tater Tate joins Lester Flatt & the Nashville Grass, replacing an ailing Paul Warren. 

Ritchie Grass, Part Two

Oct 21, 2017

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: She was in irrepressible driving force in traditional music — a ballad singer, songwriter, author, folklorist and mountain dulcimer player whose clear, gentle and unassuming voice instantly took you to the remote hills and hollers of Perry County, Kentucky. 

With the help of the New Coon Creek Girls, Jody Stecher & Kate Brislin, Jerry Garcia & David Grisman and Alison Krauss and Union Station, we'll be continuing our bluegrassical celebration of Jean Ritchie. 

Ritchie Grass, Part One

Oct 14, 2017

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: She was born the youngest of 14 children into one of the country's greatest ballad-singing families, learning songs while sitting on the front porch of the homestead on Elk Branch in Viper, Kentucky. She became one of America's most beloved folk singers, songwriters and dulcimer players. Dolly Parton states that her songs "are right up there with the Hank Williams and the Carter Family songs." Joan Baez takes the sentiment even further: "I hadn't really heard 'pure' folk songs until I heard her Appalachian voice. She made me sound like Doris Day."

With the participation of the Jonson Mountain Boys, Kathy Mattea, the Pilot Mountain Bobcats and Suzie Glaze, we'll be honoring the "Mother of Folk," Jean Ritchie. 


Oct 7, 2017

It's the natural number between 11 and 13, the atomic number of magnesium, the number of months in a year, the number of bars in a standard blues progression, the number of pairs of human ribs, the inches in a foot, the number of face cards in a deck, number of knights at the round table, the number of steps to recovery, the number of angry men, as well as the subject matter of some mighty fine bluegrass picking and singing. We'll be celebrating the number 12. 

Breathing, Part Two

Sep 30, 2017

On this week's Bluegrass Breakdown: Breath is life and if you breathe well, you will live long on the earth. Breath is the link between mind and body. Breathe in the future, breathe out the past. That breath you just took ... that's a gift. When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace. Smile, breathe and go slowly. Just breathe. There's a lot of wisdom in those sayings and there's a lotta music in them as well. We'll be continuing our bluegrassically breathtaking look at inhaling and exhaling with Blue Mule, Iron Horse, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades and the Lil' Smokies.