Picks and Pans Review: Bill Monroe: the Father of Bluegrass Music
updated 05/31/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 05/31/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT
This delightful, relaxed special celebrates the career of bluegrass pioneer Monroe. There's plenty of pickin' and grinnin' on the porch of his Tennessee log cabin as he's joined by Ricky Skaggs and John Hartford. There's plenty of reminiscing, too, as the Kentucky-born mandtolinis, 81, recalls his days with the Grand Ole Opry (he became a regular in 1939), his early travelling tent shows and some of the musicians who have passed through his Bluegrass Boys. Talk about your supergroups: At one point in the mid-'40s, Monroe played with Earl Scruggs, Lester Flatt and Chubby White. What I wouldn't pay to see those boys light up a fairground!
In both the archival and recent footage, Monroe comes across as quiet, dignified and modest, a man singularly comfortable with himself, his talent and his life.