Bluegrass And 80s Pop

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Monday March 18, 2019


If You Love Bluegrass And 80s Pop, Love Canon Has You Covered
By: Craig Havighurst

Covers of pop songs have been commonplace in bluegrass music since the late 1960s, when The Dillards, Flatt & Scruggs, The Country Gentlemen and others adapted songs by The Beatles, Bob Dylan and the Lovin’ Spoonful. For Charlottesville, VA band Love Canon, it’s a way of life, a ‘mission statement’ according to my conversation last week with lead singer and guitarist Jesse Harper.

[…] We’ve seen string bands cover pop tunes to have fun and catch the ear of new fans, but you guys seem dedicated to this specifically.

That’s fair. It was our mission statement from the beginning. We chose the 80s tunes because that’s what we all grew up with. We were interested in the material and in how they put these songs together. And in the jazz world, and even in the classical world and anyplace you have ‘serious music’ in quotation marks, they’re always doing other people’s material. The London Philharmonic does covers all the time! Miles Davis did covers. That’s what real musicians do. You learn other pieces. When I was a kid playing piano or cello I played the great works.

So it wasn’t a departure from what we do as musicians. It was just putting the magnifying glass on a certain era of tunes and saying is this worthy of study? And from my perspective it is, both as the cultural phenomenon of 80s hits and musically. There were just some amazing musicians and great writers who were making music in that era.

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