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Ebook Information

Czech Bluegrass

Notes from the Heart of Europe

Down home in Prague and Rakovník

Bluegrass has found an unlikely home, and an avid following, in the Czech Republic. The music’s emergence in Central Europe places it within an increasingly global network of communities built around bluegrass activities.

Lee Bidgood offers a fascinating study of the Czech bluegrass phenomenon, merging intimate immersion in the music with on-the-ground fieldwork informed by his life as a working musician. Drawing on his own personal and professional interactions, Bidgood charts how Czech bluegrass put down roots and looks at its performance as a uniquely Czech musical practice. He also reflects on “Americanist” musical projects and the ways Czech musicians use them to construct personal and social identities. Bidgood sees these acts of construction as a response to Czech Republic’s postsocialist environment but also to US cultural prominence within our global mediascape.


"Many readers will appreciate both the high level of insight, and that the text makes its points using only 124 pages. Ethnographic works about contemporary music traditions are needed, and Czech Bluegrass: Notes from the Heart of Europe is a valuable tool, helping those interested in bluegrass music understand the rooting of the style in multiple cultures."--Journal of Folklore Research

"Bidgood's personalized analysis adds a significant, scholarly piece to the bigger picture of bluegrass as an international phenomenon."--Bookreporter

"This book will be of interest to those curious about the assimilation and adaptation of music forms. . . Readers eager for stories of bluegrass and country music that diverge from the common narrative of these genres being made by and for American Southerners will also appreciate the global approach to these genres."--Journal of American Folklore

“Lee Bidgood is the first person to do a serious accounting of the forces, political and artistic, that have contributed to the popularity of this outlier music in this unlikely locale. By putting himself in the narrative, he gives us an up-close and personal sense of the various aspects of the bluegrass and old-time music wave that has swept across the Czech and Slovakian musical landscapes for years—and still counting.”--Tony Trischka, from the foreword

Publication of this book is supported in part by grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the L. J. and Mary C. Skaggs Folklore Fund.


Lee Bidgood is an associate professor of bluegrass, old-time, and country music studies in the Department of Appalachian Studies at East Tennessee State University.

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