Playing

“Uncle Pen” Lyrics and Chords

Bill Monroe is the Father of Bluegrass but even he had his influences, and perhaps none greater than James Pendleton Vandiver—his “Uncle Pen”.

“Rank Stranger” Lyrics and Chords

Artists have been performing and recording “Rank Stranger” for more than 60 years, but the Stanley Brothers’ 1960 recording for Starday Records remains the definitive version.

“New River Train” Lyrics and Chords

“New River Train” is believed to take its name from a train on the Norfolk and Western system that ran through the Blue Ridge Mountains from West Virginia to North Carolina in the 1880s.

“Keep on the Sunny Side” Lyrics and Chords

“Keep On The Sunny Side,” popularized first by the Carter Family and later by O Brother, Where Art Thou?, was inspired by the songwriter’s disabled nephew who wanted to be pushed down the sunny side of the street.

“I Am a Pilgrim” Lyrics and Chords

“I Am a Pilgrim” goes back at least as far as the American Civil War, where it was popular in the south with weary travelers who looked forward to what awaited them in the afterlife.

“Blue Night” Lyrics and Chords

“Blue Night” is a fun one for jammers, because it departs from the typical bluegrass chord progressions we’ve heard a million times without demanding any fancy chords.

Gear

Culture

Understanding the Nashville Number System

The Nashville Number System is a simple way to indicate a song’s chord changes by using numbers instead of the typical letters, so you aren’t tying them to any specific key. It’s one of the most important ways bluegrass musicians communicate.