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World On Your Street: The Global Music Challenge
Jimmy Moon
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Describe the atmosphere and live music at a local pub, restaurant, festival, church or temple, club night.... inspire other people to check it out!

Musician: Jimmy Moon

Location: Glasgow

Instruments: vocals / double bass

Music: Scottish folk / Bluegrass

HOW I CAME TO THIS MUSIC          WHERE I PLAY          A FAVOURITE SONG Click here for Hande Domac's storyClick here for Mosi Conde's storyClick here for Rachel McLeod's story

Listen  Listen (2'30) to 'Lonely Broken Heart', performed by Jimmy Moon and the Moonshiners from the album, Singing in the Lane, (Sour Mash Records, Scotland).

Listen  Listen (1'56) to Jimmy Moon talk about his music.

'If you could imagine maybe in the 30's kids wanting to express themselves, you know, louder, brasher, faster… bluegrass was that expression.'

How I came to this music:

I suppose I came to bluegrass through rock n roll - The Byrds, Bob Dylan and Hank Williams. I grew up listening to various forms of country music, like Burl Ives on Two Way Family Favourites singing 'Big Rock Candy Mountain' and people like Lonnie Donegan singing skiffle songs. There's a relationship there, a bridge between rock and roll, jazz and country music.

My parents play music, so it was natural for me to be involved in music. My dad played trumpet and my mother played piano. They liked everything from Louis Armstrong right through to Hank Williams. I learned guitar off a neighbour actually, there was more a tradition of fiddling and things like that in my family - my mum's cousins all play fiddles. I suppose I wanted to be Elvis Presley! My first guitar was a tennis racket when I was about 5 or 6 - my brother played the pouffe!

Jimmy Moon and the Moonshiners
Jimmy Moon and the Moonshiners

Bluegrass was supposedly devised by Bill Monroe who was a mandolin player from Kentucky. It's the point just before old time country music became rock and roll. If you could imagine maybe in the 30's kids wanting to express themselves, you know, louder, brasher, faster… bluegrass was that expression.

It's the instrumentation and close vocal harmonies coming together which creates a special sound. I can relate it to Scottish and Irish music where there are similarities in strains that run through it. There's a lot of bluegrass players from America doing the opposite kind of thing, picking up on Irish and Scottish influences and pushing the music back into that phase. If you listen to old Appalachian music, it has a fantastic Scottish European sound. A lot of the Scandinavians, Irish, Scots, Germans, settlers got stuck in the Appalachian Mountains and stayed there, separate from the rest of the United States. They pioneered this bluegrass style of music. So I've been influenced by music from America, and have brought it back home!

The perfect bluegrass band is fiddle, banjo, upright bass, guitar and mandolin, with three- or four-part harmonies. Usually the prominent feature in the vocals is high tenor. I'm a bass player with The Moonshiners, and I also sing vocal harmonies. We're a four-piece band, and we have double bass, guitar, the mandolin player plays fiddle, and the banjo player plays dobro, which is like a lap-slide guitar. Sometimes we'll play and people will say 'Why are you playing American music?', but we don't really see it as American music, we see it as a form of world music.

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