Play That Funky Bluegrass, White Boys
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
This eight-year-old banjo player and his older brothers (11 and 13) just might knock your socks off with this version of Earl Scruggs’ “Flint Hill Special.” You ought to share this with your friends.
What may go unnoticed is the overtly religious language that peppers the The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys’ website. At the top of the page, embedded in the scrollwork of the trio’s logo, is a passage from the book of Psalms:
I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the Lord sustains me.
And their first album is promoted with a passage from Isaiah:
Seek justice; encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.
Why is it necessary to note this? While we are wowed by the talent of these boys, we may focus on the facts — technique, teachers, musical influences, and so on — and forget or ignore that something else may be core to what they do and why they do it. And knowing this, in and of itself, adds to our understanding of American culture: in this case, God, Bible, family, bluegrass.