Bear Grass; Tomorrow, Today and Yesterday

beargrassI bumped into my old mucker Louis Barabbas the other night, and whilst I wrestled with the world’s wiggliest puppy, we sank a couple of pints and talked, as usual, about Music These Days.

After getting thoroughly bored of re-hashing the Spotify/payment/oh-do-give-it-a-rest-Thom debate, we moved on to a proposition that sounds as if it was lifted straight from the mind of the fuddiest of duddies: Guitar Music Nowadays.

Here’s the crux of our shonky suggestion, based on a slighty-sweeping idea: that the vast bulk of guitar bands seem to be plundering the ever-nearer past.

Will, we wondered, future generations look back to today’s guitar bands for inspiration, or will they skip straight past and go to the same influencers that this lot are cribbing from?

My hunch is that they’ll do the latter. Will bands from 2023 really settle on Chvrches and Savages and The 1975 as jumping-off points, or will they just take one step further and go directly to the source?

And what does this say about the guitar bands of now, and us, who are consuming their music?

Well, at this point, I was tired and emotional, and so we hugged for a couple of seconds too long and departed. Yet, I think the above question bears a bit more thought. Answers and thoughts, please.

Bear Grass also, like any band ever, grab a handful of influences form the past, and shape something of their own. I suppose some genres, like the one Bear Grass occupy, are more forgiving – or accepting – of this practise than others. And anyway, River, is truly lovely, so who cares anyway?

Is that a Theremin hooting away in the background of River? I think so, and hugely welcome it is too, decorating a gorgeous folk song with fragile emotion, and turning a nice folk-pop song into a tremulous lament. This is just lovely.

Will future generations return to it as fuel for whatever post-neo-futurist-proto-Brostep iteration we’re on by that point? Maybe not, but they will marvel at how great this song is, and that’s just as good.


3 thoughts on “Bear Grass; Tomorrow, Today and Yesterday

  1. I’m inclined to assume that you’re probably right with relation to guitar music! That’s not to say that people aren’t doing slightly inventive things with guitars these days, but like you say people have the tendency to extrapolate their influences backwards, “to the source”, almost as if the older an act is, the more knowledgeable you must be for referencing them. But the mention of brostep is surely on point – because just as guitar music was in its (relative) infancy in the 70s, 80s, and so on, electronic music is experiencing those same growth spurts now – surely Four Tet/Disclosure/Skrillex will become the reference points of thousands of as-yet-unborn laptop wielding loons in the not too distant future? (…whether we want them to, or not)

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