All the Good Times - The Marshall Field Moonshiners
Take Me Home, Country Roads
High harmonies drifted across Westlands Lawn this spring at a performance by the Marshall Field Moonshiners, SLC’s bluegrass ensemble. With its acoustic instruments and rustic themes, bluegrass is nostalgic music, cheering listeners with memories of a simpler time. But—surprise—that time never really existed, says Toby King, the music faculty member who runs the group. Bluegrass is actually a modern, urban genre that didn’t exist before 1940, and it was nostalgic from the outset. “It’s the music of people moving from the country to the city,” King explains. “It glorifies rural culture, but in farewell—‘Oh, the broken-down mill, mom and dad are dead, I never should have left.” The high lonesome sound appeals to digital-age college students just as it did to mid-century migrants. As King points out, bluegrass has a certain authenticity—of feeling if not of fact—that works as an antidote to postmodern woes, especially on a fine spring day.