What is ‘Craftygrass’, anyway?

Where’d the name come from?

Craftygrass was the name I came up with for my first musicking blog, which is being reinvigorated and reimagined here.  The original idea was that if I ever really developed an identifiable musical style of my own, it would probably be equal parts Guitar Craft and newgrass.  That’s probably still true as far as it goes–listen and decide for yourself–but at some point it occurred to me that there is actually a lot more in that name than the literal mashup of two specific musical influences.  For starters, each half of the portmanteau is a multi-entendre term unto itself.

Me in a nutshell

The word “Crafty”, among and regarding Guitar Craft people, refers both to the playful, creative aspect of being inventive and available, and also to the intentional, disciplined excellence aspect of deliberate design, execution, analysis, and learning.  It simultaneously suggests both the artist and the craftsman;  the designer and the engineer;  the pure and the applied scientist.  And as any Crafty Guitarist can tell you, it’s only by extension about the guitar–or even about music.  The concept of craft, and then of being “crafty”, applies to life.

As well, the notion of “-grass” conjures up multiple meanings as well.  Newgrass, after all, is but one branch of a larger musical family, which itself grew out of even broader traditions that are transcontinental in scope.  As a colloquial suffix, “-grass” implies that there is something essential and identifiable across all its permutations, even as the number and diversity of those permutations demonstrate just how adaptable that essential je ne sais quoi truly is.  (And so we have “bluegrass”, “newgrass”, “spacegrass”, “jamgrass”, “polyethnic Cajun slamgrass”, etc.)  One might thus observe that “-grass”, as a style or impulse, is always at home being a mutt, as it always seems to imply a blend or integration of other forms.

And wow, but all that is me-in-a-nutshell.  My love of the art of craft, of design, of collaboration, of excellence…love of the adaptable mutt..love of the beauty of both the ordinary and the extraordinary…my essential need for continuing education and learning, for expression and communication, for bringing together…for improvising both individually and within a group…somehow, it’s all in there.

So, what will you find here?

Please understand that these pages will always represent some sort of a work in progress, but it is fair to say that I do have a few concrete things in mind.  And so, as things grow, you should always be able to find:

  • News and updates on musical projects
  • Completely unsolicited commentary on music and musicking
  • Samples of musical resources I create for teaching myself and others
  • Links and embeds to my own original pieces and arrangements
  • Links and embeds to other music that help answer the question, “What kind of music do you listen to?’

There may be other things as the adventure goes along, and it may take a while to grind all the above into action.  Again:  a work in progress.  Hopefully that makes sense, and hopefully you can always find something that’s useful to you!

– Kevin W.