France semester brings Bluegrass

Members of the hybrid band Blue Railroad Train play their interpretation of a classic bluegrass favorite.

Alexandra Nicolas

Members of the hybrid band Blue Railroad Train play their interpretation of a classic bluegrass favorite.

Alexandra Nicolas

Bluegrass is often considered a uniquely American breed of music.So why was there a bluegrass concert during the France Semester?

Blue Railroad Train combines American bluegrass player James Field with French musicians Thierry Lecocq, Philippe Perrard, Sharon Lombardi and Jean-Marie Redon to create a French bluegrass hybrid gaining popularity all over Europe.

Though there is not yet a great market for French bluegrass, the group has played at renowned festivals such as Europe World of Bluegrass in Holland and the Guinness International Bluegrass Festival in Ireland.

“The bluegrass scene in France is very small, so after awhile everyone knows each other,” Field said.

The group can be heard playing their “Kick-Ass Bluegrass” at concerts and clubs all around the Parisian area.

Though they stylistically play a French-bluegrass amalgam, the group plays a mixture of country, old-time favorites, swing, rock’n roll, French sea shanties as well as original pieces.

The group features performers who have been members of groups such as the New York City Ramblers, The Cabs, Twenty-One and Station as well as having successful solo careers.

The musicians come together to play what they consider their own unique breed of bluegrass music.

“Sometimes you hear something on the radio and its just like, that’s what I like,” Thierry said, “that’s what I want to play.”

Though the group draws strong influences from classic bluegrass they also take pride in meshing musical styles together.

“It’s a function of who’s in the band, you have to be who you are,” Field said, “you can’t just mimic other people . . . you have to put your self into it.”

The band recently appeared in the Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival in Guthrie, Okla. For more information persons may e-mail the band at [email protected]