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5 Shredding Bluegrass Songs

5 Shredding Bluegrass Songs

Contrary to what you may have seen in the film Deliverance, bluegrass music is more than a bunch of good ol' boys picking banjos and clogging on the porch.

It’s a style that boasts some of the most impressive instrumental musicians and guitarists of any genre.

Here’s a list of five songs to introduce you to the world of bluegrass shred.

Tony Rice, "Freeborn Man," Guitar

Any list of bluegrass guitar songs must begin with a selection by Tony Rice, the godfather of modern flatpicking. Rice has not only been an inspiration for virtually every bluegrass guitar player over the past three decades, but also one of the first to bring outside musical influences into the bluegrass world. On his interpretation of Jimmy Martin’s “Freeborn Man,” Tony lays down his signature quicksilver G runs as well as some bluesy gutbucket bends.

In this video, Tony performs with an all-star band, including fiddle player Mark O’Conner, mandolinist Sam Bush, dobro player Jerry Douglas and banjo player Bela Fleck. Be sure to check out Sam Bush’s reaction to Tony’s nasty diminished lick at 4:10, and then Tony’s smug “Yeah, I just played that” grin as he cues the next soloist.


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