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From my profile page:

MM/DD/YYYY HH:MM:SS: 12/04/2012 14:05

"spacegrass"? i'm have to google that one

I heard the term 7 years or so ago. As I interpret it, it means spacy, “concept” music, such as Pink Floyd, performed in a bluegrass style entirely, mostly, or with at least some traditional bluegrass instruments - mandolin, fiddle, banjo, guitar, bass, drums strictly (as much as anything can be among musicians of the genre) prohibited.

 

I was in a 4 to 5 member bluegrass/newgrass band for several years. We turn spacegrass in our final months, culminating in our playing a drawn-out (from the usual 24 to 30 or so minutes) version of Floyd’s Echos.

 

Almost any style of music can be adapted into another, so there are many “__grass” styles – punkgrass, cowgrass (bluegrass style cowboy/rockabilly), rapgrass (which I’ve heard rumors of, but never actually heard) – collectively called newgrass.

 

"Spacegrass is actually a term coined by Tony Rice." Could you link me to some samples? I keep getting a song called spacegrass and it definitely ain't something I'd expect Tony Rice to be involved with.

LOL, yeah, Clutch’s 1995

is definitely not bluegrass! Not quite a “trance” band, but definitely “stoner rock”. Coincidentally, they’re from a town about a dozen miles from me, and, I just discovered, have a vague connection to my old band in one of them (I can’t recall who) having had the same guitar teacher as one of my old bandmates.

 

The various “__grass” terms don’t seem to be very good web search terms – using the name of an original band or a song of some genre +” bluegrass” seems the best way to search for them. I quickly found this one:

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I was in a 4 to 5 member bluegrass/newgrass band for several years. We turn spacegrass in our final months, culminating in our playing a drawn-out (from the usual 24 to 30 or so minutes) version of Floyd’s Echos.
Floyd is one of the few bands out there that sounds good no matter what style it's covered in. I've heard abso-friggin-lutely stunning classical, jazz, and metal covers...which being a person that believes 99.9999% of the time covers ruin songs is saying something.

 

Pretty good cover in the provided link...took a bit to sort out what it was as they've changed up the (for lack of the appropriate word tempo)....it's practically an entirely a different tune.

 

Being raised in appalachia and the son of a bluegrass musician I've heard a lot of flavors on the odder end of things some of the works of Bela Fleck are the most "out there" stuff I've heard.

 

I half expected spacegrass to be like a cross between the "space music" I've occasionally heard on NPR and Bela's odder stuff.

 

I find the strict exclusion of drums odd as there is bluegrass that has percussion, such as Inuit kilaut (cauyuq), bodhrán, wooden boxes, tapping on instruments bodies, washboards, and of course boot tapping/stamping on floorboards.

Edited by DFINITLYDISTRUBD
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The various “__grass” terms don’t seem to be very good web search terms – using the name of an original band or a song of some genre +” bluegrass” seems the best way to search for them. I quickly found this one:
Only problem is without exposure to groups that play, for example spacegrass, how do you look up a particular song or band?

A pretty good vid. , though I'm uncertain fi it qualifies as "space grass"...a real toe tapper though...ended up grabbing my bass and jammin along.

 

 

Definitely not spacegrass but so dang cool I just had to post it

 

 

 

Not spacegrass either...my impression from the various descriptions was that it falls somewhere between the first vid and the last. Pickin on the Dead doesn't seem to fall out of the range of garden variety bluegrass.

Same fella as both above vids

Edited by DFINITLYDISTRUBD
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  • 8 years later...

Howdy, folks!

Spacegrass was a term coined by Tony, it refers to the virtuosity in playing within and around the bluegrass music idiom, while also bringing in elements from modal jazz works especially so like Coltrane, Joe Henderson, Woddy Shaw, Bill Evans, etc.

I am a colleague, former student, and dear friend of Tony's younger brother Wyatt Rice who also continues the tradition.

For an example on SpaceGrass from Wyatt's repertoire, I recommend checking out his original piece "Dave's Place". Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dors05zcSzE

The ensemble I am musical director for, The New Acoustic Collective also carries on the tradition of New Acoustic & SpaceGrass music, forged by Tony and continued into the genre with Wyatt as well. 

We just released a new record "Buckwild", covering Wyatt's SpaceGrass tune "Dave's Place", the David Grisman "dawg music" classic "E.M.D.", and new SpaceGrass I have written in an addition to the modern repertoire. Check out the record at our Bandcamp: https://newacousticcollective.bandcamp.com/album/buckwild, which includes full liner notes by Wyatt Rice, song liner notes I have written, and more. 

It is also available on Spotify, and all major streaming platforms.

I hope that helps answer some questions and enjoy the music!

Best,

Jason Keiser 

Professional Guitarist
Musical director, co-leader The New Acoustic Collective
Willow Glen Music School Guitar Instructor
2016 Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival Guitar Scholarship Awardee
ETSU Class of 2018: B.A. Bluegrass, Old-Time, & Country Music Studies, student of Wyatt Rice
SJSU Class of 2020: M.M. Jazz Studies, Guitar, student of Rick Vandivier
 
 
 
 
 
 
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