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Progressive bluegrass is one of two major subgenres of bluegrass music. It is also known as newgrass, a term attributed to New Grass Revival member Ebo Walker. Musicians and bands John Hartford, New Grass Revival, J.D. Crowe and the New South, The Dillards, Boone Creek, Country Gazette, and the Seldom Scene pioneered innovations in the genre. Some groups began using electric instruments and importing songs from other genres, particularly rock & roll. Progressive bluegrass became popular in the late 1960s and 1970s, but it can be traced back to the banjo and bass duets that Earl Scruggs played even in the earliest days of the Foggy Mountain Boys. The four key distinguishing elements of progressive bluegrass are instrumentation, frequently including electric instruments, drums, piano, and more, songs imported or styles imitated from other musical genres like jazz, rock and others, non-traditional chord progressions, and lengthy "jam band"-style improvisation. However, not all these elements are always present in progressive bluegrass.

Progressive bluegrass continues to be performed by bands today. Innovative groups include Nickel Creek, Yonder Mountain String Band, Crooked Still, The String Cheese Incident, and Railroad Earth. Many older newgrass musicians, along with music festivals such as NedFest and Telluride Bluegrass Festival, have been instrumental in cultivating the continued popularity of progressive bluegrass.

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Simple English

Progressive bluegrass is a type of bluegrass music which became popular in the 1960s and 1970s. The four important elements (not always all present) of progressive bluegrass are instrumentation (usually including electric instruments, drums, piano, and more), songs imported or styles imitated from other musical genres (like jazz, rock and others), non-traditional chord progressions, and lengthy "jam band"-style improvisation.

Bands such as Nickel Creek produce music in this style.


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