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According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, what musical genre was named for the color of tobacco leaves?

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Answer: Blue Grass

According to the CBC's Definitely Not The Opera, the musical-genre name blue grass was coined by Bill Monroe to reflect the color of tobacco leaves.

However, According to the Online Etymological Dictionary, the term was coined as an allusion to the Bluegrass Boys, a country music band of the 1940s and 1950s, whose name derives from the blue grass found in Kentucky.

[Mootguy: Is the grass really blue or is it just a Kentucky state of mind?]


DNTO ain't exactly a biblical font of wisdom, at least when it comes to bluegrass. I forwarded this question to a friend, who is also a bluegrass enthusiast.

He replied, in part:

"I personally asked Monroe where the name "bluegrass" came from during an interview in Louisville, Kentucky.. He said that when he named his band "The Bluegrass Boys" in 1939, it came from his home state, Kentucky, aka "the bluegrass state," bluegrass being a type of grass that is everywhere down there. I believe Monroe put it thus: "It came from the state of Kentucky."

Monroe never smoked, he'd never have named it after tobacco. Following the success of the Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys after they joined the Opry in 39, and after Flatt and Scruggs joined at the end of WW2, "bluegrass" came into use as a generic name for that type of music.

The bluegrass music as we know it today didn't come together until Flatt and Scruggs joined, Bill's 39-45 stuff is more hillbilly/country/old time. (I realize this is a fine distinction for most folks, but those of us who know, know.) Hard to pinpoint the exact date of the generic usage of "bluegrass music," but researchers generally put it about the early 50s. That's when it started showing up on posters and ads for various acts beyond Bill.

"Bluegrass" is, orthographically, one word.

I didn't think the new folks on DNTO would have such esoteric interests. As the question came from CBC, shouldn't it be "the colour of tobacco leaves?"? Should it be "what musical genre" or "which musical genre" or doesn't it matter?

I think the CBC is nuts. Kentucky Blue grass is real, and although not extremely blue, has a blueish cast. See

The grass's stems are blue-green. It has nothing to do with tobacco. The Canadians missed on that one.

I think somebody at the CBC is smoking and it ain't tobacco.

Not that this is all that important, but Bluegrass music came from Kentucky. Kentucky Blue Grass is a horticultural variety of grass found in Kentucky (and elsewhere). The name for the music was coined from Bill Monroe's band, "The Bluegrass Boys," because they were from Kentucky. Some classical music specialist at CBC may have gotten the facts wrong.

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