Many folks maintain that jazz is the one uniquely American form of music, but what about bluegrass? Perhaps its connection to what some perceive as "hillbilly culture" keeps it slighted, but bluegrass, an earthy and complex music, was born of American confluences of Irish and British folk ballads, early country music, blues, and even bits of jazz. Which is what makes the Red, White & Bluegrass Festival a truly engaging way to spend a spring weekend in the good ol' US of A. Headlining is Marty Stuart, whose latest, tremendous platter, Souls' Chapel, explores roots and variants of gospel, another uniquely American form. The Lonesome River Band has been going since the mid-1980s, keepers of the traditional flame, but it's not made up of reactionaries the LRB played on roots-rock icon John Fogerty's Blue Moon Swamp. Nashville's Tresa Jordan shoots for a synthesis of Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton, and Patsy Cline. Other performers include Audie Blaylock and the New River Boys.
The Red, White & Bluegrass Festival runs from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, May 12; 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 13; and 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday, May 14, at Hollywood Beach, Hollywood Boulevard and A1A. Admission is free. Call 954-921-3404.