You might not agree with all of the song selections and artist choices on Putumayo’s Bluegrass Collection, which comes out May 22, but you have to acknowledge that Putumayo founder Dan Storper is getting the music we love in front of a lot of potential fans.
Putumayo’s music compilations routinely sell 100,000 copies or more around the world, a figure most bluegrass bands can only dream about.
While Putumayo has focused on American music since 2000, mostly jazz and blues, this is the label’s first bluegrass collection.
As a means of showcasing bluegrass to newcomers, this is an entertaining, albeit limited collection. The absence of first generation bluegrass pickers is notable but understandable, since many early recordings have not been digitized.
Also, some of the song choices for bands that are represented are a bit puzzling. But that’s a very subjective judgment.
“We may have left off some obvious candidates,” Storper said. The goal was to feature “known artists but relatively unknown songs,” rather than the best known or best-selling songs.
And you can’t say he took any shortcuts. The Putumayo boss told me his listened to 2,000 songs to come up with the final 13. “I listened to every Alison Krauss song,” he said. “I listened to every Peter Rowan song, every Sam Bush song.”...