Fundraiser helps bring bluegrass back to life

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Tracy Heeter says, "Back where I'm from, you don't amount to much without a banjo and a guitar."
Bluegrass.
It's one root of the music world and where a lot of music got its start.

Tracy Heeter says, "If it weren't for roots music, there wouldn't be the Rolling Stones. There wouldn't be popular music on the radio. There wouldn't be country and western music. There wouldn't be jazz."

But here in South Dakota, it's not as popular. But if you head a little bit south where Tracy Heeter is from -- you'll find that bluegrass is no stranger.

Heeter says, "Nowadays it's become known as the Nashville sound. It was very popular at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee."

Heeter says it certainly takes some musical skills to learn the ways of genre.

Heeter says, "You have to find people who play it. That's how I got started, and I've been playing all my life."

Heeter is just one member of the Black Hills Bluegrass Association who wants to see the music genre catch on a bit more here in the Black Hills.

Heeter says, "We are trying to keep that music alive because the young people today don't really know about it."

The association aims to bring bluegrass back to life with various jam sessions around the hills and an annual Black Hills Bluegrass Festival.

Cathy Kjar says, "This is what we do. We do bluegrass music, so we like to bring bluegrass music to the people of Rapid City and the Black Hills."

A dozen bands and their strings from around the area came out to play at 'MUMPS' this afternoon -- the March Unplugged Musical Performance Showcase -- raising money for the summer festival.

The Black Hills Bluegrass Association finds that those who take a listen can get a feel for its classic charm.

Kjar says, "I think they like the history of it, the down home sound of it -- they like to hear the old songs."

The Black Hills Bluegrass Festival is scheduled for June 24 through the 26 at the Elkview Campground.