Skip to Main Content

Bluegrass: A Singular Musical Ensemble

Bluegrass: A Singular Musical Ensemble

Just four or five people on stage with nothing but their instruments and microphones - and yet it allows for what Chris Thile calls "explosive creativity," creating something new while still retaining ties to the genre's traditions.
Clip Length 01:55 Premiere: 8/30/19
Visit the Official Website

Sponsored by:

Comment on Kentucky logo and a "Check Schedule" button.A close-up of Comment on Kentucky host Bill Bryant smiling in a dark suit and purple tie against an image of Kentucky's capitol building. with a "Check Schedule" button.

Program Details

Big Family: The Story of Bluegrass Music

About Big Family: The Story of Bluegrass Music

Examine the history of bluegrass music, from its origins to its eventual worldwide popularity, and hear from dozens of musicians who explain the ways bluegrass music transcends generational, cultural and geographic boundaries.

TV Schedules


No upcoming airdates

Jump to Upcoming Airdates


Big Family: The Story of Bluegrass Music

  • Friday June 10, 2022 9:00 pm ET on KET
  • Friday June 10, 2022 8:00 pm CT on KET


Big Family: The Story of Bluegrass Music

Length 1:55:24 Premiere Date 8/30/19


The story of bluegrass music isn’t simple. Bluegrass is old and young, traditional and progressive, heartfelt and technical. It’s from the Appalachian Mountains, the big cities, the whole world. Some say bluegrass is stubborn music, best bound in tradition. Others love it for its unfettered possibilities, an empty canvas for the next generation. But everybody agrees with Bill Monroe, the father of this musical family: “Bluegrass has brought more people together and made more friends than any music in the world.”

Narrated by actor and bluegrass enthusiast Ed Helms, Big Family: The Story of Bluegrass Music, produced by KET (Kentucky Educational Television) for national distribution via PBS in August 2019, provides a comprehensive look at bluegrass music — what it is, key musicians who have shaped its sound, and its worldwide appeal. The film explores the evolution of the bluegrass sound through generations of musicians, from early pioneers to young contemporary performers.

At the heart of the two-hour film is the music itself, as recordings and performance footage showcase and celebrate its unique sound. More than 50 musicians appear in the film, including Alison Brown, Dale Ann Bradley, Sam Bush, JD Crowe, Bela Fleck, Laurie Lewis, Del McCoury, Bobby Osborne, Ricky Skaggs, Chris Thile, and many more.

Big Family: The Story of Bluegrass Music is not available on Blu-Ray or DVD.

Explore KET