The Atlantic: Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Legacy: A Genre Forever Driving Ahead

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Excerpt:  In 1953, Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass music, was driving home to Nashville in the early hours of the morning with his bass player and girlfriend Bessie Mauldin. According to Richard Smith’s 2001 Monroe biography Can’t You Hear Me Calling, Mauldin noticed there was a vehicle coming towards them, and told Monroe, “Bill, he’s coming into our lane, get over.”

Monroe, though, was having none of it. He was in the right lane, by God, and there was no way he was going to let some random idiot run him out of it. “Let him get over!” he said. Seconds later, they collided. Mauldin wasn’t seriously hurt, but Monroe broke 19 bones, including his spine, and avulsed one of his eyes out of its socket. Even so, he got himself out of the wreck, walked around to Mauldin’s side of the car, and pulled her free of the wreckage. After he was taken to the hospital, he was in a body cast for three months.