Happy New Year!
The song of the week is 'Bury Me Beneath The Willow' in the key of G. Originally recorded by the Carter Family in 1927 (it was the first song they recorded), and then by the Monroe Brothers (Bill Monroe and his older brother Charlie) in 1937 (under the title: 'Weeping Willow Tree'), 'Bury Me Beneath The Willow' has gone on to become one of the most common of bluegrass standards.
The chord progression for Bury Me Beneath The Willow is the most common of all progressions in bluegrass (Prog. V7 on the Basic Progressions handout):
Here's a short list of standard bluegrass songs that use this same progression:
Wreck Of The Old '97
I Still Write Your Name In The Sand
I'm On My Way Back To The Old Home
Your Love Is Like A Flower
Down Where The River Bends
Lost And I'll Never Find A Way
Come Back Darlin
Why Did You Wander
If I Should Wander Back Tonight
I'm Waiting To Hear You Call Me Darling
Ain't Nobody Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone
Road To Columbus
Hold Watcha Got
Blue Moon Of Kentucky (verse)
Black Mountain Rag (C-Part)
Flint Hill Special
Rose Of Old Kentucky (verse)
Tiny Broken Heart (verse)
Little Annie (verse)
White Dove (verse)
Memory Of You
In the key of G: 1=G, 4=C, and 5=D
The G chord is made up of the notes: G, B, and D.
The C chord is made up of the notes: C, E, and G.
The D chord is made up of the notes: D, F#, and A.
Together, these 7 notes make up the G major scale, and the melody of Bury Me Beneath The Willow makes use of all of them. (See the melody sheets attached here.)
When played in the key of G, the first melody note of the first full measure of the verses (and choruses) is the D note above the G note that the melody resolves on. When this is the case, the most effective pick up notes to use to kick off the song are the B, C, and C# notes immediately below that D note. Use of this series of notes is equally effective on all the bluegrass lead instruments. Give it a try. Start by finding the B note on your instrument, and then ascend in half steps (on a fretted instrument, this means you will not skip over any frets) until you reach the D note, playing the B, C, and C# notes as quarter notes, and be sure to place a heavy accent on that D note, since it is the first note of the first full measure of the song.
Here are some youtube links to listen to:
Alison Krauss - key of E
Chris Thile - key of A
Firebox Bluegrass Band - key of G
Chris Thile and Michael Daves - key of G
Roseanne Cash - key of A