The Breakdown

Uncovering Bluegrass music one iconic record at a time.

About the show

Fiddler Patrick McGonigle and music journalist Emma John uncover bluegrass music one iconic record at a time in The Breakdown, a new limited series from The Bluegrass Situation. Peeling back the layers of a sometimes under appreciated genre, The Breakdown reveals the bizarre, compelling, and often completely mad stories from bluegrass players past and present.


  • Punch Brothers - Antifogmatic

    December 20th, 2018  |  Season 1  |  56 mins 45 secs
    antifogmatic, bluegrass, chris thile, music podcasts, podcasts, punch brothers, the breakdown

    It’s a festively boozy week on The Breakdown – Emma’s been at the drinks cabinet and so, it seems, have the Punch Brothers. Is their wild and woozy Antifogmatic even a bluegrass record? We join Noam, Gabe and Critter in London to find the answer – then track down Chris Thile in New York to steal his cocktail recipes.

  • Keith Whitley and Ricky Skaggs - Second Generation Bluegrass

    December 13th, 2018  |  Season 1  |  51 mins 51 secs
    bluegrass, keith whitley, ricky skaggs, second generation bluegrass, the breakdown

    Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley were only 17 years old when they recorded Second Generation Bluegrass. Ricky Skaggs joins The Breakdown to talk about this iconic album.

  • John Hartford - "Aereo-Plain"

    December 6th, 2018  |  Season 1  |  34 mins 35 secs
    aereo plain, bluegrass, jam grass, jamgrass, john hartford

    Aereo-Plain is probably the greatest album John Hartford ever made - but when it came out in 1971, even his record label didn’t know what to make of it. We’re still not quite sure - is it a genuine nostalgiafest, or was hippie Hartford pulling bluegrass’s leg? And can producer David Bromberg and Vassar Clements superfan Alex Hargreaves help us solve the mystery?

  • Béla Fleck - Drive

    November 29th, 2018  |  Season 1  |  43 mins 59 secs
    banjo, bela fleck, bluegrass, dobro, drive, jerry douglas, mandolin, sam bush

    Béla Fleck's virtuostic 1988 instrumental album "Drive" is a touchstone of modern acoustic music.

  • Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard

    November 15th, 2018  |  Season 1  |  43 mins 28 secs
    alice gerrard, bluegrass, hazel and alice, hazel dickens

    Emma and Patrick dissect the 1976 album Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard (not to be confused with their earlier recording Hazel and Alice), a release that came out after the unlikely duo already broke up.

  • Flatt & Scruggs - At Carnegie Hall!

    November 15th, 2018  |  Season 1  |  52 mins 30 secs
    bluegrass, carnegie hall, earl scruggs, flatt & scruggs, lester flatt

    Released in 1963 by Columbia Records, the historic performance from Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and The Foggy Mountain Boys records the first time a bluegrass artist headlined the venerable New York concert hall.

  • The Breakdown Introduction

    November 12th, 2018  |  Season 1  |  2 mins 25 secs
    bluegrass, breakdown

    An introduction to The Breakdown - a new podcast from BGS that uncovers Bluegrass music one iconic record at a time.