The very tiny Ohio County, Kentucky, village of Rosine contains an oversized portion of memorabilia for country and bluegrass music fans. You could probably fit the entire -population of Rosine into the modest-sized Bill Monroe homeplace. It wouldn't even be a tight fit since the last census listed only 41 souls in the whole town. But wait 'til you see what's there to visit.

The Father of Bluegrass music was born there in 1911. His old homeplace has been renovated and still proudly exists today. It's decorated with original furnishings and family items and provides a great view back into the world of Kentucky life over 100 years ago.

Bill Monroe learned old style country fiddling from his Uncle Pendleton Vandiver  ("Uncle Pen" from Bill's famous bluegrass classic) who lived close by.  Bill pays tribute to Uncle Pen  when he sings:

Late in the evening, about sundown,
High on the hill, an' above the town,
Uncle Pen played the fiddle, Lord, how it rang,
You could hear it talk, you could hear it sing!

In the exact location of Uncle Pen's original cabin, a perfect replica has been recreated. It looks exactly like it did when Bill's parents died and he moved in the little cabin with his Uncle Pen.

Photo courtesy Ohio County Tourism Commission

There is a lot for bluegrass music fans to see in Rosine, including the Bill Monroe museum that's loaded with memories of Bill's career.

Photo courtesy Ohio County Tourism Commission

When you plan your visit to Bill Monroe's hometown, you can drive through the little village and get the bluegrass experience any time 10AM to 4PM daily. For a guided tour you'll want to arrive Tuesdays 9AM to 12:30PM or all day Wednesday 9AM to 4PM. But to get the full effect of the little village that gave us bluegrass music, you'll want to go on Friday and take the tour between 9AM and 4PM.  Be sure to stay for the pickin' jamboree which starts October 23 in the barn and continues every Friday through December. A regular bluegrass band plays from 6PM to 9PM but you never know who will show up with a fiddle, guitar, or mandolin and perform. Don't forget to bring a lawn chair.

Photo courtesy Ohio County Tourist Commission

It's all very low key and there's no admission although at some point someone will pass a hat to take up a collection to keep the lights on. The atmosphere in Rosine is very much like a bluegrass festival--very friendly and welcoming.

The drive is about an hour and a half from Evansville. For a leisurely drive I like to take Rt. 231  south from Owensboro to Hartford. When you pass the Walmart. start looking to your left for highway 62. Turn left on 62 and drive a few miles to Rosine which straddles 62 like a cowboy on a saddle. Maybe you'll want to sing along with this tune as you drive...

photo courtesy Ohio county tourist commission