[FONT=Impact][SIZE=3]Congrats DAWG! We, Brazilian fans, wish you many blessings and prosperity, with much health and happiness, and especially, want you to keep touching our hearts with your outstanding talent for more 70 years![/SIZE] [/FONT]
Happy 70th Birthday, David Grisman
By Mandolin Cafe and Friends
March 23, 2015 - 12:00 am
On this, his 70th birthday, we extend our best wishes to David Grisman for his music, his friendship, his leadership, his compassion, and last but certainly not least, for inspiring us with groundbreaking new sounds we couldn't possibly begin to imagine.
An email from Mike Marshall two weeks earlier set what follows in motion and I quickly realized I was up against an impossible task. That one individual could contact every musician that had a soft spot in their heart for the Dawg... that's just a crazy thought. Of course that didn't stop me from trying. For those of you I missed (and there were many) and couldn't connect due to travel schedules, errant email addresses and a variety of other reasons, my deepest apology.
Blow out the candles. Lets get this party started. Happy birthday, Dawg, and thanks for all that you do to make the planet a better place to live! And now, a few of your friends have something they'd like to say.
— Scott Tichenor
The opportunity to contribute to any part of the world of music is an incredible privilege. David handed me that opportunity. Here's to the guy who 40 years ago helped me get my advanced degree in Dawgology and gave me a priceless opportunity to play music all over the world while learning the most immediate and crucial lessons possible from the greatest fiddlers and other string players of the 20th century. David's commitment to my musical development and education was strong, steady, incredibly generous, and inspired an equal commitment from me to his music, and to a higher goal of bringing valuable and worthwhile music into this world.
When I first heard David on Muleskinner and later on the Old & In The Way recording, I remember being knocked out by his total commitment to the musical flow of a song and his ability to shape the dynamic and textural "story" of a musical experience, like a great drummer and guitarist rolled into one consciousness. That sense of "story" and that kind of groove and flow and majestic drama was just what I was looking for in music, and music was my universe. When Todd Phillips brought me up from Santa Cruz to David's place in Mill Valley to jam for the first time, it was the most intense musical experience I had ever had and exactly where I wanted to be. A few more sessions, and we were all pretty certain that this was where our energies were going to be directed for the unforeseeable future.
David set an indelible example for me not only in the department of self-guided self-education, and always pursuing excellence, but in embracing and enjoying musicians and music. One of the greatest things David ever said to me was "Hey man; I'm scared of being scared!" Don't be scared... Life is way too short not to accept the challenge to create. His sense of the world-as-library and his academic outlook that's totally embedded into a volcanically expressive and productive artistic lifestyle still makes more sense to me than anything else.
I am so lucky to be part of an older cultural structure built on mentorship and artistic lineage, in which knowledge and inspiration is passed on in a visceral and direct way. I can trace this mentorship back directly back through David, Tony Rice, Stephane Grappelli, Vassar Clements, and the other musical giants we worked with, through his mentors Ralph Rinzler, J.D. Crowe, Jimmy Martin, Bill Monroe, Django Reinhardt, and beyond. This treasure is beyond price, can't be codified or marketed, only lived, expressed and shared.
I believe that a very short time after Tony Rice came out and visited for the first time, David had his 30th birthday. I was 21. David was having his moment of decision. It looked like we were going to put everything into this band, and we did. To be part of that moment, that setting off on a journey of discovery, has given my life reason and shape. Following his example as a teacher and sharer of musical culture, and a facilitator of new musical ideas with younger brilliant players, is a sacred trust.
David Grisman and Artie Rose, circa 1966. Photo courtesy of Roland White.
Happy Birthday to David Grisman.
David has been described in many ways over the years: innovative, masterful, revolutionary, inventive, brilliant, pioneer, and the list goes on. For me, the word that comes to mind is giver. He has given the world his music and incredible compositions, he has given his time and talent to countless benefits, shared his knowledge and techniques at festival workshops, and each year at his Mandolin Symposium. Countless mandolin players have been thrilled to play Crusher or other mandolins he owns. He is amazingly generous. He has turned down a chance to buy a rare instrument, to allow another player the opportunity. On a personal note, after I lost my daughter to cancer seven years ago, David invited me to attend the Mandolin Symposium for free. I was deeply touched by that kind gesture. David Grisman is a giver. Happy Birthday, David. May you receive in excess of what you give.
Picture if you can a group of people huddled in a hotel room... bottles of fine single malt whisky popping open, geeks talking about open vs. closed Loar peghead logos, a couple mandocellos, mandolas, and 10-string hybrids leaning against the wall... fresh sushi, and a Loar F5 on the table having a new bridge fitted while everyone else spectated. A little strumming, some muted jokes, and finally a game of "pass the perfectly set up Loar."
I think magic like this is just part of the fun aura that Dawg exudes around him. He wasn't even in the room for the scene described, but we were all tickled when we found out he was next door during that F5 bacchanal!
I've always appreciated a chance to talk about rare/prototype/1-off/obscure mandolins with David. I don't think there has ever been a musician more fascinated with the tools as well as the trade of making music.
So a very happy, mandolin-infested birthday to you Dawg, and hope there are many more to come!
It was 1973 in Palo Alto. We had just released our first album and we got to open for Old & in the Way. Here's the poster and David will have to explain the name change!! Happy birthday to a truly iconic and totally original musician. I only hope to jam with you a lot more in this life!!! Ray Benson on a bus somewhere in Texas!!!
I met David Grisman back in the 80s at the Station Inn in Nashville. A little throw together band I was in was playing a weekday gig to a very modestly-attended house. It was a pretty dismal affair, save this one guy in the back who clapped enthusiastically any time we did a Bill Monroe song. On break up comes the Dawg himself and says, "Why don't you teach me all those Monroe licks, man?" I thought to myself, "You already know 'em". But I had no idea at the time just how much more he knew.
It has been my great honor to be acquainted with David Grisman for over 20 years. Acquainted and acknowledged. David is the ultimate champion and savior for all things mandolin. His passion for music remains unbridled even after the passing of these seven decades of his existence on the planet. His influence reaches multiple generations of musicians and fans who recognize him as an artist, creator of his own unique mandolin style, an archivist, producer, engineer, and educator.
I think it fair to say that David Grisman has joined the ranks of entertainers who are instantly recognizable by merely one name... Monk, Wynonna, Sting, Celine, Cher, Prince, Madonna, and... Dawg.
Happy Birthday, old friend. Life's better with you in it.
In my early years on the mandolin, David Grisman was a sound, a style, a genre unto himself, the mandolinist we all looked up to. Ten years ago, he became a teacher and mentor to me, and finally a colleague and friend: warm, humble, unassuming and always up for playing a tune.
As I'm out in the world performing or just answering the question, "What instrument do you play?," nine times out of ten if people know the instrument at all, they mention David's name, and often request one of his tunes. His impact on the mandolin's repertoire and popularity cannot be overstated.
So, happy birthday, David! I'm looking forward to many more years of knowing you, listening to your beautiful music and picking tunes together. Thank you!
Dawg, a Texas size Happy Birthday! Love you. Your awesome talent is only exceeded by your enormous heart! In a business where egos can drive people away, you are most generous and supportive and easily draw players in as one of your disciples. I will never forget the day you first invited me to teach at The Mandolin Symposium. It was an "offer I couldn’t refuse," and I adopted you as my Godfather (cant help it, I’m Italian). Since then we have had many great moments sharing music and stories. We had some fun last summer when you snuck into my mandolin class at the Country Blues Workshop in Port Townsend, Washington. My students were surprised…looking at you then looking at me. One mouthed the question “Is that Grisman?” It was a thrill for them when y’all played together. And that is the giving spirit I am talking about. You are a rare talent and individual and I am glad we crossed paths. I look forward to many more. Wishing you all the best!
My venture into stringed instruments started at about the age of 13. Starting on guitar and banjo, it wasn't until my early 20s that I became mesmerized by the mandolin. Bill Monroe and his music was a big influence for my interest in bluegrass, but it was the newer music, primarily Sam Bush and David Grisman that cemented my interest in mandolin. The David Grisman Quintet, The David Grisman Rounder Album, Hot Dawg, Quintet 80, and Manzanita. Pretty much anything David produced or played on. Then there was the DGQ Austin City Limits show. WOW! It was around this time I started thinking about trying to build these things, so in large part, thanks David! So, can I blame this all on you?! Happy birthday Dawg... grab a big corner piece of cake.... here's to many, many more!
I first saw David play around 1979, with Stephane Grappelli, at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. I was completely blown away. I had no context for what I was seeing at the time, I was purely and simply delighted by the musicality and sense of fun in what I saw and heard. It was shortly after that I took up the mandolin, in an utterly unrelated musical milieu, but I am certain that the grace, the tone, and the whimsy in David’s playing were a huge inspiration and influence on me. My appreciation for David and what he has done for the instrument, for many types of music, and for so many mandolin players has only increased over the years.
Happy Birthday, David, and thank you!!
Thank you, David, for all the great music you've been giving us for so long. Your ability to create so many memorable melodies and compelling arrangements has been a tremendous inspiration to me and so many others. It's always a joy to hear you play.
We all should celebrate Dawg's birth and the immense contribution he has given the world with his music, instruction and inspiration. From the first time we met at the 1980 G.A.L convention in San Francisco, he has been nothing but generous and supportive with his time, knowledge and advice on all things creative.
I am personally forever indebted to him for showing me by example a level of dedication and commitment to his art that continues to inspire me everyday. Every time I string up a new mandolin there is a little voice in the back of my head that says... "what would Dawg think of this?" Thanks for all you continue to give us.
Happy Birthday Loarful!!
Stephen of Gnotuky
L-R: Jethro Burns, David Grisman and Tiny Moore, backstage at the Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, California, 1980.
I wish the very happiest of birthdays to David Grisman. The Dawg turns 70, but his gifts to acoustic music are timeless. I was incredibly thirsty for music in my youthful college years, and his albums from Old & in the Way to the jazz albums just made me thirstier. I keep discovering new things in David's music, the tunes he plays and the music he promotes in the old and new recordings of others. Millions of people say the same. I hope he realizes what a powerful, positive force he's been for music on planet Earth.
At the same time, I'm honored to have experienced his warm kindness to strangers. Years ago I went into my day job newspaper office, clicked on my computer, and found an e-mail in the in-box that knocked me out. I'd written a column in a mainstream newspaper lamenting super-high ticket prices for rock, pop and country stars, while affordable acoustic music shows went lightly attended. In describing a recent band I'd heard, I mentioned their music as similar to David Grisman's. My thinking was that he had become such a landmark in the music world that even people only vaguely familiar with acoustic music had heard of the Dawg.
David wrote me an e-mail thanking me for the column, a simple act of kindness that meant so much to me. Later, I got to meet David in Lawrence, Kan., while in the company of Cafe founder Scott Tichenor. David was gracious, friendly and generous with his time and thoughts.
Happy Birthday to one of the greatest bluegrass and jazz musicians ever, who is also a wonderful person.
Happy 70th Birthday!
How can I thank you enough? You have shown me what it means to be a truly original artist, respecting and deeply knowing so many musical traditions, while at the same time, creating something completely new and profound. The music we all play today would not be possible without you, Dawg.
I know I’d be living a very different, far less musical life if it weren’t for meeting you when I was ten. Whether it was burning me my first Stuff Smith album, inviting me to play music with you, or introducing me to other musicians my own age (many of whom are my dearest friends and musical partners), I’ll forever be grateful for your warmth, kindness and mentorship. Thank you for this, and for making the world a better place.
Sending much love and wishing you the happiest of birthdays!
Hamilton de Holanda
David Grisman, Dawg!
Happy Birthday, paz, amor, saúde e música sempre!! Peace, love, health, and music always. Big, big HUG!! Um grande abraço do Hamilton de Holanda.
I first heard Dawg in 1979 by way of a cassette tape copy of the DGQ first album, and my life took a sharp turn toward the wonderful world of the mandolin. Thirty-six years into the journey and I am still mesmerized by this little eight-string wonder. (Still trying to get it in tune too). Whenever I am reading through past issues of Mandolin World News, listening to one of the many great recordings on the Acoustic Disc label, hanging out in Santa Cruz in late June at the Mandolin Symposium, or just listening to the silver haired master tell another story about Bill, Stephane, Earl, Jerry, or Doc, I tip my hat to David Grisman for inspiring an entire generation of mandolin players.
Wishing you a happy, healthy 70th birthday and many more to come.
Happy birthday Dawg!
Even though I didn't meet David until I was twelve years old at the Rockygrass festival in Colorado, I feel like I've known him my entire life. My parents used to tell me that I've been listening to his records since I was in the womb and they weren't kidding. There are so many things that come to mind when I think about Dawg's music. His tone, groove, that tremolo! His phrasing, originality, inventiveness and fearlessness not only in the exploration of other realms but in the creation of his own. It's hard to know just what to focus on after 50+ years in the business but one of the biggest things for me is his personality both as a player and composer. He's one of those guys who's sound is immediately recognizable and after years of listening, a personal connection is created through his tone and compositions. Since that first meeting in 2002 I've been fortunate to get to know David and jam with him on many occasions in addition to seeing countless live performances. Through these experiences I've come to realize that this personal connection that is felt through David's music is a result of his deep level of communication when he plays. When he plays a melody, he's telling you something and in a world where finding a deeper meaning in music can be so difficult, this provides more than enough to keep me seeking for a lifetime. Thank you, David, and happy birthday!
When a musician with vision, one that is often making his living while taking risks and being creative decides to make recordings with newly envisioned music, compositions and playing style, it creates an opportunity for magic to happen. I remember the first time I purchased several David Grisman records in 1978, without really ever hearing him play that much, because I had heard that he and his mandolin represented 'another road' for mandolin players from mainstream bluegrass, which is what I was involved in back in the mid-70s. When the needle touched the vinyl, within 20 seconds, my life had changed... my music, my interest and direction were impacted like never before and never since. The doors of limitation for mandolin were blown down for me, and many others, and the birth of my 'creative' music career soon followed and owes its existence to my hero.
But as profound for me as that moment was, and his subsequent recordings that followed, and the recordings that I have made in my career, I was yet to discover just how much of an inspiration and influence he would really become, until one day when I received a call from out of the blue with a very familiar voice on the other end that I had never had the chance to talk to before, inviting me to come to IBMA in 1991 to meet him and hang out. Absolutely unreal. And ever since, Dawg's friendship, support, and inspiration, and belief in what I do has driven me to follow my own creative path for my mandolin and my music and in my teaching and every other aspect of my musical life. He is a true pioneer, and still to this day, demonstrates all the skill and creativity in the same way he always has over all these years. Happy Birthday to my friend, my inspiration, and my hero, David Grisman.
I've been friends with David since the mid-sixties. Talk about birthdays... he is the greatest. He remembers zillions of them and if you're one of the lucky ones, when your birthday arrives, at some point during the day you'll get a phone call and when you answer you'll be treated to a spontaneous rendition of Happy Birthday To You with tremolos and triple stops and cadenzas.
Our kids have grown up together and now our grandkids. We've had great meals, great gigs, great sessions, and great parties and I've made many other friends through him. I think he has done as much as anyone in the world to promote the mandolin and generously help out anyone who shares his love of it. It's a treat to be his friend and hang out with him. Happy Birthday, pal.
I met you in 2007 in person when I was invited to your and Mike Marshall's Mandolin Symposium. I had been listening to your music in the 90s back in old Germany as a young student of Classical music at the Music Conservatory in Cologne. Your CDs were my first experience of non-classical mandolin music and I was amazed how sexy the mandolin could sound!
I startet looking out for other musicians and became familiar with many of my American mandolin heros.
Thank you for inpiring me deeply and turning me on to all these different musical styles that the mandolin is a part of, and thank you for inviting me in 2007 where I met Mr. MM...!!
I want to celebrate a minimum of 30 more Birthdays with you and Tracy.
A big hug!!!
On our dear ole David Grisman:
- He rearranged a whole generation's collective musical DNA.
- Cleared our minds of the cobwebs of our past while blasting us out to the future through the back doors of our histories.
- Taught us how to stand up for what we new was good whether the music bidniz was ready for it yet or not.
- Put the real meaning of "time" back in music with an understanding of the past being just as important as the future.
- Brought out the best in a bunch of us.
- Oh and did I mention that he could pull some damn TONE out of a mando, and drive the pants out of a string band? Yeah, Baby!
70 years? Hell that 'ain't no part-a-nuthin.’
You've given us all some pretty sweet stuff to ponder in those few years.
The first time I ever played with David Grisman was in 1966. My brother Jerry and David were playing for Red Allen and the Kentuckians at the time. David wanted to do a show in Troy, New York and my brother Jerry told me he asked if I'd go and do the show with them, Jerry and David and myself and Winnie Winston on banjo. We went and played that show and I remember we had played a new tune that David had written. He hadn't been playing mandolin all that long but was already starting to write tunes. And from that time until now he must have written hundreds if not thousands of mandolin tunes and developed a style that if it hadn't been for his tunes a lot of musicians that play mandolin probably wouldn't have picked up the instrument. I think David had a lot to do with music in general as far as the popularity of the mandolin goes or that style music.
And we're still playing music to this day!
Happy Birthday, David!
I remember clearly the day a package arrived at our house in Pennsylvania. I was 15 or 16 years old and it had the Early Dawg record plus David's records to date included. It opened my mind to a whole different way of playing the mandolin. Before this I only heard Bluegrass mandolin, not Dawg music!
Eventually I had the opportunity to meet, play and travel with my hero. He always took the time to teach me and also gave me the desire to write my own tunes. At 21 years old he loaned me and eventually gave me the mandolin I still play to this day...my 1981 Gilchrist...ole Red!!
I can't begin to tell you the immense impact he has had on my life. Besides my father, he's the single most influential musician to me! I will always cherish his lessons in music and life and will pass them down throughout my life.
The mandolin's best friend, and I too am truly blessed to call him my friend!
Happy 70th Birthday "Uncle Dawg!!"
Mazel Tov on your 70th birthday, David. We met at a bluegrass festival in Vermont in 1975 but I saw you play with Earth Opera many years before at Bill Graham's Fillmore East (on the bill with the Sam & Dave Review and Mike Bloomfield & Al Kooper's Super Session). You were already showing the world that the mandolin could do anything and play anything, a message my buds and I took to heart. As a producer, film score composer, bandleader (the first DGQ album is clearly one of the best albums ever and it gave the rest of us something to shoot for), soloist, genre-bender, magazine publisher and teacher you did more than anyone to promote the little 8-string wonder that many of us have dedicated our lives to. Just like Monroe ran his band as a bluegrass college, your list of sidemen includes many of the best musicians of our time. Happy birthday & keep on picking. You inspire us all.
I'd like to send a very big HAPPY 70th BIRTHDAY out to my old friend, David Grisman.
He has always been a great inspiration and guiding light in my world of mandolin building since the beginning. I was so very fortunate to have met David when I did early on in my lutherie career.
Still today, his stylistic musical ideas are so magical, new and revolutionary, not to mention, having been a great influence in my rethinking of the instrument. Happily, the mandolin world is most definitely in a better place because of David and for that I thank him, and for opening that special door to keeping us all in a suspended state of Dawgmatism. More candles please!
Happy Birthday, Brother.
My pickin' friend's find back in seventy seven
Was a twelve-inch platter of acoustical heaven
To the photo shoot, banjo was apparently late
Just fiddle, bass, mandos, a D-28
There were two well-known names, and anticipation
Had spread far and wide in the mandolin nation
We slapped on that puppy and listened agog
To a newly formed band and its leader the Dawg
I studied that record and following discs
Inspiring precision and dangerous risks
Dawg found a place where Monroe met Coltrane
The world was now different, Grisman to blame
We could have predicted when first he was heard
As player, producer, reel to reel nerd
Union Grove convention prize winning picking
And recording Wake Frankfield in Red Allen's kitchen
Soon he teamed up with Spud Boy and Pete
And they hired on Vassar for the fiddler's seat
They made a live album on Owlesly's recorder
Record stores fought to keep up with the orders
A flick with Grappelli, soon after a tour
Projects with Tiny, Tony, Jethro and more
If you've got a Jones and Dawg barks you seek
You can hear him on Car Talk every week
I want to be clear in my next to last sentence
I love how his style has now boiled to its essence
Mostly though before this riff ends
I'll say that I love my old white bearded friend
Tim O'Brien, Andy Statman & Friends: EMD Tribute
To My Dear Friend David, On this special day!!!
I'd dearly love to be there on this special day for you and be a part of the celebration, but since I can't, my best wishes to you on the big 70 that’s soon to come your way. I always thought you were 13 years older than me but now I see how wrong a guy like me can be. Mandolin players think like that some times. I remember a saying I heard a famous General say one time and I thought you and me fit in that category. The General used the word soldiers, but I thought of you you and me in a different way — OLD MANDOLIN PLAYERS NEVER DIE, THEY JUST FADE AWAY. MacArthur was the General's name. I remember very well the first time we met David, that was many moons ago. I remember the words my brother said to you about that show you taped that night. It's my pleasure to have known you all these years my friend and I wish you many more special days to come. Enjoy them, They only come once each year.
Your Special Friend,
Ohhhh... I've got lots of Dawg stories I could tell... but I won't be able to even get started here. Just a great big HAPPY BIRTHDAY wish to DG. I will say though, this is the guy that set me on the road (40 years ago!!) that I am still on today. The heart, spirit, intensity, focus, vision, fearlessness, gumption, dawgedness, originality, creativity, skill and beauty of David and his work is something I have been very fortunate to have been around, feel, observe, experience and learn from.
Man... thanks David for all the good times, good music, good food, etc., etc. See you at the party.
Happy Birthday to Mr. Dawg! He was one of the first mandolin players I ever saw play live, back in the early seventies when he was performing with Old & in the Way. It was the first of many times I was lucky enough to see David perform. Being relatively new mandolin player he was such an inspiration to me, and he continues to be to this day! One thing I've always admired about David, besides his amazing musicianship, is how supportive he is of other mandolin players and how generous he is with sharing his musical discoveries; everyone from from Dave Apollon to Jacob do Bandolim. In 1984 David stopped by Paul's Saloon in San Francisco where I performed regularly. He told me Andy Statman was coming to town to record a duo project with him. I had never met Andy and casually said I would love to meet him. A few days later I got a call from David inviting me over to have lunch and spend the afternoon with them. It was an amazing opportunity to spend time with two of my main mandolin heroes. All the best on your birthday DG! Thanks again for all of the great music, inspiration, and friendship down through the years!
The New York Ramblers, 1965. L-R: Jody Stecher, Sandy Rothman, David Grisman, Fred Weisz, Winnie Winston. Jody's notes: normally we had Gene Lowinger playing fiddle but he was with Bill Monroe at this time. Sandy was in the band for this occasion, a set at the very first bluegrass festival. It was put on my Carlton Haney in September, 1965 at Cantrell's Horse Farm near Fincastle and Roanoke Virginia. Photo credit: Ron Petronko.
Happy Birthday Mr. Dawg.
I first met David when he came to Bluegrass at the Beach in Oregon to bring his son Sam, (age 8) to study Bass. He quickly became a friend to B@B with his generosity and playfulness. This was where he met his wife, Tracy, fell in love and found a stout life partner. David's generosity is immeasurable sharing his music and knowledge.
David remains a young pup, always, and appreciates the sentiments sent his way by his fans staying after shows to meet and greet the last of them. I first saw David at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco in the 70s and he still gets that musical grin on his face. I see it in his eyes when he is getting a kick out of playing music with others. So 70 does not seem that big of a deal to someone like David, only a good excuse to do what he loves, making music with his friends. To that I wish you a Happy Birthday David and look forward to the next 20 years together.
Stephen Ruffo, the Mandolin Symposium
David, you have been one of the biggest blessings in my life. You made it all possible. Not only for me, but for countless others. Wishing you continued health, happiness, and only good. Love, Andy.
Everyone knows or should know that David Grisman has done more for the mandolin and mandolinists than just about anyone. He also has demonstrated that a musician can master a received musical form and tradition, make lasting contributions to that music, even one to which he was not born into — though surely Born To Play It — and also create new forms and musics, and that there is no contradiction in this. He has also been an example and inspiration to those who have wished to take creative original steps in technique, composing, or the business of music, and were unsure how to proceed. David's example here is that one does by doing. What many may not know is that David, in his success, has never forgotten his old friends, and has also been steadfast in his accessibility to fans and approachability to anyone who wants to talk mandolin. I have seen him take a similar approach with mandolins. Examining my wife's simple old Bruno mandolin many decades ago, he said "Mmmm, this is great! Hey man, you know, they’re ALL great." David loves mandolins. More than you do. It might be as simple as that.
Happy 70th, David. I’ll see you at your party. I’ve got '41 Fern F-4 to show you!
your old friend,
David Grisman’s influence on me has been very profound. When I was first starting to take mandolin lessons, I went into a record store and bought the Bill Monroe Instrumentals album and the original David Grisman Quintet album on the same day. I listened to the Monroe album and heard all of the great tunes that everyone would jam on and was totally inspired to dig into these tunes.
Later on I put on the Quintet album and it didn’t leave the turntable for months… I was completely floored. David has always been SO very gracious and helpful whenever I’ve been able to be around him, and he’s one of the most helpful and encouraging people in the music business to those that are trying to learn. He’s a giving and kind man that loves the mandolin and making music. I have benefited beyond words from his recordings and cherish every moment I’ve been able to spend with him. Happy Birthday Dawg!!!
Happy Birthday Mr. Dawg!
David Grisman is:
A GENEROUS SPIRIT
I've seen him hand his valuable instrument to fellow players, even small children, saying "hey, wanna try this one?" He's always willing to share his knowledge, expertise, and the spotlight.
THE GREATEST CHAMPION of the MANDOLIN
Here I don't mean champion in the competitive sense, but rather one who promotes, advances, advocates for. Producing records of essential mandolinists (all styles), founding Mandolin World News, The Mandolin Symposium, Acoustic Disc, Acoustic Oasis, and The David Grisman Quintet are just some of the ways David has put the capabilities of the mandolin on display and indeed re-popularized the instrument and the styles of music associated with it.
A PROLIFIC COMPOSER
A DG show is a bit like a Merle Haggard or Stevie Wonder show — great tune after great tune, each one followed by a realization along the lines of OMG! He wrote THAT one too!
A POWERFUL SOUND and a FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH
David has changed the way all of us think about sound and tone production on the mandolin. Is it the mandolin? The pick? Strings? Guess what? It's him. The sound comes from his heart. I've been lucky enough to stand next to him and play on stage and I can tell you there is a palpable energy there. He plays the band as he does the mandolin, driving the bus (so to speak) but always with that generous spirit.
THE HARDEST WORKING MAN in SHOW BUSINESS
How many people can you think of who: made all those records? wrote all those tunes? played all those shows? For more than 50 years?
I was lucky to get to know David a lot of years ago. He's been so great to me through the years that it's difficult to talk about, let alone thank him for. Whenever he plays a show in Chicago he has me up to sit in with his band. A couple recent experiences tell a bit about him. There was one where I didn't bring a mandolin because I was getting on a plane the next morning and was planning to just say hi, hear a tune, and go back to the house. Dawg says "Hey man, you brought your axe right?" When I told him no he said "That's OK I've got two. You'll use this one. What do you want to play?" Another time backstage the host from the club walked in and said "Mr. Grisman, one of the writers from The Chicago Tribune just called, he's on his way to review the show." David says "Tell him to write about Donnie. He's from here, people need to know about him. They already know about me."
I've learned so much from David, things about mandolins, tunes, recording, performing, being graceful. His support and kind words of encouragement have inspired me to keep trying to do what I do.
SO! The list of "David Grisman is..." could go on and on: mentor, hero, great performer, historian,collector, archivist, great and ever-evolving mandolin virtuoso, and more. Amazing to think that this list is describing just one person! I always put "Mr." before his name in attempt to ramp up the respect and honorific status.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. DAWG!
I first heard David's quintet in the late 80's on WBGO jazz radio. I became an instant fan. I grew up in traditional jazz listening to Django, Charlie Christian, George Barnes, Bucky, Louis, etc... Hearing a drummerless quintet with such a strong Django like rhythm mandolin and bebop style lines being played together with mandolin, guitar and violin just floored me. Like nothing I had heard before. David Grisman changed the game fusing bluegrass and jazz together in one honest sounding and extremely exciting acoustic quintet.
Getting the chance to befriend David, play shows and most of all sitting around the kitchen table jamming song after song is some of the most fun I have ever had playing music.
Thank you Mr. Dawg!
David Grisman playing banjo in Washington Square (New York City) circa 1968. Photo by Artie Rose.
Happy 70th birthday to the man who changed so many of our lives, the one who's tone rings in our ears as the standard to aspire to, the explorer who went off into new territories and inspired us to follow, the tune-writer, the mandolin booster and community organizer, the teacher, mentor, and long shadow-caster. Thanks, David, over and over again, thanks: for creating that sound that, once heard, disrupted all of my plans that didn't involve the mandolin, for showing why tremelo is worth fighting for, for bringing the mandolin world together, and most of all for making so much exceptionally great music. Where would we be without you?
I was introduced to Dawg World in 1976 when I attended an afternoon concert by the DGQ in a little Unitarian church in Berkeley. I had been off in my own little corner writing very non-traditional mandolin music and had no idea who these guys were, but friends were insisting I see them. I was absolutely blown away, not just by David, but by his entire band. Darol Anger, Todd Phillips and Tony Rice were incredible and the band was a clean machine, alternating between intricate arranged passages and full-throttle improvisation in tunes packed with rhythmic playfulness and lovely melodies. I definitely had some work to do!
I went up afterwards and introduced myself to David, told him I was writing for the mandolin, and asked if he'd be willing to give me lessons. Amazingly, he replied, "I don't know about lessons, man. Why don't you just come by the house sometime and we'll hang out."
During the first of my many visits to David's Mt. Tamalpais home, I played him some rough recordings of my tunes. Afterwards, he asked, "How much of this shit do you have?" Well, long story short, David hooked me up with Kaleidoscope Records, a private label in El Cerrito, California, and in 1979 we made the first Tim Ware Group LP. David, Darol and Mike Marshall lent their prowess to my mandolin quartet Spiral Moons.
I'll be eternally grateful for the support David provided me in those early years. I doubt I would have had the minor success I had without his assistance. He was, and is, easily the mandolin's greatest friend — a tireless promoter, fan, and scholar of the mandolin. Now an Elder Statesman of bluegrass and new acoustic music and, like Miles Davis and other great bandleaders before him, continues to nurture and inspire.
David you Dawg. Truly you have made the world of music a better place.
Since I first heard you, at a college hootenanny in '63 with the Garrett Mt. Boys, you led the way for city boys to take their place in the world of bluegrass and string band music. You played, you composed, you recorded, you coordinated, you helped Ralph Rinzler. You and I connected around recording opportunities at the studios of WKCR where I did the bluegrass show, and we could use their nice Ampex 15ips tape machines. You brought the borrowed Nagra up to Ralph's 5th floor walkup and recorded my show live with Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys... still a hallowed moment of my life, April 1966. You made that happen.
You were the first person I knew to write a tune that a band performed. Cedar Hill was a breakthrough, and paved the way for a tide of originality to flow. But that creativity also had a visionary, focused bandleader. It doesn't hurt to be Mr. Tone, a deep student, and a zesty showman. And persistent! Dogged, you might say. And ... you have heart. You have brought together some of the best, and made musical magic. For decades!
Seventy years and rolling on. Go Dawg go! And thank you.
David Grisman... wow! What a flood of memories: back to the mid-sixties, when the blazing young New York Rambler blew everyone's mind at Union Grove, NC, with jaw-dropping renditions of Raw Hide and John Henry; the mid 70s when Tony Rice told me he was heading out to California to play with the best mandolin player he had ever heard; the late 70s when I landed on his doorstep in Mill Valley and he took me in like a long-lost cousin. I recall the time he set up an audition over his telephone which landed me a job playing mandolin in the Richard Greene Band; the DGQ's first trip to Chapel Hill when I borrowed my Dad's station wagon to drive the band into town and we jammed until daybreak after the concert; that first trip to Telluride where the music soared to altitudes yet unheard; the countless audio and video cassettes that would show up in the mail with names like Apollon and Gioviale written on the labels; that night in Santa Rosa when my rental car could barely make it through the fog; the night we worked out a trio on Rawhide with a teen-aged Chris Thile minutes before we took it on-stage to a sold-out house; the back-road drive from Charlotte to Durham in a convertible with Dawg playing his Loar H-5 and me on my '27 fern the whole way; the visit to an aged Harry West... So many memories... so many amazing nights when he would call me on-stage to play with him, and every time a new level of excitement, enthusiasm and joy. A big THANK YOU to Dawg, for all the music, all the mandolins, all the lore, all the introductions, all the opportunities, and most of all, the incredible friendship he has always shown me over the years. Happy Birthday, Dawg, I raise my glass to you this day, and am looking forward to our next jam... may it be soon!
Thank you for your kind support in my early years in this country and our friendship! You have a been and remain an ongoing inspiration to me, both in mandolin music and in various aspects of musician's life.
It is great to see you maintaining a busy touring schedule and a variety of studio projects, and your playing is better than ever! Thank you for doing so much for our beloved little instrument, you are a great example for us all!
Here is a toast to your Happy Birthday and many more to come!
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[FONT=Impact][SIZE=3]Congrats DAWG! We, Brazilian fans, wish you many blessings and prosperity, with much health and happiness, and especially, want you to keep touching our hearts with your outstanding talent for more 70 years![/SIZE] [/FONT]
My personal connections to the man other than through the music are rather limited. The last couple of holiday seasons I have been fortunate enough to have done some jamming and even shared a couple of gigs with Andy Reiner, who is a good friend and former roommate of Sam Grisman. A tenuous connection, to be sure, which pales in comparison to others, but I'm grateful for it. I did meet Dawg once, in the performers' area at Winterhawk (now Grey Fox), one year while I was there as a member of the press. One evening at dinner time a few musicians were jamming just to the side of the picnic tables, and I wandered over because it sounded pretty good. I was astonished t see David Grisman in the group, playing absolutely brilliantly (of course), but not overwhelming the other pickers. He was good-naturedly chopping while others took their turns, taking his turn when it came up, then going back to a supporting role, all the while beaming a mischievous grin. Typical jamming etiquette, practiced perfectly by someone who probably could have blown everyone away, but knew how best to proceed so everyone could enjoy themselves. A perfect example of how it's done. I wish I'd had my mandolin with me!
I have just one other story worth telling - not that mine is on the same level as those above, nor surely to follow, but it may be entertaining. I posted this recently on a thread about "Old And In The Way," and this is how I came to hear the first DGQ album. In the winter of 1977-1978 I was living in Berkeley, and went to see the Jerry Garcia Band for the first and only time at some small club. They took a long time to come out for the first set and then took a long break between sets. During the down time the sound guy played the first David Grisman Quintet album - just-released - and with all that time, I got to hear it all the way through nearly twice. I had never heard it before, though I must have read about it somewhere, because I knew what it was. I liked the JGB alright - some of it seemed a bit lopey and loopy, and overall not as adventurous as Grateful Dead - but that Dawg music took me for a ride and really stuck with me. I was well aware of Grisman from his two songs on "American Beauty" and the OAITW album, but this was a whole 'nuther sum'thin' that wasn't no part of nothin' else I'd ever heard before. It really opened my mind to the possibilities of the mandolin.
And I'll just add in closing I'm grateful for all Dawg has dome with and for the mandolin ever since. I still pay tribute to him nearly every time I play with my current band, The Love Lane Gang, as we do "Minor Swing," which I learned from him all those years ago. My first band, Tin Can Alley, started up just a year or so after that fateful night in Berkeley, did it too, and also "EMD" - though we certainly didn't do it with the savoir faire and panache of the DGQ. Well, really, whoever could? That was an extraordinary band, befitting the extraordinary talents of its leader.
Thank you, David Grisman. for your gifts of music and mandolin consciousness. Happy Birthday, and many, many more.
journeybear aka Steve Gibson
[SIZE=1](apologies to Mel Brooks)[/SIZE]
Seriously Dave, you've managed to unlock a whole new potential for this wonderful but often under rated instrument and expanded it's appeal across a much wider audience. That is some accomplishment.
Thanks for the wonderful music that has made all of our lives richer.
I've been listening to The Living Room Sessions in the car a lot lately. Effortless playing, beautiful tone, great swinging music.
Have a great day and thanks for all you have done.
This ol' mandolin's been good to me, it got me out of Tennessee (New Jersey? )
I've gone from rags to riches many times
Just a pickin' and a grinnin'... even done a little sinnin'
I've made big money, I've played for nickels and for dimes
And when I put it in the case, and head for my last resting place
Here's what I want my epitaph to say:
"Well, he wasn't funny, and he couldn't sing.
He didn't prove a doggone thing.
But, boy, that SOB could really play!"
Love you Dawg, all the best!
All the best,
A few years later, when I was gigging full-time and looking for a top-quality mandolin, I ordered a new Monteleone partly because I wanted something different than a Gibson, but also because Grisman played one. I took Monteleone's letterhead to a t-shirt vendor friend and had a handful of t-shirts made with his logo on it, and sent one to Monteleone. When I visited John in his shop on Long Island, he said he had given the shirt away – to David Grisman.
Soon after, back in Chapel Hill, the DGQ were to play a double bill with the John Ethridge Trio, featuring Martin Taylor and Stephane Grappelli, and I wore my Monteleone t-shirt to the show. A roadie saw it and invited me backstage, where I got to hang with some of the greatest pickers on the planet: Grisman, Grappelli, Taylor, Marshall, Anger, O'Connor, Ethridge on a night I still vividly remember 30 years later.
From his many seminal recordings and unforgettable performances, to Mandolin World News – still the greatest mandolin resource ever published (charter subscriber here, got every issue), to his consistent championing of young talent and obscure old masters, is there anyone since Bill Monroe who has done more for the mandolin?
By now, I've gotten to know Darol Anger and Mike Marshall much better from their numerous appearances on staff at the Swannanoa Gathering, and I keep hoping that I could coax the Dawg east some summer, but even if it never happens, his influence continues to be felt in much of my musical life and in the Gathering's programming.
Thanks, David, for all you've done for me, for the world of acoustic music, and for the wonderful little instrument we all love.
How many dawg years is 70?
Happy Birthday David!
- the awareness of people like Oscar Aleman, Svend Asmussen, Dave Apollon, Tiny Moore. Speaking for myself, I never would have heard of these musicians without you
- 9th chords on the mandolin
- The tunes
A few years back I posted an ad in the classifieds here for late 20s mandocello. Among all the replies was one signed Dawg. I thought someone was having some fun with me so I wrote back asking, "Are you really THE Dawg?" and he replied, "Yes, I'm afraid so Don" and it was signed David Dawg Grisman. Easiest sale I ever made and his check had pictures of dogs on it too. I still smile when I think about that.
I feel I owe you many happy returns. Be safe, be well, be blessed.
Thanks for your genre bending playing, and bringing that mandolin into so many of our lives. You're awesome.
I have benefited from and been inspired by your playing. Two Soldiers was the first tune I learned on the mandolin. I was able to get to the Symposium in 2005 and 2006, and I credit those weeks of instruction as the catalysts that made me a proper musician.
Thank you very much!
I probably wouldn't play this wonderful instrument if it wasn't for your inspiration.
All the best
Needless to say, it blew my mind. I went up to the foot of the stage. Watching him shake his head from side to side as he furiously coaxed an undulating groove out of that little instrument, all I could think was, "I've got to have one of those!"
Thank you Dawg for what will be a lifetime of enjoyment.
However, you probably do owe my wife an apology for all those Calton cases she is constantly tripping over.
Thank you for joy you've brought all of us in this mandolin journey. I've only seen you once, at Big Mountain Ski Resort in Montana, but I've listened to your music almost everyday.
Happy Birthday!!! And Many More!!
Great Tim O tribute above!
Beavis: "yeah! he's a dog... henh-henh... and he doesn't suck... hehn- hehn!"
Grisman's mood suddenly changed to a bit angry and he replied, "That #$#!@$$%#%, he owes me $5000 bucks and hasn't paid it back..." and he launched into a little rant about Jerry Garcia. Wasn't quite what we expected. But once he vented a bit then we talked a little mandolin music.
I am so thankful for everything he has done and every note he has played. Long live the Dawg!
For us, it all started decades ago with Rudy Cipolla, and way before that, with your youthful love for playing at Italian weddings! It's good to know that you've got the rootsy thing going on and that you've shared so much of it with all of us. Thank you for your lifetime of devotion to the mandolin, and your profound appreciation for the repertoire by giving it your own special flourish.
Best to you and Tracy,
from that Sicilian girl, Sheri Mignano Crawford
*photo from Rudy tribute--with the best of the best. Thank you for inviting me to play on the stage.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY David Grisman! And many happy returns of the day.
It was in the mid 80ies when I got turned on to your music by my jazz loving cousin. It was Acousticity (out of print?). That was before I had even started to play guitar (had not even thought about playing the mandolin). I've come a long way and David Grisman's music has been a trusted companion. From Muleskinner, Old & In The Way, via the original David Grisman Quintet record, Dawg Grass/Dawg Jazz to beautiful chamber music like Tone Poems, Tone Poets, Traversata (Beppe Gambetta & Carlo Aonzo), it's been all good.
It has always amazed me how some people act as catalysts. You have yourself to be one over and over again. How your path crossed early on with Sam Bush, Jody Stecher, Andy Statman, and Ralph Rinzer is amazing enough, but you also passed by a very young Don Stiernberg on the way to a lesson with Jethro. You were able to see what Mike Marshall had to offer when he showed up from Florida. You gave Ronnie McCoury his instrumental voice. The list goes on and on.
You have a truly significant effect on acoustic music even beyond the amazing music that you yourself have played. And thanks for that can not be expressed in words.
See you in June.
The Dawg has taken us all to new places and spawned generations of musicians to push their boundaries to their greatest abilities and to discover and develop their own original voices in acoustic music and beyond.
The Hard Road Trio
Tim May and Steve Smith
I remember to this day when I first heard Dawg Music. It was in the early summer of 1979, and I had just turned 22 years old and finished college. I was moving from the Missouri Ozarks, where I grew up, to Seattle. On the multi-week road trip there, a high school friend of mine turned me on to "Hot Dawg" and my life (musical and otherwise) was never the same after that introduction. I was a fan of bluegrass and roots rock (the Dead, Allman Bros, etc) but at that point I'd never really gotten into jazz or Latin music; certainly not swing or bossa. Thanks to that introduction I got to know the music of Django, Stephane, Jobim, Mike Marshall, Darol Anger, Mark O'Connor, Jethro Burns and eventually Jacob do Bandolim, Chris Thile, Don Stiernberg, many of the jazz greats and so many, many more. I got a mandolin, and then a second mandolin, and then an octave mandolin, and yet another mandolin (a slippery slope as we know!) and playing mando and continuing to learn about music is now one of my primary activities.
Thanks again and Happy Birthday! David in Seattle
I'm forever grateful for you awesome contribution to the music world. One day I hope to make it out to Santa Cruz for the Symposium.
Peace and the very best wishes to you Dawg!
Meeting you was the single biggest highlight for me last year when I attended the Mandolin Symposium for the first time. You are just such an open, jovial, and knowledgeable person who always have time for everyone, and eager to talk shop. You even passed around Crusher to all of us in your ensemble to pick on. Looking around the room, I know that was a day few of us would ever forget. Thanks for sharing your talent, your music and your passion with all of us.
In appreciation of your mandolin music, scholarship, teaching and advocacy for MAS- Best birthday wishes!
From me, and all my mandolin family instruments,
From the first time I dropped my pizza slice on my lap hearing the elegant tones of Hot Dawg in 1977 in Kalamazoo to the present when I am still in awe over your Acoustic Disc sonic refuge, you have always been our champion of tone, history and the future. The mandolin owes you a big birthday thanks. Doug in Vermont
All the best, Brad
PS And, 'well done' Scott T. A great tribute to a great player.
Happy 70th birthday!
There are musicians that work within a framework of a certain genre of music, and then there are artist that amalgamate everything they have heard to create an entirely new music. You, my friend are that kind of musical genius!
I first heard of you from Red Allen and his boys, Harley and Neal. You had produced a landmark album on Folkways Records, "Red Allen, Frank Wakefield and the Kentuckians", you were well respected and it was great!
Every time I heard your work I was inspired!
David, you have been so gracious, and incouraging to so many young, aspiring mandolin players though the years, including me! One of my favorite memories was hanging out with you and the Quintet at the Rainbow Music Hall, playing "Stompin' At Decca" on your Fern for Stephane Grappelli!
Thanks for your example of excellence in creating new music while honoring the old masters and traditions and at the same time, bringing in a new generation of fans for acoustic music!
I love you Dawg!
Getting to play music with you in the new David Grisman Sextet is the highest honor a guitar picker could ever have. Playing Dawg music whether on a stage, hotel room or around a dining room table is the most fun i have ever had playing music!
Sheila, Val and myself treasure our time with you and look forward to much more!
Happy Birthday with love from all of us,
Thanks for inspiring me to keep working to get better - and for supplying me with so many ideas to mine, copy, and try to make my own! The end of your first pass through I Am A Pilgrim (from Tone Poems), Dawggy Mtn Breakdown, that little bit of Beethovan you did on an album from the 80s (makes an awesome intro to Raw Hide), and your last pass through Kentucky Waltz with Doc, or better yet, the entirety of Doc and Dawg. I wish you the best of health and continued pickin'!
One was on your solo on Temperance Reel, Tony Rice Rounder LP. When it goes to the Em on the 2nd half of the B part, the move to a brief A note on the E string just killed me. Did then, does now.
Off the same record, the kick to Don't Fall In Love With Me, Darlin'...
And the solo on Kissimmee Kid off OAITW, also the solo to Knockin' On Your Door
And the passage before the Bb on Opus 57 on the first Quintet record.
And the solo after the head on Janice from Hot Dawg...and the twin on the head throughout.
Reading over the other comments, longer and shorter, I wanted to add about being at the Mandolin Symposium for
many of the 12 times, and when John Reischman was there (during Bill Monroe's 100th birthday year) he and David played
"the North Shore" by John, and it was really amazing! Both mandolinists played with such feeling.