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    by Published on Nov-10-2020 8:00am  Views: 2843 
    Adrian Gross

    The first time I talked to Adrian Gross was in the fresh fruit department of my local supermarket. I spotted the young man carrying an A-style mandolin case, so naturally, had to approach. Little did I suspect he would soon be the phenomenal mandolin player for Canada's best known and probably most successful touring bluegrass band ever, The Slocan Ramblers. The band has released three albums and recently won the IBMA Momentum Award for Band of the Year.

    A native of Montreal, Adrian moved to Toronto when he entered the Humber College jazz program as a guitar major. As a kid, Adrian fell in love with the sound of gypsy jazz after seeing the Woody Allen Movie Sweet and Lowdown (he thought the fictional film was about a real musician). Adrian is a highly versatile player and jazz is still an important part of his musical life but these days he rarely ...
    by Published on Aug-18-2020 7:00am  Views: 3394 
    Daniel Patrick of Mandolins and Beer

    The date was August 17, 2019 and a new podcast we'd been hearing about had launched. Mandolins and Beer, previously Daniel Patrick's ambitious "Lick of the Day" postings, took a break and shifted gears when David Benedict of Mandolin Mondays and Mile Twelve Bluegrass band appeared as Daniel's first audio interview guest. We were hooked.

    A year later with 54 episodes under his belt it's Daniel's turn in the spotlight. With luminaries like Andrew Marlin of Mandolin Orange, Caterina Lichtenberg, Doyle Lawson, Adam Steffey, Sierra Hull and so many more, the queue to be a guest on Daniel's podcast has grown, and for good reason. Whether your musical interests are bluegrass, jazz, classical, Irish and all things progressive, or traditional, it's hard to beat the enthusiasm, inspiration and plain joy ...
    by Published on Aug-11-2020 7:00am  Views: 4457 
    Dominick Leslie

    Hawktail mandolinist has a number of new releases out now.

    Dominick Leslie may not be mandolin's best kept secret, but his hardcore fans can't help but muse on why he's not better known — yet.

    That may be about to change. Despite the musical mayhem wrought by the current viral crisis — from cancelled tours to shuttered venues — Leslie has been busily building his profile with a number of new releases, including Hawktail's remarkable sophomore effort Formations, which landed in January.
    by Published on Aug-04-2020 7:00am  Views: 4343 
    Fiddler's Green Music Shop

    In the midst of 2020's pandemic the story of one music store stuck out with plenty of sadness, but also one of hope and a positive message. It was a story needing told.

    Fiddler's Green Music shop, formerly of Austin was recently purchased by long-time employee Ben Hodges. Ben and his family toiled hard over the years to find a way to fulfill their dream of owning the store. From this point forward, the story is best told in his own words.

    We wish Ben well going forward and hope you'll enjoy photos of the new store ...
    by Published on Jun-30-2020 7:00am  Views: 7730 
    Caterina Lichtenberg - Solo

    Caterina Lichtenberg's newest project, aptly entitled Solo, comes at a time we can all use some joy and a breath of fresh air. This brilliant collection — some familiar, some new — is a pure delight. Her interpretations and approach to these wonderful compositions remind us how a true master can take music to a new level and beyond. It's with pleasure that we're able to help spread the word about this new recording. Get it. Listen. Then listen again and again. You won't be disappointed.

    Scott Tichenor
    Mandolin Cafe
    by Published on Jun-03-2020 7:00am  Views: 3457 
    Nate Lee

    Exclusive first-listen to "Wonderbat," from Nate Lee's Wings of a Jetliner.
    by Published on May-26-2020 7:00am  Views: 4598 
    Lady Moon - Eva Holbrook

    A reprint from the Weber Mandolin blog published May 3, 2020, authored by Michael Eck.

    Lady Moon with her Weber sopranino.

    On November 27, 1970, British folk rock paragons Pentangle released their fourth album, Cruel Sister. The title track, a haunting meditation on an ancient Northumbrian murder ballad, was tinged with sitar from fingerstyle master John Renbourn and graced with a mournful, exquisitely detached vocal from London chanteuse Jacqui McShee.

    Fifty years later, on March 24, 2020, Lady Moon posted a YouTube performance of the song, funneling history down through the ages, and, directly inspired by McShee and company, through the decades.

    In the mesmerizing clip, Lady Moon begins, too, with fingerpicking, a hypnotic pattern underpinning her own equally haunting meditation. She's playing a 22"-scale mahogany-backed Weber Bitterroot octave mandolin, and when she digs in with the pick, the rendition begins to take on a certain thunder. At the midpoint, it just explodes, with notes and double stops pouring out of the instrument in a flurry worthy of Pentangle's late Bert Jansch or his brilliant contemporary ...
    by Published on May-12-2020 7:30am  Views: 4348 
    Kym Warner

    It's been an unusual spring in central Texas. The bluebonnets came early and the clubs closed down. Mandolinist Kym Warner has had time to contemplate, in the literal and figurative senses of that phrase — meaning he's had the hours to fill and the opportunity to think.

    Between work with Robert Earl Keen's touring band and a full plate of local bluegrass pickup gigs, the Australian expatriate was looking at a packed calendar. Instead, he's hunkered down in Austin with his wife, Greencards co-founder Carol Young, and their dog, Bentley. As Warner noted in a recent Mandolin Cafe roundup of musicians sharing their pandemic experiences—he's kept busy by writing originals, arranging covers, sussing out gear and doing some remote recording.
    by Published on Apr-28-2020 6:00am  Views: 8336 
    Cathy Pelosi and Tom Ellis

    While musicians saw summer tours, gigs and teaching opportunities at camps and workshops go by the wayside during the Cornavirus Pandemic, retailers and builders fared no better. Forced to close shop or operate with limited capacity — though some may soon re-open on a limited basis — the damage continues.

    We asked a group of prominent retailers and builders from across the U.S. (large and small) to weigh in and share their perspective.

    This is their story.
    by Published on Apr-21-2020 7:30am  Views: 8361 
    Andy Statman

    For now, gone are the crowds, the flights, the bus rides, the sound checks, nightly meet and greets with fans, appearances at mandolin camps, catching up with family and friends between travel and the next gig and more.

    We contacted a number of mandolin players that have made this work their calling and asked them to weigh in on how they're dealing with life during these unprecedented times. One, Andy Statman, is recovering along with his wife after both contracted the Coronavirus in late March.

    The experiences and changes vary widely, and serve as a reminder that the journey will be different for each of us.

    We thought it important to hear directly from the artists in their own words in a world where no one has been spared a major change. Next week we hope to do a similar report from a group of retailers and builders.

    This is their story.
    by Published on Mar-10-2020 7:00am  Views: 45512 
    Article Preview

    Don and Sam Bush with Jethro's famed red Gibson mandolin. Photo courtesy Ronnie McCoury.

    Don Stiernberg

    I owe an awful lot to Jethro Burns. Everything I've done professionally in my life was either taught to me by or inspired by him. Certainly, when playing, performing and teaching I'm still trying to follow his example. He also shared generously in the realm we might call "world view," realistic guidance on what to expect, how to interact with others, the pursuit of one's own identity and self confidence. He was as much a genius in those areas as he was with music. As Mr. Dawg once said, "he taught us all what to and what not to take seriously." How does one thank a guy like that? I'm not sure we can.
    by Published on Mar-10-2020 6:59am  Views: 7343 
    Jethro Burns

    Photo credit: E.J. Stiernberg

    Jethro Burns' 100th birthday was approaching and it was clear the Mandolin Cafe would pay tribute to the master who deeply influenced so many. Help was needed to make sure it came off right. Who we'd ask for assistance included but one name: Don Stiernberg. One-time student, fellow gig companion, recorded with and helped preserve Jethro's legacy with several of his last recordings, life-long friend and confidant. Don was with Jethro to the end, and understands Jethro on another level.

    Heartfelt remembrances from legendary musicians moved by the memory of Jethro rolled in. After this article featuring original music and a conversation between David Grisman and Don Stiernberg, a biography of Jethro (also by Don) appears prior to links to a Part 2, accessed just below and at the bottom of this article. What a list of contributors!

    Thanks for help making this happen, Don. This could not have happened without you. Here's to the next 100 years of listening to Jethro's magic.
    by Published on Mar-03-2020 8:00am  Views: 6960 
    Sierra Hull in Concert at Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago

    CHICAGO, ILL. - Sierra Hull performed at the Old Town School of Folk Music, near Lincoln Square in Chicago last Thursday. Joining her onstage are Mike Seal on guitar, Geoff Saunders on bass, Christian Sedelmyer on fiddle, and drummer Mark Raudabaugh Jr., a new addition to the band.

    The stage is set with lanterns in the background and a richly patterned carpet for those watching from the balcony. Front and center are an array of instruments Sierra plays throughout the night with exactly the kind of easy confidence you would expect from someone who debuted on the Grand Ole Opry at the age of 10. A musician as prolific as Sierra Hull doesn't need much introduction.

    With her new album 25 Trips out on the ...
    by Published on Jan-25-2020 12:15pm  Views: 5895 
    Photo Shoot: Po' Ramblin' Boys in Calgary, Canada

    Foothills Bluegrass Music Society presents Grammy nominee The Po' Ramblin' Boys in concert.

    CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADA — Decked out in signature rhinestone bow ties, the Po' Ramblin' Boys sold out a normally quiet venue in Calgary, Alberta this past Thursday evening. The Irish Cultural Center had a full house of several hundred concert-goers of plaid shirts, rockabilly grandmas, and a decent amount of younger bluegrass fans. There are Celtic knots on the walls and half the audience is drinking a tall Guinness.

    This marks the second trip to Canada ...
    by Published on Oct-28-2019 6:20am  Views: 6960 
    David Benedict - Mandolin Mondays

    Around the time of Mandolin Mondays Episode #150 we asked host David Benedict if he'd be the musical subject of Episode #200 to be paired with a feature interview to update us on his career.

    And here we are!

    Our thanks to David for creating and caring for this series that exposes us to so many talented mandolin players we all enjoy, and allowing us the honor of hosting and helping promote the wide variety of musicians from all over the planet that have appeared as guests.

    Want to join us in extending a thanks to David for his efforts? There's a great way and it benefits you as well, but you'll need to hurry! When we publish this there will be two days left on his Kickstarter project where he's raising funds to support a transcription book for his marvelous solo ...
    by Published on Oct-08-2019 7:45am  Views: 11662 
    R.L. Givens

    An interview with legendary builder Bob Givens published over 40 years once again comes to light.

    In order to understand the origins on this interview with R.L. "Bob" Givens it's necessary to take a step back into another time.

    A long defunct and now relatively obscure music catalog of the time, The Guitars Friend (no apostrophe), in publication between 1973 - 1983, was created by Laurence "Laury" Ostrow, an acquaintance of and seller of Givens' instruments. As part of the content of The Guitars Friend series Ostrow produced and published a short but meaningful interview with Givens, whose work is still highly respected. He preceded most of today's modern mandolin builders in turning out true world class A and ...
    by Published on Oct-01-2019 7:15am  Views: 24651 
    Dennis Vance

    Dennis Vance is seated at his desk amid a sea of mandolins on a brutally hot, 110 degree summer day at The Mandolin Store in Surprise, Ariz. assisting a customer by phone.

    The store is small enough that a private conversation is out of the question so it's easy to listen and sense most end with the caller feeling like they made a friend, comments I've seen mirrored online more than a few times. Many of Vance's customers not only bought their first mandolin here, but their second, third and more, and few calls end without Vance tilting his head back for a proper belly laugh.

    If you get the idea he enjoys running The Mandolin Store, you'd be correct.
    by Published on Sep-03-2019 8:00am  Views: 11540 
    Fiddling with Mandolin on Aaron Weinstein's Chesky Jazz Debut 3x3

    Joe Venuti.

    "That was it," says 34-year-old jazzman Aaron Weinstein.

    An Illinois native, Weinstein had been playing old time fiddle since he was in short pants, learning licks and tunes from Old Town School of Folk Music mainstay Paul Tyler and Missouri master Charlie Walden among others.

    But then, at age 13, Weinstein heard Venuti, the undisputed father of jazz violin, playing "Sweet Georgia Brown" on a cassette tape found in his parents' bureau drawer.

    "When I first heard a recording of Joe," he beams, "that really was it. It was the first jazz I'd heard, and it happened to be a violin, and it happened to be Joe Venuti playing that violin."
    by Published on Jun-04-2019 8:00am  Views: 16589 
    Lauren Price

    Photo credit: John Flavell

    Somewhere in a corner of heaven, in a humble spot that recalls the crisp morning air of Rosine, Kentucky, Bill Monroe sits smiling. He's looking down on Lauren Price, knowing his legacy is not only safe, but still alive and kicking.

    The mandolin is in flux at the moment, with many young players bucking — sometimes gently, sometimes not — against what came before, basing their styles on a post-Newgrass world and finding inspiration from rule breakers like Chris Thile and Sierra Hull.

    Price is not one of them. At age 24, she may belong to the future, but she has one eye and a solid right hand turned distinctly towards the past.
    by Published on May-21-2019 7:15am  Views: 12899 
    Dan Beimborn

    CJ Lewandowski is back again, to tell us the story behind his Gibson F5 #85202. The set-up and prep work included 2 luthiers, parts from several community members, and even a visit to a chiropractor! You can hear all the particulars he's gone through to get this great piece of history ship-shape and stage-ready. In the latter half of the video you can hear the results for yourself as he plays some licks on this barking bluegrass cannon that has been nicknamed "The ...
    by Published on May-14-2019 8:00am  Views: 15827 
    Monroe Mandolin Camp

    Monroe Mandolin Camp convenes September 18-22 at the DuBose Conference Center in Monteagle, Tenn. with Mike Compton at the helm.

    The videos presented here by D'Addario and Mandolin Cafe, both camp sponsors, have Mike breaking down the style and talking about right- and left-hand techniques using the tune "Methodist Preacher."

    Acting as preservationists for the innovative, original and groundbreaking music as created by Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys, who were every bit active co-collaborators in the creation of this music, Monroe Mandolin Camp offers ...
    by Published on Apr-30-2019 8:00am  Views: 15788 
    Article Preview

    Over the last few weeks, Darryl Wolfe and I have both been having some great conversations with mandolinist C.J. Lewandowski from the band Po' Ramblin' Boys. C.J. recently acquired a vintage Gibson Fern F5 a lot of Cafe members would enjoy hearing about.

    About the author: Dan Beimborn is the host of the Mandolin Archive and Chief Linux mommy for the Mandolin Cafe's dedicated web server. He ...

    by Published on Mar-26-2019 10:00am  Views: 13413 
    Jacob Jolliff

    Photo credit: J. Scott Shrader.

    Ten minutes a day. Every day.

    That's all Jacob Jolliff's father asked.

    But that simple demand set the young Oregon native off on a life journey filled with good practices. Not metaphorically, but literally. Even now, as a top level professional making a handsome living with his mandolin, Jolliff still routinely practices many hours a day and that's on top of gigging, teaching, writing, recording, and less important things like sleeping or taking in calories.

    Jolliff, like many phenoms, started out in a family band, in his case a gospel-based duo with his dad, Bill.
    by Published on Mar-14-2019 9:10am  Views: 29844 
    Andy Statman Rides the Monroe Bus

    Andy Statman had a dream. Bill Monroe was in it. That should come as no surprise. Just as klezmer master Dave Tarras is in every note Statman blows on the clarinet, Monroe is in every trill he picks on his Kimble F5.

    As a musician, Statman believes in a strong basis, and he has studied Monroe, transcribed his licks and codified his playing style. In a word, he appreciates Monroe.

    So, the fact that, in his dream, Big Mon stood strong but forlorn on the Texas blackland prairie, decrying no one appreciates me,' struck Statman as strange. His simple reply was, I appreciate you, Bill.' The next morning, in a taxi, practicing a new, as-yet-untitled tune on the way to a studio session not far ...
    by Published on Mar-12-2019 7:30am  Views: 14160 
    Tristan Scroggins

    Photo credit: Nico Humby

    Facebook and Instagram are full of energetic young mandolin players from all over the globe eager to share their latest videos. So many that it can be tedious wading through them all. If you were looking for something to really knocks your socks off, well, that takes a bit of effort.

    Enter Tristan Scroggins, drawing reaction from fans and fellow musicians of all levels for his unusual approach to the mandolin. His frequent postings on social media are providing, as we speak, a real time journey into his exploration of, and some might say, an expansion of the definition of crosspicking, sometimes tackling familiar tunes most would not dare to attempt in the style.

    Where it will take him even he's not certain. What the technique is ultimately called in the inner circles of the mandolin community matters not. It's great music, and that speaks for itself.

    More than a one-trick musician, he can stand up and belt hard core, up-tempo bluegrass breaks in modern or Monroe style or dive into classical violin music on mandolin to suite his performance needs.

    Growing up in a bluegrass band led by his father, Jeff Scroggins and Colorado, young Scroggins soaked up music from a wide range of influences, everything from bluegrass to classical and whatever was available within the rich culture of Colorado's Front Range acoustic music scene.

    As a relatively new resident of Nashville it's not unusual to see him guesting with Molly Tuttle, Dailey & Vincent, Missy Raines and other seasoned performers who recognize his talent, or appearing on videos at Carter Vintage Guitars playing a variety ...

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