• Mandolin Cafe Announces Launch of Banjo Cafe

    Banjo Cafe
    Lawrence, Kans. — The Mandolin Cafe is proud to announce the launch of the Banjo Cafe at banjocafe.net, its companion web site for banjo.

    The Banjo Cafe will be administered by Charlie Schwartz of Lawrence, Kans., a long-time friend of the Mandolin Cafe.

    Under construction for the past 15 months the site includes a community Forum (blogs, events calendar, social groups, content management tools and more), a mirror of the Mandolin Cafe Classifieds (ads posted on either site appear simultaneously on both), a News area with a wealth of articles containing industry news and interviews, a comprehensive database of banjo builders with 280 entries, a historical database with over 1,100 entries, comprehensive lists of banjo camps & workshops, and many more resources.

    Charlie shared with us in his own words, "In 1978 as a high school student my parents allowed me to drive from our home in Great Bend, Kansas to the Rocky Mountain Bluegrass Festival in Colorado. I spent the weekend playing banjo alongside a musician about my age. It wasn't until the end of the festival that I found his name was Scott Tichenor and he lived about an hour from where I lived.

    "We immediately started hanging out and playing music and have been friends since. I watched with interest from day one when the Mandolin Cafe launched. It took me a year to talk him into agreeing to build the site. He told me I was nuts and had no idea what I was getting myself into. He was right.

    "We worked on content for a year and held a silent launch behind password protection January 1, 2016, operating the site full-time as if open to the public. We've been gathering and publishing news, building industry and artist relationships, attending festivals and banjo related events and involving a few select people in our plans. We're three months along operating the site with a significant amount of content that's growing daily. Anyone familiar with the reliable stream of information that emanates from the Mandolin Cafe will know what to expect from us.

    "Although there are similarities between the two sites, the Banjo Cafe has its own identity and I'm really excited about it. The main common theme is, like the Mandolin Cafe does for mandolins, we honor and will promote equally all kinds of music, musicians, builders and instruments.

    "I'm sure my interest in the banjo was planted early on, since my grandpa played the 5-string. Some of my earliest memories are of him playing his banjo and his records of Uncle Dave Macon, whom he greatly admired and even got to see once. I didn't think much about it as a kid, although I did think it was kind of cool, since I was a city kid and I was the only one I knew who had a grandpa who lived in the Ozarks and was a "hillbilly." I didn't actually start to get interested in playing the banjo until I heard my uncle, who was a guitar player, pick with a Bluegrass banjo player at a music shop in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. A few months later my dad gave me my first banjo for my 15th birthday, and from then on I was hooked."

    Visitors to the Banjo Cafe can immediately enjoy the first two parts of an original three-part series on Earl Scruggs' banjos authored by Joe Spann and Steve Huber, an interview with Irish supergroup We Banjo 3 and dozens of news releases about upcoming events, new recordings and new publications. Expect a feature interview with rising Canadian clawhammer player Kaia Kater some time in a few weeks, and information on J.D. Crowe's induction into the American Banjo Hall of Fame in September. And of course you'll want to pick up some Banjo Cafe case stickers — they're free.

    The Banjo Cafe has partnered with Gold Tone and D'Addario to give away a Gold Tone WL-250 banjo with registration beginning April 15. A detailed announcement will be published Monday, April 4. There's much more in store waiting to be published, but we'll save those announcements for later.

    Don't miss a special feature article with pictures of a very young Jens Kruger photographed playing bluegrass in the streets of Lucerne, Switzerland in 1983. The photos were taken by a college graduate student named Charlie Schwartz, in Europe on a study abroad program.

    Additional information

    Comments 56 Comments
    1. Jim Gallaher's Avatar
      Jim Gallaher -
      If this ain't real, somebody sure went to a lot of trouble for April Fools Day -- lookin' at you, Scott!
    1. MikeEdgerton's Avatar
      MikeEdgerton -
      It's real. Nobody would go through that much trouble for a joke
    1. farmerjones's Avatar
      farmerjones -
      The whole thing seems so elaborate for an April fools spoof.
      But hey, im an old banjer picker, easily fooled.
    1. MikeEdgerton's Avatar
      MikeEdgerton -
      Current stats:

      There are currently 66 users online. 6 members and 60 guests
      Most users ever online was 67, Today at 8:45am.
    1. Steve Ostrander's Avatar
      Steve Ostrander -
      If it is real, it's a waste of a perfectly good April Fools Day prank.
    1. EdHanrahan's Avatar
      EdHanrahan -
      FINALLY! A place to catch up on the latest "little guitar" jokes!
    1. Bob Clark's Avatar
      Bob Clark -
      That new site could almost convince me to go buy a banjo. Almost, but not quite.

      Thanks, Scott, for keeping us entertained! The only thing I have more fun with than Mandolin Cafe is my mandolin (well, to be honest, my cats, too).
    1. JEStanek's Avatar
      JEStanek -
      It's totally real and a lot of good work went into the development. Many of the enhancements to our site (many are invisible on the front end) came about from this big effort. We have many banjo players in our midst. I hope they take advantage of this new resource and community.

    1. Bill McCall's Avatar
      Bill McCall -
      Yeah, I can't wait to get the Dylan on claw hammer banjo book.
    1. MikeEdgerton's Avatar
      MikeEdgerton -
      Updated stats:

      There are currently 112 users online. 5 members and 107 guests
      Most users ever online was 112, Today at 10:04am.
    1. Mike Crocker's Avatar
      Mike Crocker -
      Fingers crossed, maybe even literally.
    1. Luna Pick's Avatar
      Luna Pick -
      Great logo too, subliminal message: B.O.
    1. Marcus CA's Avatar
      Marcus CA -
      Were those 112 online users mainly MandoCafe users checking out if the site was real?

      BTW, I have that Dylan clawhammer book. It's got a great arrangement of "Like a Rolling Stone"!
    1. Stephen Cagle's Avatar
      Stephen Cagle -
      Dang it you had me fooled! I just knew it was a joke!!!! Good one Scott. Really good one!!😏👍
    1. lukmanohnz's Avatar
      lukmanohnz -
      Trust but verify. I'll believe it if the site's still live in 72 hours. But if it's real and as well run as the mandolin cafe it's bound to be the go-to place for banjer pickers in no time. Now stop me if you've heard this one already...

      Guy walks into a bar and orders a beer. As the bartender slides him his beer he says,
      "Wanna hear a banjo joke?"
      "Well," says the bartender, "see our bouncer at the door - the big guy with the leather vest and tattoos? He plays banjo. And that feller at the end of the bar with the scar on his face and gun in his holster? He plays the banjo. And guess what? I pick a bit of banjo myself. Now, you still wanna tell yer little banjo joke?"
      The guy takes a long sip on his beer, sets it back on the bar and says,
      "Well, not if I have to explain it three times..."
    1. Ken Waltham's Avatar
      Ken Waltham -
      Well, considering the date.....
    1. Paul Merlo's Avatar
      Paul Merlo -
      It's an outrage! Down with the Establishment!
    1. Bill Snyder's Avatar
      Bill Snyder -
      Ridiculous amount of work to go to for an April fools joke. You must have started early to get this one done.
    1. mmukav's Avatar
      mmukav -
      If it is real......what we really need is UKE CAFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    1. sopranohannah's Avatar
      sopranohannah -
      I read the headline with mild curiosity, realize the date, and click on the link expecting to be rickrolled. But no! It is a fully functioning website dedicated to the banjo... Or is it? I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.