• Ten Essential Bill Monroe Features

    As we close out 2018 we felt it was time to revisit our list of top 10 Bill Monroe and Monroe related features published within the pages of the Mandolin Cafe. What follows is a summary and ranking of our Top 10 Monroe features to grace our web site.

    1. Bill Monroe Receives his Mandolin from Gibson - The Video

    "Ladies and gentleman this is the greatest honor in the world right here!," a visibly excited Bill Monroe proclaimed as he held his Lloyd Loar mandolin high in the air, post-repair.

    It's the only video known to exist of the events of the day at the Gibson factory, February 25, 1986, captured by photojournalist Scott Wright as Monroe played the first notes on his cherished mandolin. Also in attendance: Charlie Derrington, Chet Atkins and Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz are among the dignitaries on hand to witness the moment.

    Stored in Wright's home for 40 years on technology no longer in use, the footage was entrusted to the Mandolin Cafe for converting from 80s videocassette to web video.

    Bill Monroe Receives his Mandolin from Gibson - The Video

    2. Bill Monroe Farm Interview - February 25, 1986

    Another never-before-seen interview with Monroe on his farm's front porch swing the day after his mandolin has been returned post-repair from Gibson. From photojournalist Scott Wright and Dave Higgs as interviewer.

    Bill Monroe Farm Interview - February 25, 1986

    3. The Charlie Derrington Interview

    Another one-of-a-kind interview, previously never seen until published here. Background information on the repair of Monroe's mandolin from Derrington. From photojournalist Scott Wright and Dave Higgs
    The Charlie Derrington Interview

    4. Curative Talk For a True Life

    One of the most widely read articles in the history of the Cafe, Bill Graham's 2009 feature on Monroe was and remains a sensible response to some of the controversy surrounding a Monroe biography.

    Curative Talk For a True Life

    5. 10 Questions for Laura Weber Cash

    Priceless for the 1:50 sound clip of Monroe speaking before an audience about his troubled relationship with Gibson, why he gouged out the logo, and his subsequent mending of ways with the company.

    10 Questions for Laura Weber Cash

    6. A Brief History of Evening Prayer Blues

    Bradley Klein's fascinating feature article about Monroe's close relationship with Opry legend DeFord Bailey who penned "Evening Prayer Blues." Also a look at arguably the most important champion of Monroe's music, Mike Compton.

    A Brief History of Evening Prayer Blues

    7. Monroe's Gouged Mandolin Headplate To Be Sold

    Bill Graham's look into the background and issues surrounding Monroe's relationship with Gibson.

    Monroe's Gouged Mandolin Headplate To Be Sold

    8. Bill Monroe Interview in Denver, Feb. 19, 1986

    Dave Higgs interview with Monroe with photojournalist Scott Wright responsible for the video that set the scene for their imminent trip to Nashville to record the return of his mandolin from Gibson post-repair.

    Bill Monroe Interview in Denver, Feb. 19, 1986
    Photo credit: Scott Wright

    9. 10 Questions for Mick Buck

    An interview with Mick Buck, Curatorial Director at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum that took place shortly after Monroe's mandolin took up residence in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

    10 Questions for Mick Buck
    Photo credit: Scott Tichenor

    10. An Interview with Thomas A. Adler

    Adler's book from 2011 entitled Bean Blossom - The Brown County Jamboree and Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Festivals is an essential and fascinating look into early bluegrass festival culture with Monroe at the center.

    An Interview with Thomas A. Adler

    See also

    My Long and Winding Road to Bill Monroe - Bill Graham's 2008 feature article on his journey to the music of Bill Monroe decades earlier, a familiar trip taken by many.
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. David Lewis's Avatar
      David Lewis -
      Thank you for collating this. Wonderful.
    1. BradKlein's Avatar
      BradKlein -
      Monroe remains one of the most complex, interesting, and influential figures in all of American music.
    1. darylcrisp's Avatar
      darylcrisp -
      this was excellent, some features I had not seen/read.
      d
    1. mandopixie's Avatar
      mandopixie -
      Wonderful! Thanks so much for compiling this in one place: our beloved mandolincafe.
      Amen.
    1. RustyMadd's Avatar
      RustyMadd -
      Thank you. So much info I didn't have. Blessings