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Thread: Dirk Powell and Tim O'Brien

  1. #1
    Registered User Miltown's Avatar
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    Default Dirk Powell and Tim O'Brien

    This is maybe one of the best things ever recorded, imo:

    https://youtu.be/Xo6O7Q8fTGk

    And that whole album, Songs from the Mountain, is one of my absolute favorites.

    However, it's most assuredly not a mandolin record. But I'm wondering: how to work up something like what's happening on fiddle on that song on mandolin?

    I've realized my mandolin playing is so heavy on the bluegrass influence that it just feels wrong when I play old-style. Worse, I'm increasingly liking old-style a lot more than bluegrass, and my playing is annoying me. Advice for how to get more of an old-style sound in my playing?

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  3. #2
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Dirk Powell and Tim O'Brien

    Some of it has to do with tune selection but I would listen to people like Carl Jones.........

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sQrJVyxju0

    Also check out Adam Tanner........

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aRUqVbKzVk

    The Foghorn Stringband are also good.....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzYS0cqaonc
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Default Re: Dirk Powell and Tim O'Brien

    +1 to Charles E.'s recommendations. I'm an especially big fan of Caleb Klauder of FS.
    Mitch Russell

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  7. #4
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Dirk Powell and Tim O'Brien

    One important thing about playing Oldtime as opposed to Bluegrass is the backup playing. Notice Carl's and Caleb's use of two and three finger chord shapes and letting the chords ring. That is quite different then the bluegrass "chop" chord.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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  9. #5
    Registered User Miltown's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dirk Powell and Tim O'Brien

    Thanks for the advice, all--and the links. That's definitely the sound I'm going for.

    And who knows why I was typing old style instead of oldtime. Well, maybe fellow Chicagoans know.

  10. #6
    Registered User mingusb1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dirk Powell and Tim O'Brien

    Carl and Erynn are both awesome, as is Caleb. Good recommendations!

    Here's an old video of Caleb (and Sammy and Nadine) from a house concert I was at that I always like to see if I can find again on youtube:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FG2-xNfRZ0

    Now that there is some mandolin playing.

    Z
    Member since 2003!

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  12. #7
    music with whales Jim Nollman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dirk Powell and Tim O'Brien

    1. Give up the chop as the foundation. Keep it as an occasional snack.

    2. The vast majority of old time tunes favor a fiddle on melody. Secondarily the banjo. So you limit your access to tunes immensely if you limit your search to recordings focused on mandolin.

    3. Memory playing is where its at in old time. So get that melody firmly into memory, whether by notation or ear. Also, If there's any advantage to learning by ear, its that every recording of every tune features a slightly different version of the same recognizable melody and its good to know a few of the variations. Don't be afraid to work out your own version. That's good. Right?

    4. Learn a new tune in your closet, but find a banjo player to practice it with. That way you can focus on perfecting the melody, but also get enough of a helping of the traditional spice that makes old time so flavorful. On the other hand, its sometimes a challenge when playing with a good fiddle player unless you are willing to temporarily withhold your newfound melody prowess. In that case, mandolin sounds great adding counter-rhythms, especially via double stops.

    5. Attend old time camps to increase your knowledge of the canon. Once you are back home again, be disciplined, maybe learn a new tune each week. Eventually, your mandolin playing will shine.

    6.The bluegrass style is called "noodling" among old time players. If you miss your noodling, try playing the exact same old time tunes you know, but only among other bluegrass aficionados.
    Explore some of my published music here

    óJim

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    Default Re: Dirk Powell and Tim O'Brien

    Although he is primarily known as a bluegrass great and carrier of the Monroe style torch, Mike Compton is great old time mandolin player. He uses that driving right hand in a duo or group setting to propel the rhythm in the same way that a good claw hammer banjo player does. There are several good videos of him on his Facebook artist page playing with just a fiddler and plenty of Youtube videos of him in various "old time" configurations and playing old time tunes by himself. He uses a variety of left hand and right hand techniques. In the liner notes for his soon to be released Gallop to Georgia CD (Compton playing the fiddle part of Narmour and Smith songs while Norman Blake plays the guitar part) he discusses adapting fiddle tunes to the mandolin, changing not necessarily the melody but the right hand, the position on the neck, etc.
    Scott Rucker
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    Default Re: Dirk Powell and Tim O'Brien

    Now that new CD with Norman and Mike is something I am looking forward to! This should be real good.

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