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Thread: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

  1. #51
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    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    yup, there are a TON of really talented pickers without a doubt. This guy I'm proud to say is a local, Kenny Blackwell. He's been everywhere and done just about every genre of music. Old Time, Bluegrass, Jazz, Rock and everything in between. But my favorite stuff is when he and Dorian Michael get together. They have two albums, very eclectic. Bill Monroe fiddle tunes, Jazz, Choro to island tunes, just tasty. Here they are doing a tune Kenny wrote, Propane Blues. This guy's bag is deep.

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  3. #52

    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    My favorite mandolin player is Vincent Van Gogh. He wasn't actually a musician, but he had a great ear!

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  5. #53
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    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    I've never heard Shadd Cobb play, although Jesse is one of my favorite modern mando players. I did recently see on Jesse's facebook page that he's working on some dates for a Dou tour with his brother in the near future, which sounds really cool. Unfortunately the only dates I saw were for Michigan, which isn't anywhere near where I am. I also know that their dad played and kind of got them into bluegrass, and I believe they even played as a family band back in the day... but I believe we've strayed from the OT.

    I think every mandolin player is more or less obscure relative to players of other instruments... I can think of a lot of good ones that might not be so well known. When you get down to it musical skill and fame are often two totally unrelated things... That being said there are a lot of great mandolin players coming out of Berkelee these days. Matt Whittler comes to mind, I've been really digging his playing on the TriMountain Sessions album with some other Berkelee students. Dan Bui is another great Berkelee mando player, I had a lot of fun picking with him at Joe Val this last weekend.
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  6. #54

    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    Cool instruction book: Mandolin Blues: From Memphis to Maxwell Street by Rich DelGrosso

    It has some history about the scene and some of the players. Also, a play-along CD.

    http://www.amazon.com/Mandolin-Blues.../dp/0634072498

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    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    Martin - possibly Mark Spencer? he is noted as playing mandolin that show. but it looks more like Jon Graboff, who was listed as playing petal steel, and more like Mark on guitar. thanks reminding me again of Laura.
    Last edited by Jonathan Reinhardt; Feb-21-2013 at 4:12pm.

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    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    Quote Originally Posted by Timbofood View Post
    Well noticed Ed! I saw Nolan Faulkner once at the " Stringbean memorial BG festival" in Charlotte, MI. with Wendy Miller almost forty years ago. He has played on a number of sessions, and you just have to like the fact he did much of it with that three point!
    Thanks Tim. FYI, Nolan is currently performing and recording with the band "The Cass Valley Ramblers" in Michigan. Here's their Facebook page.

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  10. #57
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    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    apologies to Jon Grabhoff, for misspelling his name.

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    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    Had to add an inquiry to this thread. I am listening to Ken Burns "Baseball" and the second volume has some terrific mandolin playing on it. Does anyone know which mandolin players Burns has used?

  12. #59

    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    Maybe Peter Ostrushko, I don't know about the Ken Burns stuff but I believe Ostrushko's playing has been featured on other PBS programs.

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    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    Quote Originally Posted by kmiller1610 View Post
    Had to add an inquiry to this thread. I am listening to Ken Burns "Baseball" and the second volume has some terrific mandolin playing on it. Does anyone know which mandolin players Burns has used?
    Skip Gorman's "Cowboy's Waltz" is used in volume 2 during the section on Walter Johnson. He definitely fits in this thread as a great, somewhat obscure mandolin player.

    If there's more mandolin it's probably multi-instrumentalist Bobby Horton or possibly Jay Ungar who've played on a lot of Ken Burns films, including "Baseball".

  14. #61
    Purveyor of Sunshine sgarrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    My bet is Jay Ungar

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    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    I guess we mean relative obscurity. To keep context, to most people Chris Thile is the one that married Claire Coffee. I hear he got an award or something.
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    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    Kym Warner of the Greencards is one of my favorite players. His playing is super clean and his songs are good. There are a lot of great players with not so great songs out there.
    ...

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    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    Quote Originally Posted by mandopete View Post
    The other guy is Mason Tuttle. Many know him as the bass player for Chris Stuart & Backcountry. He's done some really nice mandolin work on the new project by Ivan Rosenberg called Clawhammer & Dobro. This guy is tone for days!
    Quote Originally Posted by John Rosett View Post
    Mason is a great musician. He played bass in the western swing band I play in, Cash For Junkers, for a year before he moved to Bozeman last January, and believe me, we were sorry to see him go. He's pretty good on guitar, too!
    I discovered Mason Tuttle by quite a different route. I recently discovered Amy Martin, an immensely talented singer-songwriter - emphasis on "singer," with a really beautiful voice, as clear and refreshing as a Montana stream - and saw his name in the credits on her later albums. ("Later" is a relative term - her recording career stretched from 2000 - 2006, though a single came out last year.) Lots of excellent work, providing leads and fills very tastefully. Amy has since devoted herself to environmental activism and journalism, even receiving a Peabody Award for her podcast. No half measures for her.

    But the mandolin on her debut album is by Adam Sherba, whom I'll add to the list. I was drawn to her when I accidentally discovered we have both written a song with the same title, "October Blue." Listening to the album, I was mightily impressed with her musicianship, every aspect - singing, writing, lyrics. And what is most pertinent here is the way her album "To You" begins -with driving mandolin chords, a rarity still. Adam does a lot of fine lead work on this song, too, and that intro is truly thrilling, to this devotee of mandolin's power to drive a song. I don't know why she didn't stick with him, nor how long she did - info on her is hard to come by, as she is rather obscure, and the contents of the backs and insides of her CDs are difficult to discern. I'll be posting more about her soon. But here's this lead-off track. Fine, indeed.

    Last edited by journeybear; Oct-15-2021 at 8:18am. Reason: thought of something else
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  20. #65

    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    Interesting to see this old thread pop-up and open it up and see Cruz Contreras and the CC Stringband as the first post. I'm a big fan of Cruz's songwriting and have seen him a bunch of times. He left CC Stringband, maybe even before this thread started because he and the Robinella got divorced. I've only seen him with The Black Lillies. With the Black Lillies, he is not much of a mandolin player, mostly splitting his time between guitar and keys. I think I saw him play mandolin with them once early, and I know he put down some mandolin parts of some of their releases, but I've always wanted to see him play more mandolin. The Black Lillies went on hiatus last year and Cruz is mostly doing a solo or duo act these days. I haven't seen him in that configuration, but I think he plays mostly guitar there as well.

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    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Reinhardt View Post
    Martin - possibly Mark Spencer? he is noted as playing mandolin that show. but it looks more like Jon Graboff, who was listed as playing petal steel, and more like Mark on guitar. thanks reminding me again of Laura.
    That's Spencer on guitar.

  22. #67
    Fingers of Concrete ccravens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    Great thread!

    I'll second Kym Warner.
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    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    Quote Originally Posted by TonyP View Post
    This guy I'm proud to say is a local, Kenny Blackwell.
    When Kenny played bluegrass with the Laurel Canyon Ramblers, the bassist/MC, Bill Bright, would tease him about studying with Jethro Burns.
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    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    Around here in Minnesota we had Peter Ostroushko, who left us way too soon, Bob Douglas, who was the original mandolin player in the Powdermilk Biscuit Band and the New Prairie Ramblers with Peter. Also, Dick Kimmel who toured at one time with Del McCoury. He's great and also a great clawhammer player, guitarist and singer.

    While not exclusively a mandolin player, the late Bill Hinkley was a walking music encyclopedia. He and Judy Larson were the original house band on the earliest version of A Prairie Home Companion.

    Would also like to mention Oren Tikkanen who cut a few albums with Al Rekko in the 1970's and 1980's. Oren is still playing in the UP of Michigan. His playing really influenced me on my learning Finnish music on mandolin. Also special mention Ralph Tuttila who has played in Finn Hall for the past 30 years and helps lead Laulu Aika. He is a very tasteful mandolin player although rarely plays melody. Great harmony, fills and chords.

  25. #70
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    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    I brashly nominate myself. I surely meet the "obscure" standard, and, at 250+ pounds, I'm pretty solid as well.
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    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    Martin Stevens of the True North band. Tasteful, clean, great tone. Saw him at the Shelton festival, a breath of fresh air.

    And more surprising as he’s basically local and I’d never heard of him although he’s played with Dan Crary and Bill Evans.
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  27. #72
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    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    I brashly nominate myself. I surely meet the "obscure" standard, and, at 250+ pounds, I'm pretty solid as well.
    Hardy har har! I was thinking of including myself as well, when I first saw this thread, but relented, thinking about my playing - which is far from solid - not the other sense you deduced. Well done. I suppose I could include another local, Red Seidman, who, true to his name, was a sideman for Bruce Isaacson here for years. But he lives only in recordings, having passed on in 2007. Played fiddle and guitar as well. I was told he was quite good, but I don't think I ever saw him. Back then I was playing so much I hardly ever went downtown unless I was playing. Just needed a break from the ruckus, and didn't have the hankering. Oh well!

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  29. #73

    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    When I moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, in the summer of 1978, I came across the best Alaskan bluegrass band at the time "Tanana Grass". They were lead by brothers George Page (banjo) and Joe Page on mandolin. Joe Page was phenomenal and around 1979-1980 he started branching out into the jazz-swing style that Dawg was doing with the Quintet.

    I am no longer in Alaska, but I believe that Joe Page is still in the Anchorage area. It is hard for Alaskan musicians to get heard "Outside" due to the long travel distances.

  30. #74
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    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    I do notice that, while not all that obscure, Ronnie McCoury gets little mention here. Dude won mandolin player of the year like 8 times and is a treasure trove of tasty licks.

    When I first read the title of this thread, my initial reaction was "Which solid mandolin players aren't obscure, outside this board?" No non-musician I know can name any mandolin players. Thile said in an interview that when people ask him what's inside his case he simply says something like "It's acoustic" from being tired of trying to explain what a mandolin is.
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    Default Re: Obscure, solid Mandolin Players

    I'll add Dan Zanes (formerly with the Del Fuegos). He now does Americana music for kids and has a bunch of albums many that feature him (on a sweet old Gibson A-oval). He used to have concert/dance parties for kids with his band and my kids loved them. SO much of kids music is awful and NONE of this is awful.

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