Acoustic Disc recording artist David Grisman, celebrating his 70th birthday, March 23, 2015.
On this, his 70th birthday, we extend our best wishes to David Grisman for his music, his friendship, his leadership, his compassion, and last but certainly not least, for inspiring us with groundbreaking new sounds we couldn't possibly begin to imagine.
An email from Mike Marshall two weeks earlier set what follows in motion and I quickly realized I was up against an impossible task. That one individual could contact every musician that had a soft spot in their heart for the Dawg... that's just a crazy thought. Of course that didn't stop me from trying. For those of you I missed (and there were many) and couldn't connect due to travel schedules, errant email addresses and a variety of other reasons, my deepest apology.
Blow out the candles. Lets get this party started. Happy birthday, Dawg, and thanks for all that you do to make the planet a better place to live! And now, a few of your friends have something they'd like to say.
— Scott Tichenor Mandolin Cafe
The opportunity to contribute to any part of the world of music is an incredible privilege. David handed me that opportunity. Here's to the guy who 40 years ago helped me get my advanced degree in Dawgology and gave me a priceless opportunity to play music all over the world while learning the most immediate and crucial lessons possible from the greatest fiddlers and other string players of the 20th century. David's commitment to my musical development and education was strong, steady, incredibly generous, and inspired an equal commitment from me to his music, and to a higher goal of bringing valuable and worthwhile music into this world.
When I first heard David on Muleskinner and later on the Old & In The Way recording, I remember being knocked out by his total commitment to the musical flow of a song and his ability to shape the dynamic and textural "story" of a musical experience, like a great drummer and guitarist rolled into one consciousness. That sense of "story" and that kind of groove and flow and majestic drama was just what I was looking for in music, and music was my universe. When Todd Phillips brought me up from Santa Cruz to David's place in Mill Valley to jam for the first time, it was the most intense musical experience I had ever had and exactly where I wanted to be. A few more sessions, and we were all pretty certain that this was where our energies were going to be directed for the unforeseeable future.
David set an indelible example for me not only in the department of self-guided self-education, and always pursuing excellence, but in embracing and enjoying musicians and music. One of the greatest things David ever said to me was "Hey man; I'm scared of being scared!" Don't be scared... Life is way too short not to accept the challenge to create. His sense of the world-as-library and his academic outlook that's totally embedded into a volcanically expressive and productive artistic lifestyle still makes more sense to me than anything else.
I am so lucky to be part of an older cultural structure built on mentorship and artistic lineage, in which knowledge and inspiration is passed on in a visceral and direct way. I can trace this mentorship back directly back through David, Tony Rice, Stephane Grappelli, Vassar Clements, and the other musical giants we worked with, through his mentors Ralph Rinzler, J.D. Crowe, Jimmy Martin, Bill Monroe, Django Reinhardt, and beyond. This treasure is beyond price, can't be codified or marketed, only lived, expressed and shared.
I believe that a very short time after Tony Rice came out and visited for the first time, David had his 30th birthday. I was 21. David was having his moment of decision. It looked like we were going to put everything into this band, and we did. To be part of that moment, that setting off on a journey of discovery, has given my life reason and shape. Following his example as a teacher and sharer of musical culture, and a facilitator of new musical ideas with younger brilliant players, is a sacred trust.
Darol Anger is an original member of the David Grisman Quintet and a leading voice in new acoustic musical and hybrid styles of violin. His newest project Mr Sun includes Joe Walsh on mandolin, Grant Gordy on guitar, Jake Schepps and Ethan Jodziewicz on acoustic bass. Their new recording will be out in April.
David Grisman and Artie Rose, circa 1966. Photo courtesy of Roland White.
Happy Birthday to David Grisman.
David has been described in many ways over the years: innovative, masterful, revolutionary, inventive, brilliant, pioneer, and the list goes on. For me, the word that comes to mind is giver. He has given the world his music and incredible compositions, he has given his time and talent to countless benefits, shared his knowledge and techniques at festival workshops, and each year at his Mandolin Symposium. Countless mandolin players have been thrilled to play Crusher or other mandolins he owns. He is amazingly generous. He has turned down a chance to buy a rare instrument, to allow another player the opportunity. On a personal note, after I lost my daughter to cancer seven years ago, David invited me to attend the Mandolin Symposium for free. I was deeply touched by that kind gesture. David Grisman is a giver. Happy Birthday, David. May you receive in excess of what you give.
Picture if you can a group of people huddled in a hotel room... bottles of fine single malt whisky popping open, geeks talking about open vs. closed Loar peghead logos, a couple mandocellos, mandolas, and 10-string hybrids leaning against the wall... fresh sushi, and a Loar F5 on the table having a new bridge fitted while everyone else spectated. A little strumming, some muted jokes, and finally a game of "pass the perfectly set up Loar."
I think magic like this is just part of the fun aura that Dawg exudes around him. He wasn't even in the room for the scene described, but we were all tickled when we found out he was next door during that F5 bacchanal!
I've always appreciated a chance to talk about rare/prototype/1-off/obscure mandolins with David. I don't think there has ever been a musician more fascinated with the tools as well as the trade of making music.
So a very happy, mandolin-infested birthday to you Dawg, and hope there are many more to come!
Dan Beimborn is the creator and administrator of The Mandolin Archive, a card carrying certifiable mandolin geek and assists with the operation of the Mandolin Cafe, known affectionately to the site owner as his "Linux Mommy."
It was 1973 in Palo Alto. We had just released our first album and we got to open for Old & in the Way. Here's the poster and David will have to explain the name change!! Happy birthday to a truly iconic and totally original musician. I only hope to jam with you a lot more in this life!!! Ray Benson on a bus somewhere in Texas!!!
Country Music and Texas Swing legend Ray Benson is the iconic guitar player and lead vocalist of Asleep At The Wheel, winners of an astounding nine Grammy Award with over 25 albums to their credit.
I met David Grisman back in the 80s at the Station Inn in Nashville. A little throw together band I was in was playing a weekday gig to a very modestly-attended house. It was a pretty dismal affair, save this one guy in the back who clapped enthusiastically any time we did a Bill Monroe song. On break up comes the Dawg himself and says, "Why don't you teach me all those Monroe licks, man?" I thought to myself, "You already know 'em". But I had no idea at the time just how much more he knew.
It has been my great honor to be acquainted with David Grisman for over 20 years. Acquainted and acknowledged. David is the ultimate champion and savior for all things mandolin. His passion for music remains unbridled even after the passing of these seven decades of his existence on the planet. His influence reaches multiple generations of musicians and fans who recognize him as an artist, creator of his own unique mandolin style, an archivist, producer, engineer, and educator.
I think it fair to say that David Grisman has joined the ranks of entertainers who are instantly recognizable by merely one name... Monk, Wynonna, Sting, Celine, Cher, Prince, Madonna, and... Dawg.
Happy Birthday, old friend. Life's better with you in it.
Grammy award winning Mike Compton is the leading voice in traditional and old-time mandolin styles and the man John Hartford once said "knows more about Bill Monroe style mandolin than the Father of Bluegrass himself." Mike's newest project is teaching the current and next generation of mandolinists the styles of Bill Monroe at his Monroe Mandolin Camp, now in the second year under his direction.
In my early years on the mandolin, David Grisman was a sound, a style, a genre unto himself, the mandolinist we all looked up to. Ten years ago, he became a teacher and mentor to me, and finally a colleague and friend: warm, humble, unassuming and always up for playing a tune.
As I'm out in the world performing or just answering the question, "What instrument do you play?," nine times out of ten if people know the instrument at all, they mention David's name, and often request one of his tunes. His impact on the mandolin's repertoire and popularity cannot be overstated.
So, happy birthday, David! I'm looking forward to many more years of knowing you, listening to your beautiful music and picking tunes together. Thank you!
Tim Connell is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music working as a performer, educator and session musician in genres as diverse as Brazilian, Celtic, Bluegrass and Swing. He is a member Mike Marshall's Ger Mandolin Orchestra as well as a guest instructor at the Mandolin Symposium.
Dawg, a Texas size Happy Birthday! Love you. Your awesome talent is only exceeded by your enormous heart! In a business where egos can drive people away, you are most generous and supportive and easily draw players in as one of your disciples. I will never forget the day you first invited me to teach at The Mandolin Symposium. It was an "offer I couldn't refuse," and I adopted you as my Godfather (can't help it, I'm Italian). Since then we have had many great moments sharing music and stories. We had some fun last summer when you snuck into my mandolin class at the Country Blues Workshop in Port Townsend, Washington. My students were surprised... looking at you then looking at me. One mouthed the question "Is that Grisman?" It was a thrill for them when y'all played together. And that is the giving spirit I am talking about. You are a rare talent and individual and I am glad we crossed paths. I look forward to many more. Wishing you all the best!
Rich DelGrosso is an award winning blues mandolinist and vocalist, historian and author bringing the blues and old-time music to his audiences and fans through his recordings and wide ranging workshops.
My venture into stringed instruments started at about the age of 13. Starting on guitar and banjo, it wasn't until my early 20s that I became mesmerized by the mandolin. Bill Monroe and his music was a big influence for my interest in bluegrass, but it was the newer music, primarily Sam Bush and David Grisman that cemented my interest in mandolin. The David Grisman Quintet, The David Grisman Rounder Album, Hot Dawg, Quintet 80, and Manzanita. Pretty much anything David produced or played on. Then there was the DGQ Austin City Limits show. WOW! It was around this time I started thinking about trying to build these things, so in large part, thanks David! So, can I blame this all on you?! Happy birthday Dawg... grab a big corner piece of cake.... here's to many, many more!
Lynn Dudenbostel serves as luthier on staff at The Mandolin Symposium in addition to building world class mandolins, including #5 Dudenbostel owned by Chris Thile.
I first saw David play around 1979, with Stephane Grappelli, at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. I was completely blown away. I had no context for what I was seeing at the time, I was purely and simply delighted by the musicality and sense of fun in what I saw and heard. It was shortly after that I took up the mandolin, in an utterly unrelated musical milieu, but I am certain that the grace, the tone, and the whimsy in David's playing were a huge inspiration and influence on me. My appreciation for David and what he has done for the instrument, for many types of music, and for so many mandolin players has only increased over the years.
Happy Birthday, David, and thank you!!
Marla Fibish is one of the most dedicated practitioners of Celtic music in the United States, performing and teaching regularly across the U.S. at the very finest music camps. With husband and musical partner Bruce Victor they form the music duo Noctambule, performing original and traditional music in a variety of forms.
Thank you, David, for all the great music you've been giving us for so long. Your ability to create so many memorable melodies and compelling arrangements has been a tremendous inspiration to me and so many others. It's always a joy to hear you play.
Matt Flinner is the lead mandolinist for The Modern Mandolin Quartet but spends most of his time leading the Matt Flinner Trio, a group that bases itself loosely on composing and performing new music on tour in front of audiences just hours after the birth of those tunes.
We all should celebrate Dawg's birth and the immense contribution he has given the world with his music, instruction and inspiration. From the first time we met at the 1980 G.A.L convention in San Francisco, he has been nothing but generous and supportive with his time, knowledge and advice on all things creative.
I am personally forever indebted to him for showing me by example a level of dedication and commitment to his art that continues to inspire me everyday. Every time I string up a new mandolin there is a little voice in the back of my head that says... "what would Dawg think of this?" Thanks for all you continue to give us.
Happy Birthday Loarful!!
Stephen of Gnotuky
Legendary builder Steve Gilchrist crafts Gilchrist mandolin family instruments and guitars from his home in Australia.
L-R: Jethro Burns, David Grisman and Tiny Moore, backstage at the Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, California, 1980.
I wish the very happiest of birthdays to David Grisman. The Dawg turns 70, but his gifts to acoustic music are timeless. I was incredibly thirsty for music in my youthful college years, and his albums from Old & in the Way to the jazz albums just made me thirstier. I keep discovering new things in David's music, the tunes he plays and the music he promotes in the old and new recordings of others. Millions of people say the same. I hope he realizes what a powerful, positive force he's been for music on planet Earth.
At the same time, I'm honored to have experienced his warm kindness to strangers. Years ago I went into my day job newspaper office, clicked on my computer, and found an e-mail in the in-box that knocked me out. I'd written a column in a mainstream newspaper lamenting super-high ticket prices for rock, pop and country stars, while affordable acoustic music shows went lightly attended. In describing a recent band I'd heard, I mentioned their music as similar to David Grisman's. My thinking was that he had become such a landmark in the music world that even people only vaguely familiar with acoustic music had heard of the Dawg.
David wrote me an e-mail thanking me for the column, a simple act of kindness that meant so much to me. Later, I got to meet David in Lawrence, Kan., while in the company of Cafe founder Scott Tichenor. David was gracious, friendly and generous with his time and thoughts.
Happy Birthday to one of the greatest bluegrass and jazz musicians ever, who is also a wonderful person.
Bill Graham is a freelance outdoor writer, photographer, bluegrass musician and singer-songwriter who has written extensively for the Mandolin Cafe including several articles about David Grisman.
Happy 70th Birthday!
How can I thank you enough? You have shown me what it means to be a truly original artist, respecting and deeply knowing so many musical traditions, while at the same time, creating something completely new and profound. The music we all play today would not be possible without you, Dawg.
I know I'd be living a very different, far less musical life if it weren't for meeting you when I was ten. Whether it was burning me my first Stuff Smith album, inviting me to play music with you, or introducing me to other musicians my own age (many of whom are my dearest friends and musical partners), I'll forever be grateful for your warmth, kindness and mentorship. Thank you for this, and for making the world a better place.
Sending much love and wishing you the happiest of birthdays!
Alex Hargraves is the first jazz violinist to complete the Berklee Global Jazz Institute program under Danilo Perez. He has been touring with Sarah Jerosz for the past five years. His current release The Brotet EP has him paired with Sam Grisman, Dominick Leslie and Nathaniel Smith.
Hamilton de Holanda
David Grisman, Dawg!
Happy Birthday, paz, amor, saúde e música sempre!! Peace, love, health, and music always. Big, big HUG!! Um grande abraço do Hamilton de Holanda.
Bandolim virtuoso Hamilton de Holanda performs a mixture of choro and contemporary jazz and is widely recognized as one of the leading instrumental voices in Brazil.
I first heard Dawg in 1979 by way of a cassette tape copy of the DGQ first album, and my life took a sharp turn toward the wonderful world of the mandolin. Thirty-six years into the journey and I am still mesmerized by this little eight-string wonder. (Still trying to get it in tune too). Whenever I am reading through past issues of Mandolin World News, listening to one of the many great recordings on the Acoustic Disc label, hanging out in Santa Cruz in late June at the Mandolin Symposium, or just listening to the silver haired master tell another story about Bill, Stephane, Earl, Jerry, or Doc, I tip my hat to David Grisman for inspiring an entire generation of mandolin players.
Wishing you a happy, healthy 70th birthday and many more to come.
Happy birthday Dawg!
Don Julin is the author of Mandolin For Dummies and Mandolin Exercises for Dummies from Wiley Publishing. His current musical gig Don Julin and Billy Strings is one of the hot new duets in acoustic music and can be found playing at many of the major bluegrass festivals in the U.S. in 2015.
Even though I didn't meet David until I was twelve years old at the Rockygrass festival in Colorado, I feel like I've known him my entire life. My parents used to tell me that I've been listening to his records since I was in the womb and they weren't kidding. There are so many things that come to mind when I think about Dawg's music. His tone, groove, that tremolo! His phrasing, originality, inventiveness and fearlessness not only in the exploration of other realms but in the creation of his own. It's hard to know just what to focus on after 50+ years in the business but one of the biggest things for me is his personality both as a player and composer. He's one of those guys who's sound is immediately recognizable and after years of listening, a personal connection is created through his tone and compositions. Since that first meeting in 2002 I've been fortunate to get to know David and jam with him on many occasions in addition to seeing countless live performances. Through these experiences I've come to realize that this personal connection that is felt through David's music is a result of his deep level of communication when he plays. When he plays a melody, he's telling you something and in a world where finding a deeper meaning in music can be so difficult, this provides more than enough to keep me seeking for a lifetime. Thank you, David, and happy birthday!
Dominick Leslie won the 2014 Momentum Award at the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards. He is one of the fastest rising young talents in the mandolin world. He was a founding member of the Deadly Gentlemen and is currently playing in the group Brotet that includes Sam Grisman on bass, Alex Hargreaves on fiddle and Nat Smith on cello.
When a musician with vision, one that is often making his living while taking risks and being creative decides to make recordings with newly envisioned music, compositions and playing style, it creates an opportunity for magic to happen. I remember the first time I purchased several David Grisman records in 1978, without really ever hearing him play that much, because I had heard that he and his mandolin represented 'another road' for mandolin players from mainstream bluegrass, which is what I was involved in back in the mid-70s. When the needle touched the vinyl, within 20 seconds, my life had changed... my music, my interest and direction were impacted like never before and never since. The doors of limitation for mandolin were blown down for me, and many others, and the birth of my 'creative' music career soon followed and owes its existence to my hero.
But as profound for me as that moment was, and his subsequent recordings that followed, and the recordings that I have made in my career, I was yet to discover just how much of an inspiration and influence he would really become, until one day when I received a call from out of the blue with a very familiar voice on the other end that I had never had the chance to talk to before, inviting me to come to IBMA in 1991 to meet him and hang out. Absolutely unreal. And ever since, Dawg's friendship, support, and inspiration, and belief in what I do has driven me to follow my own creative path for my mandolin and my music and in my teaching and every other aspect of my musical life. He is a true pioneer, and still to this day, demonstrates all the skill and creativity in the same way he always has over all these years. Happy Birthday to my friend, my inspiration, and my hero, David Grisman.
A Virginia native now living in Ontario, Canada, Emory Lester has been making groundbreaking mandolin recordings since the early 1980s in addition to teaching master series workshops in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
I've been friends with David since the mid-sixties. Talk about birthdays... he is the greatest. He remembers zillions of them and if you're one of the lucky ones, when your birthday arrives, at some point during the day you'll get a phone call and when you answer you'll be treated to a spontaneous rendition of Happy Birthday To You with tremolos and triple stops and cadenzas.
Our kids have grown up together and now our grandkids. We've had great meals, great gigs, great sessions, and great parties and I've made many other friends through him. I think he has done as much as anyone in the world to promote the mandolin and generously help out anyone who shares his love of it. It's a treat to be his friend and hang out with him. Happy Birthday, pal.
I met you in 2007 in person when I was invited to your and Mike Marshall's Mandolin Symposium. I had been listening to your music in the 90s back in old Germany as a young student of Classical music at the Music Conservatory in Cologne. Your CDs were my first experience of non-classical mandolin music and I was amazed how sexy the mandolin could sound!
I startet looking out for other musicians and became familiar with many of my American mandolin heros.
Thank you for inpiring me deeply and turning me on to all these different musical styles that the mandolin is a part of, and thank you for inviting me in 2007 where I met Mr. MM...!!
I want to celebrate a minimum of 30 more Birthdays with you and Tracy.
A big hug!!!
Caterina Lichtenberg has been a touring and recording classical mandolinist for over 20 years. Since 2007 she has held the position of Professor of Mandolin at the Music Conservatory in Cologne, Germany, the only position of its kind in the world. She has 10 CDs to her credit to date and her most recent is a J.S. Bach duet CD with Mike Marshall on mandocello due out in April.
On our dear ole David Grisman:
He rearranged a whole generation's collective musical DNA.
Cleared our minds of the cobwebs of our past while blasting us out to the future through the back doors of our histories.
Taught us how to stand up for what we new was good whether the music bidniz was ready for it yet or not.
Put the real meaning of "time" back in music with an understanding of the past being just as important as the future.
Brought out the best in a bunch of us.
Oh and did I mention that he could pull some damn TONE out of a mando, and drive the pants out of a string band? Yeah, Baby!
70 years? Hell that 'ain't no part-a-nuthin.'
You've given us all some pretty sweet stuff to ponder in those few years.
The first time I ever played with David Grisman was in 1966. My brother Jerry and David were playing for Red Allen and the Kentuckians at the time. David wanted to do a show in Troy, New York and my brother Jerry told me he asked if I'd go and do the show with them, Jerry and David and myself and Winnie Winston on banjo. We went and played that show and I remember we had played a new tune that David had written. He hadn't been playing mandolin all that long but was already starting to write tunes. And from that time until now he must have written hundreds if not thousands of mandolin tunes and developed a style that if it hadn't been for his tunes a lot of musicians that play mandolin probably wouldn't have picked up the instrument. I think David had a lot to do with music in general as far as the popularity of the mandolin goes or that style music.
And we're still playing music to this day!
Happy Birthday, David!
Del McCoury is bluegrass royalty, a living legend in the music and the leader of The Del McCoury Band with experience as a former Bluegrass Boy playing for Bill Monroe. As this article was being prepared Del was finishing up a tour with David playing to sold out audiences.
I remember clearly the day a package arrived at our house in Pennsylvania. I was 15 or 16 years old and it had the Early Dawg record plus David's records to date included. It opened my mind to a whole different way of playing the mandolin. Before this I only heard Bluegrass mandolin, not Dawg music!
Eventually I had the opportunity to meet, play and travel with my hero. He always took the time to teach me and also gave me the desire to write my own tunes. At 21 years old he loaned me and eventually gave me the mandolin I still play to this day...my 1981 Gilchrist...ole Red!!
I can't begin to tell you the immense impact he has had on my life. Besides my father, he's the single most influential musician to me! I will always cherish his lessons in music and life and will pass them down throughout my life.
The mandolin's best friend, and I too am truly blessed to call him my friend!
Happy 70th Birthday "Uncle Dawg!!"
Ronnie McCoury has been holding down the mandolin spot in The Del McCoury Band since 1981. Grammy nominee and multiple IBMA Awards winner, his mandolin and vocals are an integral part of the success of the McCoury Band sound.
Mazel Tov on your 70th birthday, David. We met at a bluegrass festival in Vermont in 1975 but I saw you play with Earth Opera many years before at Bill Graham's Fillmore East (on the bill with the Sam & Dave Review and Mike Bloomfield & Al Kooper's Super Session). You were already showing the world that the mandolin could do anything and play anything, a message my buds and I took to heart. As a producer, film score composer, bandleader (the first DGQ album is clearly one of the best albums ever and it gave the rest of us something to shoot for), soloist, genre-bender, magazine publisher and teacher you did more than anyone to promote the little 8-string wonder that many of us have dedicated our lives to. Just like Monroe ran his band as a bluegrass college, your list of sidemen includes many of the best musicians of our time. Happy birthday & keep on picking. You inspire us all.
Barry Mitterhoff has been a leader in new and progressive styles of mandolin on the east East Coast since the 1970s in the groundbreaking bands Skyline and Silk City. He is currently a member of the band Hot Tuna.
I'd like to send a very big HAPPY 70th BIRTHDAY out to my old friend, David Grisman.
He has always been a great inspiration and guiding light in my world of mandolin building since the beginning. I was so very fortunate to have met David when I did early on in my lutherie career.
Still today, his stylistic musical ideas are so magical, new and revolutionary, not to mention, having been a great influence in my rethinking of the instrument. Happily, the mandolin world is most definitely in a better place because of David and for that I thank him, and for opening that special door to keeping us all in a suspended state of Dawgmatism. More candles please!
Happy Birthday, Brother.
Legendary luthier John Monteleone builds his finely crafted guitars and mandolins in Islip, New York. The image of his mandolin on the cover of The David Grisman recording Quintet '80 became an instant icon.
My pickin' friend's find back in seventy seven
Was a twelve-inch platter of acoustical heaven
To the photo shoot, banjo was apparently late
Just fiddle, bass, mandos, a D-28
There were two well-known names, and anticipation
Had spread far and wide in the mandolin nation
We slapped on that puppy and listened agog
To a newly formed band and its leader the Dawg
I studied that record and following discs
Inspiring precision and dangerous risks
Dawg found a place where Monroe met Coltrane
The world was now different, Grisman to blame
We could have predicted when first he was heard
As player, producer, reel to reel nerd
Union Grove convention prize winning picking
And recording Wake Frankfield in Red Allen's kitchen
Soon he teamed up with Spud Boy and Pete
And they hired on Vassar for the fiddler's seat
They made a live album on Owlesly's recorder
Record stores fought to keep up with the orders
A flick with Grappelli, soon after a tour
Projects with Tiny, Tony, Jethro and more
If you've got a Jones and Dawg barks you seek
You can hear him on Car Talk every week
I want to be clear in my next to last sentence
I love how his style has now boiled to its essence
Mostly though before this riff ends
I'll say that I love my old white bearded friend
Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, singer and Hot Rize lead vocalist Tim O'Brien is an acoustic music legend who just completed a short tour with Andy Statman and Friends. Although we asked, Tim continues to deny any resemblance between himself and the awkward guitarist and lead singer for the western and country band Red Knuckles and The Trailblazers.
Tim O'Brien, Andy Statman & Friends: EMD Tribute
To My Dear Friend David, On this special day!!!
I'd dearly love to be there on this special day for you and be a part of the celebration, but since I can't, my best wishes to you on the big 70 that's soon to come your way. I always thought you were 13 years older than me but now I see how wrong a guy like me can be. Mandolin players think like that some times. I remember a saying I heard a famous General say one time and I thought you and me fit in that category. The General used the word soldiers, but I thought of you you and me in a different way — OLD MANDOLIN PLAYERS NEVER DIE, THEY JUST FADE AWAY. MacArthur was the General's name. I remember very well the first time we met David, that was many moons ago. I remember the words my brother said to you about that show you taped that night. It's my pleasure to have known you all these years my friend and I wish you many more special days to come. Enjoy them, They only come once each year.
Your Special Friend,
Bluegrass legend, Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member Bobby Osborne has been creating classic American roots music since the 1950s including the hit Rocky Top, recorded with his brother Sonny as The Osborne Brothers. More than 50 years after his start in music his mandolin playing and the Osborne vocal approach is synonymous with bluegrass.
Ohhhh... I've got lots of Dawg stories I could tell... but I won't be able to even get started here. Just a great big HAPPY BIRTHDAY wish to DG. I will say though, this is the guy that set me on the road (40 years ago!!) that I am still on today. The heart, spirit, intensity, focus, vision, fearlessness, gumption, dawgedness, originality, creativity, skill and beauty of David and his work is something I have been very fortunate to have been around, feel, observe, experience and learn from.
Man... thanks David for all the good times, good music, good food, etc., etc. See you at the party.
From his work with The David Grisman Quintet to The Bluegrass Album Bands and Phillips, Grier & Flinner and Psychograss, Todd Phillips is one of many musicians touched by the music of David Grisman. Todd has shared his talents with musicians as diverse as Joan Baez to Robin & Linda Williams, The Tony Rice Unite to Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum, and more than could possibly be listed here.
SPECIAL NOTE: Todd and Mike Marshall's 1979 43-minute audio recording of their removal of the Virzi from Mike's Lloyd Loar mandolin remains one of the Mandolin Cafe's most treasured tidbits published on this site, an embedded audio track in our 2010 interview with Mike.
Happy Birthday to Mr. Dawg! He was one of the first mandolin players I ever saw play live, back in the early seventies when he was performing with Old & in the Way. It was the first of many times I was lucky enough to see David perform. Being relatively new mandolin player he was such an inspiration to me, and he continues to be to this day! One thing I've always admired about David, besides his amazing musicianship, is how supportive he is of other mandolin players and how generous he is with sharing his musical discoveries; everyone from from Dave Apollon to Jacob do Bandolim. In 1984 David stopped by Paul's Saloon in San Francisco where I performed regularly. He told me Andy Statman was coming to town to record a duo project with him. I had never met Andy and casually said I would love to meet him. A few days later I got a call from David inviting me over to have lunch and spend the afternoon with them. It was an amazing opportunity to spend time with two of my main mandolin heroes. All the best on your birthday DG! Thanks again for all of the great music, inspiration, and friendship down through the years!
John Reischman is one of the great mandolin voices of this generation. His playing with this extraordinary Lloyd Loar mandolin has been called one the finest matches between man and mandolin ever. John Has played with everyone from the Good Ol' Persons to Tony Rice and now his current band John Reischman and the Jaybirds.
The New York Ramblers, 1965. L-R: Jody Stecher, Sandy Rothman, David Grisman, Fred Weisz, Winnie Winston. Jody's notes: normally we had Gene Lowinger playing fiddle but he was with Bill Monroe at this time. Sandy was in the band for this occasion, a set at the very first bluegrass festival. It was put on my Carlton Haney in September, 1965 at Cantrell's Horse Farm near Fincastle and Roanoke Virginia. Photo credit: Ron Petronko.
Happy Birthday Mr. Dawg.
I first met David when he came to Bluegrass at the Beach in Oregon to bring his son Sam, (age 8) to study Bass. He quickly became a friend to B@B with his generosity and playfulness. This was where he met his wife, Tracy, fell in love and found a stout life partner. David's generosity is immeasurable sharing his music and knowledge.
David remains a young pup, always, and appreciates the sentiments sent his way by his fans staying after shows to meet and greet the last of them. I first saw David at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco in the 70s and he still gets that musical grin on his face. I see it in his eyes when he is getting a kick out of playing music with others. So 70 does not seem that big of a deal to someone like David, only a good excuse to do what he loves, making music with his friends. To that I wish you a Happy Birthday David and look forward to the next 20 years together.
Stephen Ruffo, the Mandolin Symposium
Stephen Ruffo is the organizer of some of the most successful large music events on the west coast including Wintergrass, The Mandolin Symposium and many other events of the past 20 years such as Bluegrass at the Beach.
David, you have been one of the biggest blessings in my life. You made it all possible. Not only for me, but for countless others. Wishing you continued health, happiness, and only good. Love, Andy.
Andy Statman has played with everyone from Ricky Skaggs to Bela Fleck, Itzhak Perlman, Tim O'Brien, David Letterman bandleader Paul Shaffer and David Grisman. His web site says it best: "Had there been a planetarium in 19th-century Galicia, or a kosher deli in Depression-era Kentucky, Andy Statman's music might have been playing in the background." A visit to see Andy play at the Charles Street Synagogue is one of the truly great musical experiences.
Everyone knows or should know that David Grisman has done more for the mandolin and mandolinists than just about anyone. He also has demonstrated that a musician can master a received musical form and tradition, make lasting contributions to that music, even one to which he was not born into — though surely Born To Play It — and also create new forms and musics, and that there is no contradiction in this. He has also been an example and inspiration to those who have wished to take creative original steps in technique, composing, or the business of music, and were unsure how to proceed. David's example here is that one does by doing. What many may not know is that David, in his success, has never forgotten his old friends, and has also been steadfast in his accessibility to fans and approachability to anyone who wants to talk mandolin. I have seen him take a similar approach with mandolins. Examining my wife's simple old Bruno mandolin many decades ago, he said "Mmmm, this is great! Hey man, you know, they're ALL great." David loves mandolins. More than you do. It might be as simple as that.
Happy 70th, David. I'll see you at your party. I've got '41 Fern F-4 to show you!
your old friend,
Jody Stecher is regarded as one of America's leading traditional folk artists covering bluegrass, traditional, old-time and Indian classical music to name a few. In 2010 the Mandolin Cafe was fortunate to feature him in this 10 Questions for Jody Stecher.
David Grisman's influence on me has been very profound. When I was first starting to take mandolin lessons, I went into a record store and bought the Bill Monroe Instrumentals album and the original David Grisman Quintet album on the same day. I listened to the Monroe album and heard all of the great tunes that everyone would jam on and was totally inspired to dig into these tunes.
Later on I put on the Quintet album and it didn't leave the turntable for months... I was completely floored. David has always been SO very gracious and helpful whenever I've been able to be around him, and he's one of the most helpful and encouraging people in the music business to those that are trying to learn. He's a giving and kind man that loves the mandolin and making music. I have benefited beyond words from his recordings and cherish every moment I've been able to spend with him. Happy Birthday Dawg!!!
Adam Steffey is an 11-time winner of Mandolin Player of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association and one of the most iconic and admired mandolin sounds in bluegrass. Adam currently performs with his band The Boxcars.
Happy Birthday Mr. Dawg!
David Grisman is:
A GENEROUS SPIRIT
I've seen him hand his valuable instrument to fellow players, even small children, saying "hey, wanna try this one?" He's always willing to share his knowledge, expertise, and the spotlight.
THE GREATEST CHAMPION of the MANDOLIN
Here I don't mean champion in the competitive sense, but rather one who promotes, advances, advocates for. Producing records of essential mandolinists (all styles), founding Mandolin World News, The Mandolin Symposium, Acoustic Disc, Acoustic Oasis, and The David Grisman Quintet are just some of the ways David has put the capabilities of the mandolin on display and indeed re-popularized the instrument and the styles of music associated with it.
A PROLIFIC COMPOSER
A DG show is a bit like a Merle Haggard or Stevie Wonder show — great tune after great tune, each one followed by a realization along the lines of OMG! He wrote THAT one too!
A POWERFUL SOUND and a FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH
David has changed the way all of us think about sound and tone production on the mandolin. Is it the mandolin? The pick? Strings? Guess what? It's him. The sound comes from his heart. I've been lucky enough to stand next to him and play on stage and I can tell you there is a palpable energy there. He plays the band as he does the mandolin, driving the bus (so to speak) but always with that generous spirit.
THE HARDEST WORKING MAN in SHOW BUSINESS
How many people can you think of who: made all those records? wrote all those tunes? played all those shows? For more than 50 years?
I was lucky to get to know David a lot of years ago. He's been so great to me through the years that it's difficult to talk about, let alone thank him for. Whenever he plays a show in Chicago he has me up to sit in with his band. A couple recent experiences tell a bit about him. There was one where I didn't bring a mandolin because I was getting on a plane the next morning and was planning to just say hi, hear a tune, and go back to the house. Dawg says "Hey man, you brought your axe right?" When I told him no he said "That's OK I've got two. You'll use this one. What do you want to play?" Another time backstage the host from the club walked in and said "Mr. Grisman, one of the writers from The Chicago Tribune just called, he's on his way to review the show." David says "Tell him to write about Donnie. He's from here, people need to know about him. They already know about me."
I've learned so much from David, things about mandolins, tunes, recording, performing, being graceful. His support and kind words of encouragement have inspired me to keep trying to do what I do.
SO! The list of "David Grisman is..." could go on and on: mentor, hero, great performer, historian,collector, archivist, great and ever-evolving mandolin virtuoso, and more. Amazing to think that this list is describing just one person! I always put "Mr." before his name in attempt to ramp up the respect and honorific status.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. DAWG!
Don Stiernberg has been a heavy hitter in the jazz mandolin world his entire life, influenced heavily by his mentor Jethro Burns who he took lessons from as a teenager. Jethro's final recordings were made with Don on guitar and a small recorder in their homes, now available exclusively from Acoustic Oasis.
I first heard David's quintet in the late 80's on WBGO jazz radio. I became an instant fan. I grew up in traditional jazz listening to Django, Charlie Christian, George Barnes, Bucky, Louis, etc... Hearing a drummerless quintet with such a strong Django like rhythm mandolin and bebop style lines being played together with mandolin, guitar and violin just floored me. Like nothing I had heard before. David Grisman changed the game fusing bluegrass and jazz together in one honest sounding and extremely exciting acoustic quintet.
Getting the chance to befriend David, play shows and most of all sitting around the kitchen table jamming song after song is some of the most fun I have ever had playing music.
Thank you Mr. Dawg!
Author, educator and world renowned jazz guitarist Frank Vignola is one of the most extraordinary guitarists performing before the public today.
David Grisman playing banjo in Washington Square (New York City) circa 1968. Photo by Artie Rose.
Happy 70th birthday to the man who changed so many of our lives, the one who's tone rings in our ears as the standard to aspire to, the explorer who went off into new territories and inspired us to follow, the tune-writer, the mandolin booster and community organizer, the teacher, mentor, and long shadow-caster. Thanks, David, over and over again, thanks: for creating that sound that, once heard, disrupted all of my plans that didn't involve the mandolin, for showing why tremelo is worth fighting for, for bringing the mandolin world together, and most of all for making so much exceptionally great music. Where would we be without you?
When Joe Walsh isn't leading ensemble studies of early David Grisman Quintet music as a faculty member at the Berklee College of Music, he can be found teaching at some of the finest music camps in the U.S. and Europe or performing with Darol Anger in Mr. Sun and other groundbreaking artists creating new and exciting forms of acoustic music.
I was introduced to Dawg World in 1976 when I attended an afternoon concert by the DGQ in a little Unitarian church in Berkeley. I had been off in my own little corner writing very non-traditional mandolin music and had no idea who these guys were, but friends were insisting I see them. I was absolutely blown away, not just by David, but by his entire band. Darol Anger, Todd Phillips and Tony Rice were incredible and the band was a clean machine, alternating between intricate arranged passages and full-throttle improvisation in tunes packed with rhythmic playfulness and lovely melodies. I definitely had some work to do!
I went up afterwards and introduced myself to David, told him I was writing for the mandolin, and asked if he'd be willing to give me lessons. Amazingly, he replied, "I don't know about lessons, man. Why don't you just come by the house sometime and we'll hang out."
During the first of my many visits to David's Mt. Tamalpais home, I played him some rough recordings of my tunes. Afterwards, he asked, "How much of this shit do you have?" Well, long story short, David hooked me up with Kaleidoscope Records, a private label in El Cerrito, California, and in 1979 we made the first Tim Ware Group LP. David, Darol and Mike Marshall lent their prowess to my mandolin quartet Spiral Moons.
I'll be eternally grateful for the support David provided me in those early years. I doubt I would have had the minor success I had without his assistance. He was, and is, easily the mandolin's greatest friend — a tireless promoter, fan, and scholar of the mandolin. Now an Elder Statesman of bluegrass and new acoustic music and, like Miles Davis and other great bandleaders before him, continues to nurture and inspire.
The Tim Ware Group: composer Tim Ware (mandolin), Bob Alekno (guitar), John Tenney (violin - 1st album), David Balakrishnan (violin - 2nd album), Sharon O'Connor ('cello) and Ken Miller (bass), recorded two groundbreaking albums of acoustic music in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
David you Dawg. Truly you have made the world of music a better place.
Since I first heard you, at a college hootenanny in '63 with the Garrett Mt. Boys, you led the way for city boys to take their place in the world of bluegrass and string band music. You played, you composed, you recorded, you coordinated, you helped Ralph Rinzler. You and I connected around recording opportunities at the studios of WKCR where I did the bluegrass show, and we could use their nice Ampex 15ips tape machines. You brought the borrowed Nagra up to Ralph's 5th floor walkup and recorded my show live with Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys... still a hallowed moment of my life, April 1966. You made that happen.
You were the first person I knew to write a tune that a band performed. Cedar Hill was a breakthrough, and paved the way for a tide of originality to flow. But that creativity also had a visionary, focused bandleader. It doesn't hurt to be Mr. Tone, a deep student, and a zesty showman. And persistent! Dogged, you might say. And ... you have heart. You have brought together some of the best, and made musical magic. For decades!
Seventy years and rolling on. Go Dawg go! And thank you.
Pete Wernick, Dr. Banjo as he's affectionately known, has been a mainstay in the bluegrass scene since the early 1970s and is currently on tour with Hot Rize in celebration of their first studio recording in nearly 25 years. Respected author and teacher, songwriter, and long-term President of the International Bluegrass Music Association, he created The Wernick Method of teaching bluegrass jamming which has over 60 active Wernick-certified teachers offering classes in 40 states and 9 countries.
David Grisman... wow! What a flood of memories: back to the mid-sixties, when the blazing young New York Rambler blew everyone's mind at Union Grove, NC, with jaw-dropping renditions of Raw Hide and John Henry; the mid 70s when Tony Rice told me he was heading out to California to play with the best mandolin player he had ever heard; the late 70s when I landed on his doorstep in Mill Valley and he took me in like a long-lost cousin. I recall the time he set up an audition over his telephone which landed me a job playing mandolin in the Richard Greene Band; the DGQ's first trip to Chapel Hill when I borrowed my Dad's station wagon to drive the band into town and we jammed until daybreak after the concert; that first trip to Telluride where the music soared to altitudes yet unheard; the countless audio and video cassettes that would show up in the mail with names like Apollon and Gioviale written on the labels; that night in Santa Rosa when my rental car could barely make it through the fog; the night we worked out a trio on Rawhide with a teen-aged Chris Thile minutes before we took it on-stage to a sold-out house; the back-road drive from Charlotte to Durham in a convertible with Dawg playing his Loar H-5 and me on my '27 fern the whole way; the visit to an aged Harry West... So many memories... so many amazing nights when he would call me on-stage to play with him, and every time a new level of excitement, enthusiasm and joy. A big THANK YOU to Dawg, for all the music, all the mandolins, all the lore, all the introductions, all the opportunities, and most of all, the incredible friendship he has always shown me over the years. Happy Birthday, Dawg, I raise my glass to you this day, and am looking forward to our next jam... may it be soon!
Tony Williamson, in addition to being one of the finest mandolin players of his generation is among a small, select group of vintage instrument aficionados with expertise of the highest level in regard to early Gibson Mandolins, particularly those signed by Lloyd Loar. His Mandolin Central web site is one of the premier destinations for musicians seeking what many consider to be the finest mandolins ever made.
Thank you for your kind support in my early years in this country and our friendship! You have a been and remain an ongoing inspiration to me, both in mandolin music and in various aspects of musician's life.
It is great to see you maintaining a busy touring schedule and a variety of studio projects, and your playing is better than ever! Thank you for doing so much for our beloved little instrument, you are a great example for us all!
Here is a toast to your Happy Birthday and many more to come!
Born in the Czech Republic, Radim Zenkl came to the United States in part for political freedom but also to be closer to the music scene he's now a part of. As we received Radim's kind words to David he was boarding a plane for performances in China with his mandolin in tow.
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[FONT=Impact][SIZE=3]Congrats DAWG! We, Brazilian fans, wish you many blessings and prosperity, with much health and happiness, and especially, want you to keep touching our hearts with your outstanding talent for more 70 years![/SIZE] [/FONT]
March 22, 2015 11:33 PM
I'd like to offer my birthday wishes to one of the most influential musicians in modern acoustic music history, particularly where the mandolin is concerned. It is absolutely essential that a musician with the talent, foresight, and innovative genius embodied by David Grisman should have been brought to life in this world and his creativity have been allowed to flourish. So many of us have benefited from his musical trailblazing there is no telling where we would have been if this had not come to pass.
My personal connections to the man other than through the music are rather limited. The last couple of holiday seasons I have been fortunate enough to have done some jamming and even shared a couple of gigs with Andy Reiner, who is a good friend and former roommate of Sam Grisman. A tenuous connection, to be sure, which pales in comparison to others, but I'm grateful for it. I did meet Dawg once, in the performers' area at Winterhawk (now Grey Fox), one year while I was there as a member of the press. One evening at dinner time a few musicians were jamming just to the side of the picnic tables, and I wandered over because it sounded pretty good. I was astonished t see David Grisman in the group, playing absolutely brilliantly (of course), but not overwhelming the other pickers. He was good-naturedly chopping while others took their turns, taking his turn when it came up, then going back to a supporting role, all the while beaming a mischievous grin. Typical jamming etiquette, practiced perfectly by someone who probably could have blown everyone away, but knew how best to proceed so everyone could enjoy themselves. A perfect example of how it's done. I wish I'd had my mandolin with me!
I have just one other story worth telling - not that mine is on the same level as those above, nor surely to follow, but it may be entertaining. I posted this recently on a thread about "Old And In The Way," and this is how I came to hear the first DGQ album. In the winter of 1977-1978 I was living in Berkeley, and went to see the Jerry Garcia Band for the first and only time at some small club. They took a long time to come out for the first set and then took a long break between sets. During the down time the sound guy played the first David Grisman Quintet album - just-released - and with all that time, I got to hear it all the way through nearly twice. I had never heard it before, though I must have read about it somewhere, because I knew what it was. I liked the JGB alright - some of it seemed a bit lopey and loopy, and overall not as adventurous as Grateful Dead - but that Dawg music took me for a ride and really stuck with me. I was well aware of Grisman from his two songs on "American Beauty" and the OAITW album, but this was a whole 'nuther sum'thin' that wasn't no part of nothin' else I'd ever heard before. It really opened my mind to the possibilities of the mandolin.
And I'll just add in closing I'm grateful for all Dawg has dome with and for the mandolin ever since. I still pay tribute to him nearly every time I play with my current band, The Love Lane Gang, as we do "Minor Swing," which I learned from him all those years ago. My first band, Tin Can Alley, started up just a year or so after that fateful night in Berkeley, did it too, and also "EMD" - though we certainly didn't do it with the savoir faire and panache of the DGQ. Well, really, whoever could? That was an extraordinary band, befitting the extraordinary talents of its leader.
Thank you, David Grisman. for your gifts of music and mandolin consciousness. Happy Birthday, and many, many more.
journeybear aka Steve Gibson
March 22, 2015 11:45 PM
I had the amazing pleasure of enjoying Del & Dawg at ISIS in Asheville last night...it truly was a treat! They tore it up for 45 or so minutes then brought Bobby Hicks out for the remainder. What a night! I finally picked up the new Dawg books at the merch table, which he happily signed and personalized. What a mensch! An all around classy, yet hilarious, man. Happy birthday Dawg!
March 23, 2015 12:07 AM
Happy Birthday David! I owe you a huge debt of gratitude for taking that small wooden instrument from being relagated to a novelty tunes, hillbilly back porches and drunken back woods campfire sing-alongs and making it what it is today, a decent living. [SIZE=1](apologies to Mel Brooks)[/SIZE]
Seriously Dave, you've managed to unlock a whole new potential for this wonderful but often under rated instrument and expanded it's appeal across a much wider audience. That is some accomplishment.
Thanks for the wonderful music that has made all of our lives richer.
March 23, 2015 12:41 AM
Happy Birthday Dawg
March 23, 2015 12:59 AM
March 23, 2015 01:09 AM
Happy Birthday from me. No-one has done more for the mandolin than Grisman (although Scott Tichenor certainly deserves a mention!) and I love his music.
I've been listening to The Living Room Sessions in the car a lot lately. Effortless playing, beautiful tone, great swinging music.
Have a great day and thanks for all you have done.
March 23, 2015 01:47 AM
Happy birthday David! Thank you for your incredible contribution to the mando-playing universe! May you have many healthy and happy years ahead!
March 23, 2015 01:50 AM
David, Happy Birthday and welcome to the 70s. Thank you for your gracious gesture of allowing me access to your Loar at Strawberry, and thanks to Larry Cummings for facilitating that.
March 23, 2015 02:55 AM
Happy Birthday, Dawg!!! It's truly been a dream come true to get to know you and spend some time with you over the past few years, thank you for being so open and generous. A big thank you also to Scott T. for putting this together, really well done! I was tearful at the end, just a wonderful collection of thoughts about Mr. Dawg in one place (nice Rolodex!). I'm nowhere near as eloquent as some of the masterful players (and writers!!!) above, so, just like in my playing... I'll steal some licks from Jethro:
This ol' mandolin's been good to me, it got me out of Tennessee (New Jersey? ) I've gone from rags to riches many times Just a pickin' and a grinnin'... even done a little sinnin' I've made big money, I've played for nickels and for dimes And when I put it in the case, and head for my last resting place Here's what I want my epitaph to say:
"Well, he wasn't funny, and he couldn't sing. He didn't prove a doggone thing. But, boy, that SOB could really play!"
Love you Dawg, all the best!
March 23, 2015 04:02 AM
Happy Birthday David. Many thanks for all the wonderful music you've created ... you've encouraged .... and very importantly ... the music you're preserving.
All the best,
March 23, 2015 06:04 AM
It's around 1977 and the first DGQ album had just come out. A lot of us Chapel Hill musicians had gathered at the 'Pleasure Palace,' a kind of group home/crash pad for many of the area's hottest pickers. We all found seats with our stimulants of choice and settled back as Tony Williamson slowly and reverently placed the album on the turntable. From the first droning notes of "E.M.D." to the final celestial notes of "Dawg's Rag" we were spellbound in absolute silence. A mere clearing of the throat brought a dozen baleful glares down on the perpetrator. We were in Church, and the gospel of Dawg washed us clean, pointing out a new direction that many of us would follow for decades.
A few years later, when I was gigging full-time and looking for a top-quality mandolin, I ordered a new Monteleone partly because I wanted something different than a Gibson, but also because Grisman played one. I took Monteleone's letterhead to a t-shirt vendor friend and had a handful of t-shirts made with his logo on it, and sent one to Monteleone. When I visited John in his shop on Long Island, he said he had given the shirt away – to David Grisman.
Soon after, back in Chapel Hill, the DGQ were to play a double bill with the John Ethridge Trio, featuring Martin Taylor and Stephane Grappelli, and I wore my Monteleone t-shirt to the show. A roadie saw it and invited me backstage, where I got to hang with some of the greatest pickers on the planet: Grisman, Grappelli, Taylor, Marshall, Anger, O'Connor, Ethridge on a night I still vividly remember 30 years later.
From his many seminal recordings and unforgettable performances, to Mandolin World News – still the greatest mandolin resource ever published (charter subscriber here, got every issue), to his consistent championing of young talent and obscure old masters, is there anyone since Bill Monroe who has done more for the mandolin?
By now, I've gotten to know Darol Anger and Mike Marshall much better from their numerous appearances on staff at the Swannanoa Gathering, and I keep hoping that I could coax the Dawg east some summer, but even if it never happens, his influence continues to be felt in much of my musical life and in the Gathering's programming.
Thanks, David, for all you've done for me, for the world of acoustic music, and for the wonderful little instrument we all love.
March 23, 2015 06:10 AM
Happy Birthday Mr. Grisman! Your music sure means a lot to all of us and so many more.
March 23, 2015 06:13 AM
Happy Birthday, David. You've given this pup loads of joy with your music.
How many dawg years is 70?
March 23, 2015 06:27 AM
Happy Birthday Dawg! Your music has been the sound track to my life, a style for every occasion.
March 23, 2015 07:02 AM
happy birthday david! it was wonderful meeting you at the symposium!
March 23, 2015 07:05 AM
Happy Birthday David! You are my mandolin hero. Thanks for all the great music
March 23, 2015 07:16 AM
"Birthday "...a day marking the beginning of something...the beginning of a life that soon lead to the beginning of new mando sounds. As a best friend told me nearing the end of his life..."go play a Dawg tune"
Happy Birthday David!
March 23, 2015 07:43 AM
I was in college in the early 1970's at Middle Tennessee State and was watching PBS and expecting to see Bill Monroe, but this group filled in for the taping and it was the beginning of Mule Skinner. I was hooked and later got a VHS of the show. Happy Birthday Dawg.
March 23, 2015 07:49 AM
Happy birthday Dawg! Thanks for being the catalyst of this wonderful mandolin obsession that I have.
March 23, 2015 07:59 AM
Happy Birthday David! While we had not the pleasure of meeting & rapping, our paths did cross occasionally out at Dead nights at Nickie's on Haight St. I have come to appreciate the mandolin much more fully as a result of our long influence in GD music of course, and Old and In the Way, and I really loved your column in Guitar Player which was always informative, helpful in many ways other than just toward mandolin but also musicianship. So have a great one, many more, and please keep on pickin'!
March 23, 2015 08:09 AM
Happy Birthday Mr. David Grisman........ I hope you and Sam get to pick .... R/
March 23, 2015 08:30 AM
Happy Birthday David Grisman! Thank you for all the music.
March 23, 2015 08:45 AM
In further thought, we should be giving you presents, because of all the presents you have given the world:
- the awareness of people like Oscar Aleman, Svend Asmussen, Dave Apollon, Tiny Moore. Speaking for myself, I never would have heard of these musicians without you - 9th chords on the mandolin - The tunes
March 23, 2015 09:01 AM
Happy Birthday, Dawg! Thanks for inspiring all of us. I think you have the most lyrical and expressive tremolo I have ever heard.
A few years back I posted an ad in the classifieds here for late 20s mandocello. Among all the replies was one signed Dawg. I thought someone was having some fun with me so I wrote back asking, "Are you really THE Dawg?" and he replied, "Yes, I'm afraid so Don" and it was signed David Dawg Grisman. Easiest sale I ever made and his check had pictures of dogs on it too. I still smile when I think about that.
March 23, 2015 09:05 AM
Happy Birthday Dawg. Without a doubt, the single greatest influence on my mandolin playing and musical sensibilities.
March 23, 2015 09:17 AM
I started bought my first mandolin in the mid 70's because I listened to you play with the dead. I stopped for a long time but picked it up about again 8 years ago.
I feel I owe you many happy returns. Be safe, be well, be blessed.
March 23, 2015 09:45 AM
THE reason I picked up the mandolin in the first place. Happy birthday, and I hope yo keep making music for a long, long time
March 23, 2015 10:00 AM
Dawg. Your mandolin playing is inspiring to all of us. And your sense of humor and zeal for life can be easily seen in the way you put yourself out there with no fear of breaking down walls.
Thanks for your genre bending playing, and bringing that mandolin into so many of our lives. You're awesome.
March 23, 2015 10:02 AM
Happy Birthday David! And many happy returns of the day as well.
I have benefited from and been inspired by your playing. Two Soldiers was the first tune I learned on the mandolin. I was able to get to the Symposium in 2005 and 2006, and I credit those weeks of instruction as the catalysts that made me a proper musician.
Thank you very much!
March 23, 2015 10:07 AM
Happy Birthday, many happy returns from Berlin! I probably wouldn't play this wonderful instrument if it wasn't for your inspiration. All the best Pete
March 23, 2015 10:17 AM
July 22, 1994, I took my girlfriend (now wife) to the airport to catch a flight for the '94 Chicago Dead shows. Since I had a local obligations and could not go with her, I went to the Variety Playhouse to see David Grisman as a "consolation prize". I figured, "Well, he played with Jerry Garcia before, and I own the Garcia/Grisman album, it can't be bad."
Needless to say, it blew my mind. I went up to the foot of the stage. Watching him shake his head from side to side as he furiously coaxed an undulating groove out of that little instrument, all I could think was, "I've got to have one of those!"
Thank you Dawg for what will be a lifetime of enjoyment.
However, you probably do owe my wife an apology for all those Calton cases she is constantly tripping over.
March 23, 2015 10:37 AM
Mr Grisman, Thank you for joy you've brought all of us in this mandolin journey. I've only seen you once, at Big Mountain Ski Resort in Montana, but I've listened to your music almost everyday.
Happy Birthday!!! And Many More!!
March 23, 2015 10:52 AM
Happy Birthday David Grisman. Thanks for all the music!
March 23, 2015 11:12 AM
Happy Birthday Dawg! And thank you for all the great music...a band I'm part of, The Flying Jalapenos once opened for David's bluegrass band at B.B. King's. Normally we plugged in but I convinced the band to play into mics.....twas the influence of the Dawg....
Great Tim O tribute above!
March 23, 2015 11:44 AM
Butthead: "uh... it's who's birthday? oh! David Grisman? uh... he's pretty cool... uh, i think... uh hunh-heh-hunh-hunh!"
Beavis: "yeah! he's a dog... henh-henh... and he doesn't suck... hehn- hehn!"
March 23, 2015 11:47 AM
Happy Birthday Dawg! You've been a huge influence on my meager mandolin skills, but I also want to applaud and encourage all your work at Acoustic Disc. Thanks for recording all the great artists, and thanks for spending a minute at Floydfest to sign a disc and ask me about my mandolin. You are a class act.
March 23, 2015 11:50 AM
When I heard your mandolin in Not For Kids Only, I told myself that's how I want to play. So I put down my guitar, picked up a mandolin, and never looked back. Happy Birthday, see you in June. E
March 23, 2015 12:05 PM
Happy Birthday "Dawg" !!
March 23, 2015 12:12 PM
Happy Birthday, Dawg! Thanks for the music, and the amazingly cool way you represent it!! Much respect!!
March 23, 2015 12:19 PM
Met him just once back in '79 or '80. Saw DGQ in concert in Missoula, Montana and Mark O'Connor had just replaced Tony Rice on guitar. Concert was amazing of course, mind blowing. My best friend and I went backstage to meet with David Grisman. I was speechless and could barely utter a word since my universe had just shifted. And the first thing my friend asked him was "Are you and Jerry still playing together?"
Grisman's mood suddenly changed to a bit angry and he replied, "That #$#!@$$%#%, he owes me $5000 bucks and hasn't paid it back..." and he launched into a little rant about Jerry Garcia. Wasn't quite what we expected. But once he vented a bit then we talked a little mandolin music.
I am so thankful for everything he has done and every note he has played. Long live the Dawg!
March 23, 2015 12:22 PM
Happy Birthday David,
For us, it all started decades ago with Rudy Cipolla, and way before that, with your youthful love for playing at Italian weddings! It's good to know that you've got the rootsy thing going on and that you've shared so much of it with all of us. Thank you for your lifetime of devotion to the mandolin, and your profound appreciation for the repertoire by giving it your own special flourish.
Best to you and Tracy,
from that Sicilian girl, Sheri Mignano Crawford
*photo from Rudy tribute--with the best of the best. Thank you for inviting me to play on the stage.
March 23, 2015 12:52 PM
Happy Birthday, Dawg! You've been the greatest influence on me and my mando buddies to make these beautiful instruments sing in ways that non-mando people could not believe possible.
March 23, 2015 12:57 PM
HAPPY BIRTHDAY David Grisman! And many happy returns of the day.
It was in the mid 80ies when I got turned on to your music by my jazz loving cousin. It was Acousticity (out of print?). That was before I had even started to play guitar (had not even thought about playing the mandolin). I've come a long way and David Grisman's music has been a trusted companion. From Muleskinner, Old & In The Way, via the original David Grisman Quintet record, Dawg Grass/Dawg Jazz to beautiful chamber music like Tone Poems, Tone Poets, Traversata (Beppe Gambetta & Carlo Aonzo), it's been all good.
March 23, 2015 02:05 PM
Happy Birthday, David! What an amazing journey you have had, please continue!
March 23, 2015 02:39 PM
Happy Birthday to you, David. You have inspired me to play an instrument that is both challenging and inspirational. May you have many more Dawg, and "pick on"!
March 23, 2015 02:58 PM
Happy Birthday, David!
It has always amazed me how some people act as catalysts. You have yourself to be one over and over again. How your path crossed early on with Sam Bush, Jody Stecher, Andy Statman, and Ralph Rinzer is amazing enough, but you also passed by a very young Don Stiernberg on the way to a lesson with Jethro. You were able to see what Mike Marshall had to offer when he showed up from Florida. You gave Ronnie McCoury his instrumental voice. The list goes on and on.
You have a truly significant effect on acoustic music even beyond the amazing music that you yourself have played. And thanks for that can not be expressed in words.
See you in June.
March 23, 2015 03:00 PM
I'll never forget the adrenaline rush I got the first time I put the needle to vinyl and EMD. The bass and mandolin groove grabbed me by the shirt and those first notes lifted me. (You all know the ones I mean!) A high school kid transformed. The Dawg's music has continued to inspire me to this day with his powerful tone, drive and timing, and compositions and improvisation and subtle beauty.
The Dawg has taken us all to new places and spawned generations of musicians to push their boundaries to their greatest abilities and to discover and develop their own original voices in acoustic music and beyond.
The Hard Road Trio Tim May and Steve Smith
March 23, 2015 03:02 PM
Happy Birthday David! It was your music with Jerry Garcia that introduced me to the wonders of the Mandolin. So thanks and here is to another amazing year.
March 23, 2015 03:09 PM
Happy Birthday Dawg!
I remember to this day when I first heard Dawg Music. It was in the early summer of 1979, and I had just turned 22 years old and finished college. I was moving from the Missouri Ozarks, where I grew up, to Seattle. On the multi-week road trip there, a high school friend of mine turned me on to "Hot Dawg" and my life (musical and otherwise) was never the same after that introduction. I was a fan of bluegrass and roots rock (the Dead, Allman Bros, etc) but at that point I'd never really gotten into jazz or Latin music; certainly not swing or bossa. Thanks to that introduction I got to know the music of Django, Stephane, Jobim, Mike Marshall, Darol Anger, Mark O'Connor, Jethro Burns and eventually Jacob do Bandolim, Chris Thile, Don Stiernberg, many of the jazz greats and so many, many more. I got a mandolin, and then a second mandolin, and then an octave mandolin, and yet another mandolin (a slippery slope as we know!) and playing mando and continuing to learn about music is now one of my primary activities.
Thanks again and Happy Birthday! David in Seattle
March 23, 2015 03:11 PM
Happy Birthday Dawg!! You've been such an inspiration to my musical journey. Besides being the reason why I even picked up the mandolin, your recordings and your label led me to Choro, all sorts of acoustic Jazz, classical music on the mandolin, and so many more players and styles that I would never have known about.
I'm forever grateful for you awesome contribution to the music world. One day I hope to make it out to Santa Cruz for the Symposium.
March 23, 2015 05:09 PM
Happy Birthday David! Thanks for a ton of great music, old instrument chat and the times you've said, "Here, play this!"
March 23, 2015 05:19 PM
Happy birthday Mr. David Grisman! I heard (listened thousand times!) Muleskinner first, then Old & In The Way, but... your music really changed my life, back in 1977...
March 23, 2015 05:25 PM
Mr. Grisman, Happy Birthday from someone who met you for only a few minutes in Boulder after a show, but who was struck by your generosity even during that very brief time . Thank you for the music and most of all for being such a great example of humanity.
Peace and the very best wishes to you Dawg!
March 23, 2015 05:41 PM
Happy Birthday David from Vienna Austria.
March 23, 2015 05:58 PM
Happiest of birthdays Dawg...and thanks for signing my mando at Floyd fest there 3 or 4 years ago. You're a true treasure.
March 23, 2015 06:24 PM
Happy birthday. Thanks for sharing your talent with us.
March 23, 2015 07:07 PM
Happy Birthday David!
Meeting you was the single biggest highlight for me last year when I attended the Mandolin Symposium for the first time. You are just such an open, jovial, and knowledgeable person who always have time for everyone, and eager to talk shop. You even passed around Crusher to all of us in your ensemble to pick on. Looking around the room, I know that was a day few of us would ever forget. Thanks for sharing your talent, your music and your passion with all of us.
March 23, 2015 07:28 PM
Happy birthday you ole dawg! Thank you for changing the world to a better place.
March 23, 2015 07:30 PM
Happy Birthday Dawg.
March 23, 2015 07:49 PM
Happy Birthday David!
In appreciation of your mandolin music, scholarship, teaching and advocacy for MAS- Best birthday wishes!
From me, and all my mandolin family instruments,
March 23, 2015 08:15 PM
Happy 70th Birthday David Grisman
From the first time I dropped my pizza slice on my lap hearing the elegant tones of Hot Dawg in 1977 in Kalamazoo to the present when I am still in awe over your Acoustic Disc sonic refuge, you have always been our champion of tone, history and the future. The mandolin owes you a big birthday thanks. Doug in Vermont
March 23, 2015 09:10 PM
It was an honor to see David Grisman in concert earlier this year in Nashville. What a talent! Happy Birthday!
March 23, 2015 09:30 PM
The only birthday present that I can offer on this joyous occasion is thanks. Thanks for releasing the peach album that took music where no music had gone before, with mandolins along for the ride. Thanks for consistently playing mandolin so creatively and expressively. It's not just what you play; it's how you play it. Thanks for spending time putting together and teaching at the Mandolin Symposium. (I hope to return this year or next.) Thanks for showing that old dawgs actually do have new tricks. Here's to many more of all of the above!
March 23, 2015 09:54 PM
Another birthday greeting, Dawg. We haven't met, but I've enjoyed many shows. And as a former director at NPR for shows including All Things Considered and others - I can say with authority that NPR News would never have sounded the same without the countless bits of Dawg music between stories. Just so perfect, so very often!
All the best, Brad
PS And, 'well done' Scott T. A great tribute to a great player.
March 23, 2015 10:30 PM
Happy Birthday David
March 23, 2015 10:30 PM
Happy Birthday, Mr. Grisman and thank you for taking the mandolin to such a wonderful new place.
March 23, 2015 10:58 PM
Happy Birthday David, I love playing my two mandolins I got from you.
March 23, 2015 11:09 PM
Happy 70th birthday!
There are musicians that work within a framework of a certain genre of music, and then there are artist that amalgamate everything they have heard to create an entirely new music. You, my friend are that kind of musical genius!
I first heard of you from Red Allen and his boys, Harley and Neal. You had produced a landmark album on Folkways Records, "Red Allen, Frank Wakefield and the Kentuckians", you were well respected and it was great!
Every time I heard your work I was inspired!
David, you have been so gracious, and incouraging to so many young, aspiring mandolin players though the years, including me! One of my favorite memories was hanging out with you and the Quintet at the Rainbow Music Hall, playing "Stompin' At Decca" on your Fern for Stephane Grappelli!
Thanks for your example of excellence in creating new music while honoring the old masters and traditions and at the same time, bringing in a new generation of fans for acoustic music!
I love you Dawg!
March 24, 2015 06:57 AM
Happy birthday to you!
March 24, 2015 07:23 AM
One more Happy Birthday dawg. You have continued to be an inspiration for my mandolin playing. Hope you have 70 more.
March 24, 2015 07:53 AM
Happy birthday, Dawg. Thanks for all of your contributions. I still remember hearing the first quintet album and thinking how great this is.
March 24, 2015 08:03 AM
David is an inspiration for sure. Thanks for all you have given us and the music that keeps on going.
March 24, 2015 08:30 AM
Happy Birthday Mr. Grisman. For better or worse, you are the primary reason I play mandolin today. And I have to say, as much as I love your music, the bigger influence may be in education - introducing me to the serious side of Jethro, Jacob, Tiny, Cipolla, Apollon, and on and on.
March 24, 2015 08:38 AM
I will join with so many pickers in wishing the Dawg Happy Birthday. Like so many of us, DG was the reason I started to pick up the mandolin, and his music has remained inspirational over the years. I will pick a little Happy Birthday Bill Monroe today in his honor!
March 24, 2015 10:31 AM
Happy Birthday! Thank you for all the beautiful recordings, historic reissues and for all the inspiration to play.
March 24, 2015 11:45 AM
Thanks for all you've created Dawg! Happy birthday!
March 24, 2015 01:35 PM
Feliz cumpleaños, señor Grisman. You're a living legend. Cheers from Spain.
March 24, 2015 03:36 PM
Getting to play music with you in the new David Grisman Sextet is the highest honor a guitar picker could ever have. Playing Dawg music whether on a stage, hotel room or around a dining room table is the most fun i have ever had playing music!
Sheila, Val and myself treasure our time with you and look forward to much more!
Happy Birthday with love from all of us,
March 24, 2015 04:07 PM
Dawg gone it, another birthday! Many more from one Jersey guy to another.
March 24, 2015 08:06 PM
Happy Birthday, David!
March 24, 2015 08:38 PM
I remember standing outside the Bottom Line in New York City before one of your concerts. You signed my copy of Mandolin World News with your picture on the cover, you signed my book that went along with the Dawg Mandolin series from Homespun, and you signed my copy of Quintet '80 which already had the signature of John Monteleone. What else can I say?
March 24, 2015 09:31 PM
... I had to put some DGQ on after seeing it's Dawg's birthday... just like the first time (shakes head in awe)
March 24, 2015 09:53 PM
Happy Birthday to the man whose music really opened my eyes to what a mandolin could do for the first time, many years ago.
March 24, 2015 10:11 PM
Happy birthday, to the reason I pick. All my best, David.
March 24, 2015 10:40 PM
Happy birthday David and thank you so vary much for the great music you have shared with the world and inspired and help all the young musicians that have been influenced by you an set off on their own paths to great career in music that must be greatly rewarding for you. Thank you also for all the fantastic concerts that I have greatly enjoyed. James
March 24, 2015 10:45 PM
Happy Birthday David Grisman. I cannot begin to express my appreciation of your music. I am mesmerized by your picking. I'll often listen to a loop of one of your phrases completely captivated by the tone, the timing, texture, and coolness of it. You seem to do every time you strike a string. As a picker and a listener I want to tell you that you have made my life much richer! Thank you so very much.
March 25, 2015 06:12 AM
Happy birthday! Dawg, thanks for the many years of wonderful music! You have made the mandolin world a better place! Thanks and God bless you!
March 25, 2015 07:42 AM
Happy birthday! My mom was born 22 years ahead of you and she says happy birthday too!
Thanks for inspiring me to keep working to get better - and for supplying me with so many ideas to mine, copy, and try to make my own! The end of your first pass through I Am A Pilgrim (from Tone Poems), Dawggy Mtn Breakdown, that little bit of Beethovan you did on an album from the 80s (makes an awesome intro to Raw Hide), and your last pass through Kentucky Waltz with Doc, or better yet, the entirety of Doc and Dawg. I wish you the best of health and continued pickin'!
March 25, 2015 07:58 AM
Listening to Old and in the Way, was one of the turning points in my musical education, I no longer wanted to be a rock star, I just wanted to play the mandolin, thanks, and Happy Birthday!
March 25, 2015 08:11 AM
I like this, identifying the little dawg licks and snippets that caught our collective ears.
One was on your solo on Temperance Reel, Tony Rice Rounder LP. When it goes to the Em on the 2nd half of the B part, the move to a brief A note on the E string just killed me. Did then, does now.
Off the same record, the kick to Don't Fall In Love With Me, Darlin'...
And the solo on Kissimmee Kid off OAITW, also the solo to Knockin' On Your Door
And the passage before the Bb on Opus 57 on the first Quintet record.
And the solo after the head on Janice from Hot Dawg...and the twin on the head throughout.
March 25, 2015 09:23 PM
It was in '78 that a 'friend', whom you know, played EMD, etc. for me my dog man!! I had always been an acoustic kinda guy but guitar oriented. OK, after that 90 degree turn, bought the first mando in '79. Still goin' with that energy and the inspiration from all the friends that joined with you to carve out a large niche in the music world.some of those folks I've had personal education from, in some of the coolest stuff! This is how you effected what I play (swing, Django). I am ever 'grateful' for you and the genre you've spawned. Happy 70th and thanx, man
March 26, 2015 10:00 AM
I was working for a rock 'n roll newspaper in Maine called "Sweet Potato" back in the late seventies. Albums (vinyl) arrived almost daily from record companies hoping for printed reviews. Nobody there seemed to be interested in the growing stack of "bluegrass" albums over in the corner, so I grabbed them. One record in that stack was "The David Grisman Quintet." Three weeks later I bought my first mandolin and have been thankful to Mr. Grisman every day since! (And additionally grateful for "Old & In The Way," a complete set of Mandolin World News editions, and the ever-inspirational "Back To Back" with Tiny Moore and Jethro Burns.) Thanks Dawg! Happy Birthday!
March 27, 2015 06:54 PM
I was in Eugene Doing my belated GI Bill funded University Time in the 70s when DG played there ..
March 30, 2015 11:10 AM
I actually had the honor of attending Dawg's Birthday Bash in CA last week! It did not disappoint! To celebrate a lifetime of music with a true legend and pioneer of his own brand of music was nothing short of a dream come true. To call him a friend is the most important thing to me. I never would have thought the first time I listened to DGQ back in the 70's would get me to this point. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to design for David and his entire Acoustic Disc family. FM
March 30, 2015 12:37 PM
Eric Clapton's 70th birthday just happened Too, I Heard.
April 01, 2015 05:42 AM
Happy Birthday David!
April 01, 2015 11:05 PM
My heartiest respect to Mandolin legend David Grisman.
April 02, 2015 10:34 AM
I do hope David Grisman has had the chance to read all of these testimonials and acknowledgments of what he and his music have done for us and so many others. I know he's busy making even more music for even more people to enjoy in many ways. And I'm sure he knows he has had this effect on a great many people, without being told so. But it would be nice for him to know how much he is appreciated, with guesswork eliminated. Artists, musicians, writers, all creative people do what they do for the sake of realizing their creativity, but there is also a desire to communicate involved, and part of the fulfillment of these creative impulses is the effect they have on others, how they resonate within others. This also helps them attune what they do, as feedback leads to understanding what works or doesn't work for others. I sincerely hope he's getting some idea of how he has affected so many people, even from these few posts.
April 02, 2015 01:28 PM
Post 100 accomplished above!!! I'm sure word will get to the Dawg.
April 21, 2015 09:52 AM
What beautiful tributes and well wishes to read of a truly beautiful person. Happy Big 70 Mr. Dawg & many more. I can never thank you adequately for your gift of "Dawg" to this world and to me personally. This gift will endure the ages and will continue to inspire, delight and awe forever . . . . . TO THE DAWG!!!!!!
March 23, 2016 07:28 PM
Almost time for David Grisman's 71st birthday!
Reading over the other comments, longer and shorter, I wanted to add about being at the Mandolin Symposium for
many of the 12 times, and when John Reischman was there (during Bill Monroe's 100th birthday year) he and David played
"the North Shore" by John, and it was really amazing! Both mandolinists played with such feeling.
March 23, 2019 09:22 AM
Another trip around the sun! Happy birthday, Dawg.
Special thanks to the Mandolin Cafe's primary business partners.