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Mike Compton Mandolin Workshop, Smyrna, Tennessee

By Mandolin Cafe
March 26, 2007 - 8:10 pm

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Mike Compton

Mike Compton

Smyrna, Tenn. — Mike Compton will teach a hands-on workshop for intermediate mandolin players on Saturday, May 5, 2007. The workshop is co-sponsored by Hal Loflin and the Mandolin Cafe.

Mandolin Magazine calls Compton a player with "a worldwide reputation as one of the modern masters of bluegrass mandolin, one of the most recognizable and respected mandolin voices anywhere".

The late John Hartford once said that he's a player who knows more about Bill Monroe-style mandolin than the Father of Bluegrass. He's Mike Compton—Grammy and IBMA award-winning recording artist; solo, duo and band performer; and as passionate a teacher of and advocate for the mandolin as you're ever likely to find.

Born in Meridian, Mississippi (hometown to the legendary Jimmie Rodgers) in 1956, Mike grew up hearing old-time country music, and took up the mandolin as a teenager. Drawn to the powerful mix of old-time fiddle stylings, blues influences and pure creativity embodied in Monroe's playing, he moved to Nashville in 1977 and quickly found work with veteran banjoist and former Monroe sideman Hubert Davis. Compton made his first recordings with Davis, but by the middle of the 1980s, he was recruited by Pat Enright and Alan O'Bryant to help found the Nashville Bluegrass Band, and the group quickly became one of the most prominent and admired in bluegrass. In four years of wide-ranging tours that covered the globe, the quintet recorded an equal number of acclaimed albums before a bus accident prompted Mike to reconsider his career and leave the NBB for a year of quiet work and introspection in New York's Catskill Mountains.

Returning to Nashville, Compton soon joined the legendary John Hartford, recording a half-dozen albums with the Hartford String Band and touring extensively until Hartford's death in 2001. At the same time, he began to develop collaborative efforts in recording, performing and teaching with other masters such as guitarist David Grier, with whom he has toured and recorded the IBMA Album Of The Year-nominated Climbing The Walls; renowned mandolinists David Grisman and Mike Marshall, at whose invitation he participates in the Mandolin Symposium in Santa Cruz, California along with peers like Sam Bush and Tim O'Brien; producer T-Bone Burnette, for whom he not only performed as a Soggy Bottom Boy on 2001's Grammy Album Of The Year, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, but on the following Grammy-winning Down From The Mountain soundtrack and tours, and on the Cold Mountain soundtrack and tours; and, most recently, with up-and-coming mandolinist David Long, with whom he recorded Stomp, nominated for the IBMA's Recorded Event Of The Year in 2006. Adding to his full schedule, Mike was invited to rejoin the Nashville Bluegrass Band in 2000, where No Depression magazine noted in a 2004 review that "his contributions notably enhance one of the band's greatest strengths: its uniquely precise take on the blues."

Honored in 2002 with a special resolution by the Mississippi State Senate for his accomplishments, Mike Compton is in demand today at every level, from instructional settings like the International Bluegrass Music Museum's wildly successful Monroe Mandolin Camp to solo tours, appearances with Grier, Long and other duet partners, and from treasured performances with the Nashville Bluegrass Band to studio recordings with bluegrass legends such as Ralph Stanley and country stars like Faith Hill. In the end, there's no better way to say it than in the words of Mandolin Magazine—Mike Compton is, simply put, "a certified mandolin icon."

Topics will include a brief bio of Monroe, his influences and regional culture as it related to the development of the music. A visual reference to the work of Van Gogh will be introduced. The class will spend time working on right hand technique, various examples of tremolo, triplets, down strokes, slides and melody insinuation. Recorded examples to illustrate points may be included as deemed necessary. There will also be examples from the black mandolin culture. The workshop is geared towards intermediate players with an interest in acquiring a more thorough understanding of how to reproduce the original bluegrass mandolin sound. All levels are welcome, however. Some knowledge of standard notation/tab will be very helpful. Students are encouraged to come prepared to actively participate. The workshop is not intended as a lecture.

Additional information:
Date: May 5, 2007 (Saturday)
Location: Smyrna Assembly
14119 Old Nashville Highway
Smyrna, Tennessee 37167

Located 10 minutes south of Nashville on I-24 and easily accessible from I-40 (Memphis, Knoxville), I 24 (Chattanooga, South West Kentucky) and I-65 (Louisville/Bowling Green, Birmingham).

Time: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Cost: $85
Participants: 15 - 18 (confirmation with receipt of Paypal payment or check).

Registration payment accepted via Paypal to or check can be made out to Mike Compton and mailed to:
Hal Loflin
107 Brookfield Court
Smyrna, TN 37167
Contact: Hal Loflin at

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