All posts tagged: David Grisman

Eighth of January revisited

Ten years ago today, I wrote the following on More to Come: “For all who love great old-time fiddle tunes, here’s a little luncheon treat. One of my favorites among the old-time tunes is the Eighth of January, which many will remember from the old Johnny Horton country hit The Battle of New Orleans. (The date of the battle was January 8, 1815, and Jimmy Driftwood, an Arkansas school principal who wrote the words to the song to interest children in history, used the fiddle tune for the music.) The Eighth of January is a sweet little melody that’s relatively easy to play but has lots of possibilities for variations. I found this video by Roland White with a nice short mandolin version. I wrote about Roland and his brother Clarence back in March 2009 when they were featured in the Fretboard Journal. So, on January 8, 2010, enjoy the Eighth of January in a more timeless mode.” UPDATE: I was reminded of the post here in 2020 because a friend’s birthday falls on this auspicious …

The Sound of Genius

I opened the paper this morning to the wondrous news that Chris Thile – celebrated l’enfant terrible of the mandolin – was one of the 2012 recipients of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship grants. You gotta love it when a kid who starts off in bluegrass ends up being recognized as a MacArthur “genius” – the popular term for the winners of the $500,000, no strings attached annual award. Here’s the description from the MacArthur Foundation website: Chris Thile is a young mandolin virtuoso and composer whose lyrical fusion of traditional bluegrass with elements from a range of other musical traditions is giving rise to a new genre of contemporary music. With a broad outlook that encompasses progressive bluegrass, classical, rock, and jazz, Thile is transcending the borders of conventionally circumscribed genres in compositions for his own ensembles and frequent cross-genre collaborations. Although rooted in the rhythmic structure of bluegrass, his early pieces for his long-time trio, Nickel Creek, have the improvisatory feel of jazz; his current ensemble, Punch Brothers, evokes the ethos of classical chamber …

Remembering Don

  It is the kind of email you never want to receive: a long-time friend was injured in a serious car accident on Monday. Wednesday he was taken off life support. Funeral on Friday. So Candice and I left early this morning to drive the three hours to our old Shenandoah Valley home of Staunton to remember Don, mourn his death which came too early, and celebrate his life with his wife Ruth, son Philip, and many other friends. The service began in the beautiful Temple House of Israel, designed in 1925 by Staunton architect Sam Collins in the Moorish Revival Style. The haunting Jewish melodies sung by a trio of women rolled around the wood, plaster, and tile interior. Rabbi Joe Blair nailed Don in the eulogy.  There was much laughter and more than a few tears. Don was one-of-a-kind.  He loved telling jokes while sitting around a table filled with wine, food he had cooked, family, and friends. I had my first pomegranate one evening after Don sliced the fruit and passed it …

Five albums for a desert island

Facebook is full of lists – 25 Random Things About Me just being the best known of a recent flurry.  When I was on Facebook tonight, I saw a friend’s posting of Five Favorite Albums and thought, “Now that’s a list I could enjoy compiling. It took me less than 3 minutes to come up with five albums that I’d want on my iPod if I were stuck on a desert island.  But the Facebook application doesn’t let you say much about the choices.  So I’ll turn to More to Come… and over the next few nights will tell you about: The David Grisman Quintet Will the Circle Be Unbroken Time Out Sgt. Peppers Aereo-Plain The David Grisman Quintet’s self-titled debut album blew me away the first time I put needle to vinyl back in the mid-70s and I still love to listen to the amazing musicianship of Grisman, Tony Rice, Darol Anger, Todd Phillips, and Bill Amatneek.  The cover of the album (see above) told you this record was all about the instruments and their players.  …

Wayne Henderson, John Monteleone and more in Fretboard Journal

The Winter 2009 issue of The Fretboard Journal arrived in my mailbox yesterday, which means that I’ve been reading cover-to-cover for the last 24 hours.  As always there are articles about some of my favorite people in the music business.  But in every issue I’m also introduced to new musicians and new guitars.  What a great magazine! This issue has articles on several terrific players, including jazz legend Jim Hall and a tribute to the late country pioneer Jerry Reed.   There’s an extended article celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, where you can learn how dobro god Jerry Douglas got one of his nicknames (and its not “Flux”).  But the articles on two luthiers – John Monteleone and Wayne Henderson – are my favorites in the current issue.  I was taken by the beauty of Monteleone’s instruments many years ago after David Grisman featured a Monteleone mandolin on the album cover of Quintet ’80.  John Monteleone’s archtop guitars are beautiful and innovative.  (The Fretboard Journal is known for publishing beautiful pictures of guitar eye …

Interviews with Dobro Master Jerry Douglas

My father sent along the news that WPLN public radio in Nashville featured an interview on August 18th with Dobro master Jerry Douglas that some readers will find interesting.  The interview and an on-line web extra are available at WPLN’s web site.   Many of you will recognize Douglas’ name from his work with Alison Kraus + Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, but those of us who’ve been listening to bluegrass and new acoustic music since the 1970s know that he’s played with just about everyone – from the Country Gentlemen (his first professional gig as a teenager), to J.D. Crowe and the New South (with bandmates Tony Rice and Ricky Skaggs), to Boone Creek, to Nashville session man extraordinaire from the 1980s on.  At least one regular reader of More to Come thinks Jerry Douglas is God.  If you want to see him live, go to YouTube to see this great set from Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival featuring Vince Gill and Jerry Douglas. This posting reminds me that I haven’t made my quarterly update on …