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This section is where we place different listings for a variety of topics. Suggestions are appreciated (see bottom of this page)
Learning to play an instrument is intimidating for some. However, in today’s day and age it does not really need to be. There are so many opportunities to learn. From buying a DVD to practice alone at home to actually attend a camp at a festival where the teacher may be one of your favorite musicians.
Of course there is still the local music store near you that may give lessons. Or some teacher who may come to your house once a week to show you the in's and outs of your given instrument. I think the best way to learn anything is to use numerous sources. This will keep you versatile as a musician. Take the best from everything.
The Wernick Method specializes in getting you Jamming. It’s much easier than you think and you only need to know 4 chords (or notes on fiddle) to get started. With classes in 40 states and 11 countries there is bound to be a class near you. Many of the best festivals host Wernick Method classes. Let's Pick. Check out www.BGJAM.com
ArtistWorks has a unique interactive online learning method. There are pre-recorded lessons with world renowned teachers whom you exchange videos of your playing with. They give you incredible feedback.
Guitar lessons by Jorma Kaukonen, and his well known friends, teach an assortment of different instruments online. Then there is also Jorma's Fur Peace Ranch. It’s a place where budding and seasoned musicians could immerse themselves and emerge with renewed inspiration and tangible progress in their music. There really is so much more to this. Check out the website at www.furpeaceranch.com
David Bromberg Guitar Lessons Direct
An amazing, user friendly, self contained software environment
Steve Kaufman is known as The World's Guitar and Mandolin Teacher: A Decade of Gold Awards for the Best Camps and Conferences. Check out www.flatpik.com for more information.
Homespun Video has a great selection of "How To" tapes with some of your favorite musicians.
Many festivals offer free workshops on all instruments plus singing and song writing. Always be sure to bring your instrument to the festivals and never be ashamed to take it out and play. Remember this. The best musicians out there were once beginners too.
Let my inspiration flow in token rhyme, suggesting rhythm
This is a creative section where we ask for your creative writing. Tell us a story. Funny is good, interesting works, just make something up and share your creativity with us. (Write it as though you're sending a letter to some really good friends) Write a great review of your favorite band or festival. (We will be looking to send creative writers to shows on our behalf eventually). Or some words on an old album. Maybe you have a great suggestion for camping recipes. Something easy and tasty that doesn't take much in preparation. We would love those!! Or tell us something interesting that happened to you or some friends. Try to keep it somewhat related to your musical experiences. Please keep it short for easy reading. If it is long - It will probably be best to break it into small sections and send us a new section once a week.
(This is where we will eventually find people to cover events for us)
Send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject line: "Creativity"
Here’s a couple of sweet Merlefest stories...
story by the GREAT Dancin' Dave
row 10; seats 38 & 39....
I met a couple of friends early on in my business venture; David and Don are brothers who always camped next or near to my group at the River's Edge Campground, during Merlefest. It was great to see them every year, and David wrote a couple of great reviews concerning Dancin'Dave's... on a couple of chat groups.
When Merlefest started the assigned seating, David scored a couple of beautiful seats, Row 10; seats 38 & 39. And for some reason, the folks in seats 36 & 37 never showed up. Because of this, Lynn and I many times sat in those seats, diggin' the music with David and Don....we wouldn't have wanted to share the music more with anyone.
Then one year David showed up at Merlefest much lighter than usual....he had lost many pounds because of the start of a battle with cancer. At this point he actually looked great! He was slim and looking healthy but he was quick to point out why he had lost so many pounds so quickly...but seemed confidant that he had been "cured".
Well, he wasn't....and for a few years he was obviously becoming sicker; but still seeing and hearing as much Merlefest music that he could handle. The last year that we saw him it was pretty clear that it was for the last time, but we all put up a good front. It was damned sad...
The next year Don showed up with a friend of his and the story of David's last days. David had a super sense of humor and so was quick with the smile or the quips. He and Don shared this trait right to the end and Don told how David would be doin' the comforting and keeping everyone in good humor even as he was suffering.
Don also had a few of David's ashes, and they were spread under seat 39. He also told me that in one of David's last days he instructed Don that if he ever could not make it to Merlefest that the tickets should go to Lynn and me.
For the about six or years after Lynn I purchased Don’s/David’s tickets and just this present year the tickets have become officially ours! It even took some rule bending to accomplish the ticket exchange for it was going against standard Merlefest policy, but often times it’s not what you know but who you know and Merlefest has always been good to me! So...for many years Lynn and I have enjoyed the music from those seats and will continue; knowing David would approve!
Maybe my favorite story....having supper with Doc Watson and Jack Lawrence'.
In 1998, on the way home from Merlefest I had the idea for my camping service business. It was a fun trip home.
The next weekend Doc and Jack were playing a gig in Madison, Wisconsin, and Jack and I had made plans to meet after the show. (He and I had become friends in 1985, at the ol' Mole Lake Bluegrass Festival, after Merle had hired him) But, I was so excited with my new business idea that I called Jack during the week, and arranged to go out for supper with him and Doc before the show. And all week my sweet wife Lynn pondered over what song to request of Doc that night.
The meal was wonderful, with Doc sharing stories on the loss of his site, and he being the southern gentleman that he is, even straightened out my manners: when the waitress asked if we were ready to order and looked at me, I replied: "Doc...?" He replied: "well now, David, don't you think the lady should order first...?" Lynn smiled...
After the meal Lynn and I and Doc were standing outside the restaurant, talking about Merle. I told Doc that I had met Merle during the Charlie Daniels ordeal at Mole Lake years ago and Doc of course remembered all the details of that fiasco. I had debated for years over whether if I would get the chance whether I would mention to Doc Merle's assessment of Charlie's fiddlin' (“that fat little fucker doesn’t even know how to fiddle...”)...and I went ahead and told him. Doc chuckled and replied: "you know, Merle was always right..." >g<
It was then that I told Doc that when I had starting courting Lynn that I had sung to her: "She's My Curly-Headed Baby". He came back with: "And didn't Merle play a sweet slide on that?" I of course agreed and Doc added: "I haven't been able to play that song since Merle's death...I'd miss that slide too much".
Of course...out the window the request went!
But as we were walking back to the venue I overheard Doc whisper to Jack: "do you think we could play "She's My Curly-Headed Baby"?"
And sure enough, Doc opened the second set with the song, dedicating it to "Miss Lynn and David". After the show Lynn gave him a big hug of thanks, and as she tells it: "my hair must have brushed Doc's cheek, for he told me that I DO have beautiful hair"!
Where are the Open Jams and Open Mikes near you?
Let us know so we can list them here and then we all can come out to join you
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ANYONE REMEMBER THIS BAND NAME
AND NAME THEIR SONG ?
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Greyfox Bluegrass Festival
This is the festival that got us addicted to Festivals. We absolutely love this festival. It seems to be the prototype for a perfect festival. Must be the "trickle down effect”. Here is a festival that really seems to care about what the fans suggest. They are constantly asking for feedback and improving. The lineup is always a who's who of Bluegrass greats. And there is always new bands that are destined to be future headliners. Always something for everyone. Extremely family friendly. Extremely fan friendly. Really fantastic craft and food vendors. Seriously. The food vendors here can literally be written up in Gourmet Magazine. There are so many things going on. Workshops, Slow Jam tent, a Kid’s Music Academy that is guaranteed to make you cry. A Dance tent with awesome music plus they teach you so many cool things like specialty dancing, yoga classes...
And if you need help with just about anything there is someone looking to help you....everywhere. The fans here, which I am proud to say I am one, will go so far out of their way to help each other. And if you're new to the festival....even more so. Do you like to pic? I remember being a newbie to the mandolin and so many pickers were so encouraging to me that I do believe that helped me to stop being shy and really have fun. Pickers are the best. You will run into people in all walks of life here that just are so great. It is really difficult to explain. It's almost like a Disney experience except so much better. Ask anyone who has attended. This will be our 19th year and I feel like a rookie compared to so many. Every year they make improvements. And I can tell you firsthand that the Team that runs this festival is really most concerned with fans experience. Can I get some other Greyfoxers to write in and explain the magic please?
Third weekend of July: www.greyfoxbluegrass.com
Delfest is also a favorite. One not to miss. It takes place every Memorial Day weekend in Cumberland, MD. Don’t worry about traveling. That Monday (Memorial Day) is made as a travel day so you won't miss any great music. And Great Music is here with a great view that you become part of.
It's a family friendly festival that celebrates the Great McCoury music. Looking for world class musicians? Look no further. The Legend Del McCoury brilliantly combines different genres of music on the same stage. Bands are constantly playing together. You can catch the great Hot Rize Band, Railroad Earth, Old Crow, Greensky, Leftover Salmon while David Grisman is playing 'at large' (with anyone and of course with Del as the Del & Dawg), Steep Canyon, Gibson Brothers, ...of course the Great Sierra Hull (watch her play the mandolin)... The list doesn't end there...The Seldom Scene, Billy Strings & Don Julin...it keeps going. Check their website for all the artists listed.
The Music Meadow (Grandstand Stage) is where most of the bands play during the waking hours. But there is also Artist Playshops, Late night shows, a great kids area, great Art & Craft Faire, Great Food, Great camping with RV hookups optional and so much more. All close to a bustling town.
Of course the Traveling McCourys (Del's Band) jam with just about everyone. And I have never met a nicer group of guys as they are very seriously awesome musicians. These guys will sit and talk to you and show such interest in you that I often think I am on Candid Camera (Punk'd for you youngn's).
Check out their website....www.delfest.com
Word to the wise: After traveling on the highway to get here remember something important. Don't speed. The local authorities know you may have a heavy foot from the highway.
Joe Val Festival
February in New England. As I am writing this now I am sitting in our car as my wife Diane is driving and one of our kids with 2 of her friends are in the back. Massachusetts now has the National Guard helping to remove the snow. They have had a record amount of snow with a huge storm heading there tomorrow into Sunday expecting at least another foot of snow if not more. We are driving up from South Jersey just outside Philadelphia straight into the crazy weather. That's how great Joe Val Festival is.
It takes place at the Sheraton Conference Center. The rooms sell out faster and faster each year. Somewhere around 2 minutes. i suppose as fast as the computer system is. This year we didn't get in the Sheraton so we are about a half mile away at the Fairmont by Marriott. The Boston Bluegrass union puts this on in a terrific way. The downstairs where there would normally be numerous wedding receptions is opened up as the main stage. Complete with beautiful chandeliers and nice chairs expected at a catered event.
The lineup is always awesome. The artists always seem real excited to see everyone. They often make themselves very available to the fans. Fans are jamming everywhere. The lobby is something to experience. Sometimes the artists join the constant jamming of the fans. It is not uncommon to take the elevator and be in the middle of a jam on the elevator.
The conference rooms are where they have music workshops. There is a special room just devoted to the newer bands. With Berkeley School of Music close by there is really some musicians to write home about. Another room is dedicated to some of the best musical vendors you can ask for. Everything is hands on so you really can fall in love with instruments that really weren't on your radar.
The Talent is awesome. Check out our video interview with Gerry Katz. He knows how to put on a festival.
DC Bluegrass Festival
I just returned and I can't stop talking about how great this festival was. Check out our video interview with Randy Barrett. He is the President of the DC Bluegrass Union and an awesome musician too.
This year the festival was at the Sheraton at Tyson’s Corner in VA. A real grand hotel. Jamming was everywhere. The hallways to the restaurant/bar. Not to mention the main stage where Jerry Douglas and The Earls of Leicester played. Sierra Hull, Tim O'Brien, Blue Highway, The Seldom Scene (with an awesome Rickie Simpkins sitting in on fiddle...(and what an amazing fiddler he is), The Bankesters, Gold Heart, The Grass Cats and Bluestone. I never heard Bluestone before. Wow. I love watching great bands for the first time. This band was terrific. Plus they were the backup band for the Patuxent Banjo Project that totally knocked me off my feet at the Workshop Stage.
There was also a Band Contest. 14 different bands got to play 2 songs each. The winner was GRAND OLE' DITCH. Check them out in our Featured Band Section.
There really is something special going to a Festival in the middle of Winter in a hotel. I always love finding the unexpected gems. A special shout out to Ira from Skillet Licker Designs. He is the Master of T-Shirt Vendors. His shirts are really extremely well thought out. You really don't normally think about that with vendors.
This was my first time at the DC Bluegrass Festival. But it will not be my last.
Strawberry Park Festival
This is really an incredible venue. Smack inside probably the nicest campground I have ever been to. It's located in CT. Pretty close to the Casinos. Most of the people enjoying the campground have no clue there is a great festival being held on the grounds. The campground really offers so much. I always love that there are so many familiar faces from Greyfox. So you know there is good pik'n through the night. Really clean nice place.
I attended twice. Once with the Crazy Irishman (for those who know me) and once with My wife and youngest kid. Different experiences but both times great.
This festival has so much going on. Look at the program at anytime of the day or night and you have a huge selection to choose from. The location is beautiful. It's a huge operation. And I love that there is an educational twist on how we can all best be better citizens of the planet.
The lineup here is always beyond anyone’s greatest expectations. So many different genre's of music. All ages having great fun together. We volunteered when we attended (with Diane & Grace). Volunteering is always great. You are helping but you also are meeting other great volunteer people who you bond with in a real special way.
I highly recommend this festival. Really so many things to experience in this vast beautiful location smack in the middle of VA. The town is Floyd. Nothing to do with "Pink"
I have been here many times. It is run by Roger. He is a great guy always trying to improve things. He had a bump in the road when he changed locations but it seems like he definitely has sorted that out.
Roger always goes all out to get the greatest lineups. This festival also has a great "pik'n" thing going on. The stage is loaded with first class musicians. But when you walk over to the campground you will also be impressed with the fun everyone is having.
This year they will be featuring Connecticut based acoustic music from different genres on Friday night.
Check out their website: www.podunkbluegrass.com
This festival is in the Berkshire Mountains. It takes place in September while school is in session. It is really an amazing part of the world. North Adams, MA. Very close to VT. It is a Mass Moca event. If you are not familiar with Mass Moca I encourage you to look it up.
Mass Moca is an amazing Contemporary Museum built on the grounds of some sort of huge Energy Factory from yesteryear. Freshgrass is one of so many different events that take place here. The museum is part of your festival ticket. It is so amazing that a couple of weeks ago when we were a few hours away at the Joe Val Festival (during crazy Massachusets weather that nobody will soon forget), we took our daughter and friend there (hours in the opposite direction of home) just to experience the indoor part of this museum. It is really that great.
The festival must get special money from the state because the lineup is something that you would expect tens of thousands of fans to pay for. Nothing like that. It is a growing crowd but nothing you would expect for the level of talent they have.
Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival
Labor Day weekend. Always a great lineup. Traditional Bluegrass in a beautiful part of South Jersey. A tremendous jamming scene in the camping area. Really great place for picking. As expected everyone there is tremendously nice.
Since 1990, the Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival has been held at the Salem County Fair Grounds, which are located in the rolling farmland of South Jersey along US Route 40, seven miles east of the Delaware Memorial Bridge.
The stage area features a large canopy, under which a large portion of the audience is able to sit during performances and remain dry or shady, depending on the weather. There are no permanent seats in this area, so festival-goers are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs.
Check out this years schedule and information at:
Point Bluegrass Festival
On the beach in Maine on Labor Day weekend! It is literally amazing.
Here are some testimonials from their website.
Best thing since sliced bread!
No, really! I may be a little biased, I’ll admit, but I don’t think I’m wrong. One stop at the Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Special and you’ll be a believer, I’ve never met any one who wasn’t.
- Mike Mulligan
Thank you so much!
Our first year at this festival was a weekend that we never wanted to end. Thank you so much for all the hard work completed to have such a successful festival! We hope that we will have the opportunity to do it again next year!!!
- Cori Ketcham
Thanks so very much!!!
Pati and Michael – don’t know quite how to give sufficient thanks for this fabulous bluegrass festival weekend! The memories of festivals past, the frienships forged at this heavenly location, and this chance to once again end the summer at TPB with wonderful bluegrass music, perfect weather, and even more memories. . . thanks so very much!!!
- Bonnie Heulitt Fossett
I can Hula Hoop!!!
I can Hula Hoop!!! Please thank the Hula Ladies for me! I’ve been hula hooping to Sam Bush here in Charleston, SC!! And it’s best to hula hoop when you’re starting, in the DARK while listening to a show. Helps the concentration.
- Rhonda Vincent
Check out their website at:
There certainly isn't enough space to start describing how great of an experience the IBMA's are. It is the yearly conference for the industry. Plus so much more. The entire city becomes electrified. It is now in Raleigh, NC.
(Don't lend your hand to raise no flag Atop no ship of fools)
We are hoping to make this a really great website so we would like to get any suggestions you may have. Any and all suggestions are appreciated. If you make a suggestion and it seems like we are not paying attention to you please understand that there may be other things being considered. Things may not always move fast but I assure you that everything will be seriously considered and appreciated.
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Check out some of our of Favorites Forever Young, Mockingbird Music, Skillet Licker Design
(And if a man among you got no sin upon his hand
Let him cast a stone at me for playing in the band)
Did you see a great show recently? Is there a new musician you want to help spread the word about. Want to tell us of a new cd we should look for? Or maybe an old classic that some might have missed. This is the place to write upbeat Reviews about good shows you experienced. Or Shows coming to town that you know you want to tell people about.
Send to [email protected]
Subject line: "Reviews"
Stringdusters at State Theater 1/17/15
I think the Stringdusters secretly have magical powers that can heal the ill. After watching this show I had to think that if you had a bus load of depressed patients attend this show that they would be free from any symptoms of depression afterwards. You could have been deaf and still enjoyed this performance.
There must be some way to gather the energy that is produced from this band and use it to heat our homes and power our vehicles. They often take a rip roaring intense fun jam and slowly evolve it into a feeling that we are about to take off on a rocket ship. Out of nowhere there is an intense build up that you didn't notice was even happening until you are knee deep into it.
You travel with them into a galactic state that goes turbo when the band circles around whoever is playing lead or even if one member just walks over to another. The leads may start off sweet and melodic but within the timeframe of this lead you realize that you are now going much faster on this carnival ride than before.
But no need to hold on to anything because the audience has your back. Everyone in the audience seems to be having the best time ever. Whether standing or sitting or waiting at the bar for a drink, everyone is moving and grooving and having a fantastic time. Only the band members seem to be having more fun. These guys pour their souls out on the stage. One gets the feeling that each of them has really good kind souls. They must because they are sharing this really fun time.
And here is the proof that they have good kind souls. As the crowd cheers they make it very clear that they do not deserve all the credit. Numerous times during the show they politely tell us of their crew and clearly the audience all knows Drew. Drew is the soundman who seems to be appreciated like no other sound guy I ever heard of. The audience knows him and totally appreciates him as well. (Think about all the bands you see and name one sound person that is as well known as the band members.)
At one point I notice banjo player Chris Pandolfi and guitar player Andy Falco disappear from the stage. Suddenly they appear on Balcony Left and Balcony Right. The spotlights are on them and everyone is transfixed on them trading leads, sharing leads, going places I have never explored before but are pure genius. The rest of the band is holding the fort down and seem to be enjoying this spectacular performance of their bandmates tremendously.
The Stringdusters go into their own jam space. They bring us with them on this journey happily. As we were passing through they would play different hints of songs. There were Grateful Dead riffs which were quite appropriate as word just spread of the 50 year reunion that will take place this summer.
Everyone on stage sings and sings really well. The harmonies are terrific. With different lead singers the band has such a diversity. Their sound is unique and fresh with so many different voices that they clearly integrate with different combinations making every song unique and fresh.
As a member of the audience standing about 15-20 rows in front of the stage I feel an energy and excitement and happiness. At this point I think to myself that most bands that can really pic', will have a few moments where the music crescendos to a highlight of the show. A time where you may say to someone else there, "Wow, remember how great that part of the jam was". The entire Infamous Stringdusters show is a highlight.
Jehr Molloy is the inspiration for Jehr's Corner at Greyfox Bluegrass Festival.
Read below about Jehr and "Play it in G Feeg".
it in G Feeg
This was a typical line David Bromberg would yell out to Dick Fegy during a performance. This section is dedicated to those great musicians who have past on.
Send us any kind words in their memory.
Send to backstageview.com
Subject line: "In Memory"
We dedicate "Play it in G Feeg" to all who have passed on whether or not they were a musician. We run an outdoor game room at Greyfox Bluegrass Festival by the Dance Tent in honor of the Memories of those that past on. It's called Jehr's Corner. We have Chess games and other table games for anyone to come by and enjoy. Come by and say hello.
Music on Film
This section is where you make recommendations of great music on film. Documentary. Actual film with a great score...etc.
Send to [email protected]
Subject line: Music on Film
A great musical documentary and truly must see.
ARETHA FRANKLIN, MICK JAGGER, PERCY SLEDGE, BONO, ALICIA KEYS, GREGG ALLMAN, CLARENCE CARTER, JIMMY CLIFF, SPOONER OLDHAM, DONNA GODCHAUX, JAI JOHANNY JOHANSON
Highlights some fantastic moments in American acoustic music. Appealing to Traditional and Newgrass music. Most of this takes place at The Great Greyfox Bluegrass Festival.
NICKEL CREEK, TIM O'BRIEN, JERRY DOUGLAS, DEL McCOURY BAND, PETER ROWAN, TONY RICE, RHONDA VINCENT and others
How to Grow a Band
Following a divorce and the breakup of his platinum selling band , Chris Thile decides to start over with his new band The Punch Brothers going down an uncertain path.
The movie Boyhood
Great movie with a phenomenal soundtrack.