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May 22, 2017
May 22, 2017: For this week’s Mandolin Mondays, I’m thrilled to have a special video of Nashville-based multi-instrumentalist Rory Hoffman test driving his brand new Voight 2-point mandolin with an incredible improvised blues.
Rory’s inimitable and virtuosic playing across a plethora of different instruments and genres has made him somewhat of a Nashville legend. Over the years he has toured, performed, and recorded with such musicians as Ricky Skaggs, Kathy Mattea, John Cowan, Kasey Musgraves, and many more. His technical artistry and mastery of improvisation shine through in this impromptu composition.
In this video, Rory is playing his gorgeous new 2-point mandolin that he ordered from luthier Dan Voight. Also in Nashville, Dan is a talented builder who makes top-notch instruments at a competitive price. Contact him here for more info about his instruments: http://voightmandolins.com/
Videography by Brandon Vestal: https://vimeo.com/brandonvestal
Connect with Rory and Dan at the links below:
May 15, 2017
May 15, 2017: Creator of Mandolins Heal the World, Don Julin is here with us this week playing a sweet Led Zeppelin song on his Airline Electric Mandola.
Don Julin is a Michigan-based performer and instructor who has been at the forefront of mandolin education for many years. In 2012, Don wrote and released the popular mandolin learning resource, Mandolins for Dummies–a veritable smorgasbord of mandolin history, exercises, techniques, and tunes for any mandolin nerd out there. He’s been featured on staff at some of the premier mandolin workshops in the country, including Rockygrass Academy, the Mandolin Symposium, and many others. And more recently, Don started the new online mandolin video lesson platform, Mandolins Heal the World.
Don Julin gives us the scoop on his video: “Here is my arrangement of The Rain Song from Led Zeppelin’s fifth album entitled Houses Of The Holy. This album was one of the LP’s I purchased with my own money from my very first summer job. It can be fun to go back to a song or an album from your past and see if it “holds up”. I liked LZ when I was 14 and still like them now at 56. This stripped-down, fairly easy to play, abridged arrangement is loosely based on the electric guitar part. The original recording was quite layered including acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and two string orchestra parts played on a mellotron and of course Robert Plant’s lead vocal. It was also over seven minutes long.
I am playing an Airline Electric Mandola strung G-D-A-E with single strings. This setup gives it a low pitched electric guitar type of timbre with a lot of sustain, but still tuned in fifths. The signal chain for you gear junkies is as follows: Airline Electric Mandola – MXR Dynacomp – MXR Phase 90 – Boss RE-20 effects pedal – 1950’s Harmony Amplifier (H204).”
Connect with Don for more info about his music at the links below:
May 8, 2017
May 8, 2017: A swinging Jethro Burns tune plus a Rattlesnake mandolin plus Nashville cat Casey Campbell equals all the good notes for this week’s Mandolin Monday video.
Casey Campbell has as deep roots in bluegrass as just about anyone in the business. Son of fiddler and Bluegrass Boy Jimmy Campbell, Casey literally took his first steps in Bill Monroe’s dressing room at the Grand Ole Opry. Since then he’s made a name for himself on the mandolin playing with the Vickie Vaughn Band and the Bryan Sutton Band, while filling in for such top-tier groups as the Del McCoury Band, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Chris Stapleton, and many other artists in the Nashville scene.
Casey’s most recent mandolin endeavor is his new record, Mandolin Duets: Volume 1. Fresh off the press, this album features Casey’s tasty playing alongside a host of mandolin giants, including David Grisman, Ricky Skaggs, Jesse McReynolds, and many others. Definitely deserves a place in any mando-lover’s music collection. Check it out here: https://caseycampbell.bandcamp.com/album/mandolin-duets-volume-one
Here’s Casey with a few words about the video: “This is a tune written by Jethro Burns in honor of Sam Bush’s bushy hair. I came across it while listening through the Mike O’Connell / Jim Nikora lesson tapes featuring a treasure trove of Jethro licks and arrangements (you can find those files here: http://www.theacousticcompany.com/jethro/index.html). In preparation for the Mandolin Duets: Volume One project, I made a list of some of Sam’s tunes that I wanted to record with him as duets. I tossed this tune in the middle of the list, and luckily Sam was really into the idea of trying it out. He and I sat in his living room one day with the practice tape recording and a copy of “Mel Bay presents Jethro Burns Mandolin Player” looking at the sheet music and trying to learn this tune. It was such a blast and a complete honor to record “Sam’s Bush” with Sam to not only celebrate his mandolin style, but also to pay tribute to the great Jethro Burns. I hope you enjoy it!”
Connect with Casey at any of the links below for more info about his music and tour schedule:
May 1, 2017
May 1, 2017: Los Angeles-based jazz mandolinist Alex Heflin joins Mandolin Mondays this week with a tasty solo arrangement of his original tune, “Benjamin.”
Alex has been making waves in recent years with his own youtube channel. Every Friday he posts a creative cover featuring his adept playing on the mandolin and multiple other instruments. Alex also transcribed and published a great collection of monumental jazz mandolin solos in his book called the Mandolin Omni Book: http://store.alexheflin.com/
Here’s Alex with a word about this video: “First of all, my thanks to David for letting me participate in my absolute favorite series on YouTube. He’s an outstanding player and it couldn’t be more of an honor to be a part of Mandolin Mondays. This is a quick little solo rendition of the tune Benjamin off my new mandolin/upright bass duo record. The tune is essentially an f minor blues with a couple extra bars in there, and was named after an old dog of the family’s. The new record, titled “Hats Off” features just this mandolin and Mike Gurrola on upright bass – on this tune and seven others. If you dig this, check it out!”
The new record is coming out this week on May 5th–be sure to grab a copy. Alex plays a Blue Marlin electric mandolin which he built himself based on the Paul Lestock Jazzbo mandolins. The mandolin has custom Kent Armstrong pickups played through a Fishman Loudbox Artist on this video. Connect with Alex at the links below for more info about his music:
April 24, 2017
April 24, 2017: Tristan Scroggins is with us this week for a solo mandolin rendition of a Bela Fleck tune on his power house Stellings S-5 mandolin.
Based in the mid-west, Tristan is one of the leading young, creative voices on the mandolin today. He plays full time with the prolific Jeff Scroggins & Colorado band—they have been called one of the hardest working bluegrass bands on the scene. And when he’s not too busy touring, Tristan writes his own blog about the nuances of bluegrass history and sound called The Why Lonesome Sound: http://nerdgrass.blogspot.com/
Most recently, Tristan has recorded a duo album with fiddler Alisa Rose entitled GRANA, set to be released on May 23rd. It features a collection of creative tunes and fresh improvisations, and it’s definitely worth checking out: https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/c…ins-Rose-GRANA
Here’s Tristan with a few words about the tune: “This is a tune written by Bela Fleck for his 1984 album Double Time which was all duets. The tune is called ‘Another Morning.’ This one was a duet with Jerry Douglas. I actually originally learned this from a live recording of Bela doing it solo at telluride and i played that version in my high school talent show. But for this i actually went and tried to arrange both the banjo and dobro parts to be played on the mandolin. This is filmed in Amsterdam if thats of any interest.”
Connect with Tristan for more info about his writings, music, and tour dates at the links below: