Tag: banjo


Bluegrass with a Handicap – Jarred Albright (Fiddle, Mandolin)…

Some time ago I read about two players with a handicap who despite this have become professional players in a band.

Jarred Albright

Jarred has been playing the violin since he was seven, and has taken it upon himself to learn other instruments including the mandolin and guitar. For 9 years, Jarred was involved with the Calgary Fiddler’s Association, which is a group of 15 young violinists who perform up to 100 times per year in and around Calgary.

Jarred has a deformed right hand, but he learned to play the fiddle, the mandolin and the guitar despite this. In the following video you can see Jarred Albright with all the three instruments.

Jarred Albright – Olympic Reel

A second video shows Jarred Albright with the Calgary Fiddlers. In this piece he plays the mandolin and you can hear some powerfull bluegrass fills that he plays.

Calgary Fiddlers – Pick It Apart

Barry Abernathy

Barry Abernathy is the banjo player of Mountain Heart, a progressive and successful bluegrass band. On the Mountain Heart homepage you can find some information about his biography:

Winner of 1997’s Banjo Player of the Year award from the Society for the Preservation of Blue Grass Music in America, Barry began his musical career performing bluegrass gospel with Silver Creek, but first came to national attention as a member of one of the decade’s hottest bluegrass bands, IIIrd Tyme Out. From 1994 to 1998, the Georgia-born banjo player/lead vocalist was a featured member of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, recording five albums with the award-winning ensemble before leaving to form Mountain Heart.

Barry Abernathy has learned to play the banjo in the typical bluegrass style although on his left hand he has only a thumb and a bit of the index finger. It is almost incredible to see what Abernathy can do with this deformed left hand. You can read more about Barry Abernathy in the following article:

Bluegrass player doesn’t let disability slow him down

Some excerpts from this article:

“I got to noticing it’s an open-tuned instrument,” he said of the banjo, which typically is tuned to an open G chord, which means there are more open strings available, and not as much left-hand work is required to get at least the basics together.

“Putting two and two together,” he said, “I was thinking, I could do this, and I could do that.

He gravitated toward local banjo players, getting them to show him their licks. Then he would figure out how to do it in his own way.

“It started with just wanting to learn the melody to simple songs, songs I did in church and songs that I’d heard growing up,” Abernathy said. “Then it went to trying to figure out some of the Earl Scruggs stuff.”

Read more “Bluegrass with a Handicap – Jarred Albright (Fiddle, Mandolin) – Barry Abernathy (Banjo)”

aa mandolin guitar

Steve Martin – The Crow – New Songs for…

Steve Martin is a very interesting person – he has won awards as a comedian, as an actor, as a writer and also as a musician.

Steve Martin’s album The Crow:  New Songs For the Five-String Banjo won best bluegrass album at the 2010 Grammy awards:


Steve Martin picked up Bluegrass’ biggest award at the Grammy® Awards last night. “The Crow: News Songs For the Five-String Banjo” (Rounder) was named “Best Bluegrass Album.”

I have searched for some videos that show Steve Martin as a banjo player and singer.

Saga Of The Old West – Steve Martin And Steep Canyon Rangers

Saga Of The Old West – Steve Martin And Steep Canyon Rangers.
Later With Jools Holland S35E09,2009


The third song of this album is a tune named Hoedown at Alice’s.  Steve Martin recorded another version of this tune  in 1978 already:

Steve Martin – Hoedown at Alice’s

1978, Warner Bros. Records. Side B to Mr. Martin’s “King Tut” single WBS 8577. Produced by William E. McEuen, Aspen Recording Society, recorded at Aspen Studios, Engineer: Dino Lappas.

Now a new song about a boy who is late for school:

Steve Martin “Late For School” Live in Brevard, NC. With the Steep Canyon Rangers

In this video you can see very well that Steve Martin really tells a story with this song. Steve Martin decided to write a childrens book from this song – watch the following video to hear more about this (Steve Martin Plus Kids: A Winning Combination): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9UhO1N7w8Q

Finally a nice video of Steve Martin with his clawhammer paying on the banjo:

Steve Martin banjo, frailing, clawhammer medly – Loch Lomond Sally Anne

Further Information

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Martin

Listen to Steve Martin – The Crow – with informations about all the songs: http://airplaydirect.com/music/stevemartin/

New CD: Steve Martin – Rare Bird Alert: http://airplaydirect.com/music/SteveMartin-RareBirdAlert/

Review of Rare Bird Alert: http://www.theboot.com/2011/03/14/steve-martin-rare-bird-alert-new-album-2011/

German version of this post / Deutsche Version dieses Beitrags: http://www.gezupftes.de/?p=5080

aa mandolin guitar

Chris Thile – Shadow Ridge – A Great Bluegrass…

Some time ago I bought a copy of the sheetmusic for Leading Off, Chris Thile‘s first CD. This CD has been published in 1994 when Chris Thile was just 13! It is fantastic what Chris Thile was able to play with 13!

Leading Off is the debut solo album by American newgrass mandolinist Chris Thile, released on September 25, 1994 by Sugar Hill Records.

Yesterday I began to learn the first tune in this book – Shadow Ridge. Shadow Ridge is a great bluegrass tune with interesting harmonies and playing techniques – a tune that isgreat to improve your playing skills. Especially the broken A-minor chord appeares in some places of the tune, chris Thile plays this in a way that produces a maximum of sound.

I have found two videos of this tune and the TABs – so you can listen to Sahdow Ridge and play it yourself if you want to!

Chris Thile – Shadow Ridge

A time lapse movie of the building of a garage – and with the music of Shadow Ridge as played by Chris Thile – unfortunately the music is not complet – but it is enough to hear the fantastic mandolin playing of the 13 year old Chris Thile!

Calgary Fiddlers – Shadow Ridge

The second video shows a fiddle group – the Calgary Fiddlers – who play Shadow Ridge with a lot of energy and enthusiasm.

Weitere Informationen:

Homepage Calgary Fiddlers: http://www.calgaryfiddlers.com/

Wikipedia about Chris Thile: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Thile

Tabs of  Chris Thile (tabledit format) and midi Files including Shadow Ridge: http://www.alltabs.com/chris_thile_tabs.php

Buy CD Leading off – Chris Thile (amazon partnerlink)

Buy CD Stealing Second – Chris Thile (amazon partnerlink)

aa mandolin guitar

Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussain & Edgar Meyer – Banjo,…

Three very interesting musicians have formed a very interesting trio:

  • Bela Fleck, five string banjo
  • Edgar Meyer – double bass
  • Zakir Hussain – Tabla

I have discovered this music from a broadcast at the public radio station WBUR, and I was immediately hooked by this great music.

This is an excerpt from a broadcast with an interview with the three musicians at WPUR:

Banjoist Fleck has explored connections with African music, Hussain famously played his tabla with guitarist John McLaughlin in the group Shakti and Meyer can hang with both bluegrass players and Philharmonic orchestras. Now, all three have collaborated on a new album.

Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussain & Edgar Meyer – The Melody of Rhythm – Bubbles


Now a live version of the same tune:


The next video begins with a long and very impressive solo performance of Zakir Hussain on his set of tablas, the Edgar Meywer and Bela Fleck join in.

Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer & Zakir Hussain


Further Information:

NPR artist page Edgar Meyer: http://www.npr.org/artists/15236980/edgar-meyer

Wikipedia (Engl.) about Edgar Meyer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Meyer

Find more videos of this trio: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=bela+fleck+edgar+meyer+zakir+Hussain&aq=f

CD Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn (amazon partnerlink)