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What Kind of Mandolin Should I Get?

By Wayne Erbsen Unless a free mandolin just falls in your lap, you’ll need to purchase one. When you go shopping for a mandolin, I strongly suggest that you don’t buy a cheap one off the Internet. Most of these cheapo instruments will sound like a tin can strung with barbed wire. Instead, you should… Read More »


Drifting Too Far From the Shore

Charles E. Moody was not your average gospel songwriter. He alone wrote both the words and the melody of two of the bedrock classics of country and bluegrass gospel, “Kneel at the Cross” and “Drifting Too Far From the Shore.” To get a handle on this man and the songs he wrote, let’s go back… Read More »

Cleo Davis & Bill Monroe

The Big Bang Theory of Bluegrass

By Wayne Erbsen If the “big bang theory” helps to explain the origin of the universe, perhaps “the big bang theory of bluegrass” will shed some light on the origin of the bluegrass music universe. There are two schools of thought as to the origins of bluegrass music. One has Bill Monroe singlehandedly inventing bluegrass… Read More »

lady banjo players c 1900

Playing Bluegrass Backup on Fiddle, Mandolin & Banjo

By Wayne Erbsen As you might guess, there are numerous differences between old-time and bluegrass music, although they share a lot of similarities too. In old-time music, the banjo, fiddle, and mandolin generally play the melody all at the same time. During an old-time tune, the guitar generally refrains from playing the melody and concentrates… Read More »


Dock Boggs – Only Remembered For What He Has Done

By Jack Wright Originally published in The Old-Time Herald, Volume 6, Number 5, 1998  Introduction Dock Boggs’ 1927 recordings of raw, powerful singing and distinctive banjo-playing have moved and influenced musicians, fans and scholars ever since their release. His songs that became especially well known include Country Blues, Sugar Baby, Oh Death, Prodigal Son, and… Read More »

Industrial Strength Bluegrass by Neil V. Rosenberg

[The Dayton Bluegrass Reunion (“An All-Star Salute to Dayton’s 40 Year Bluegrass Legacy”) was presented by CITYFOLK, “a nonprofitorganization designed to support the active awareness of andappreciation of folk traditions in the Dayton metropolitan area,” at Montgomery County Memorial Hall on April 22, 1989. Performers includedPaul “Moon” Mullins and Traditional Grass, Noah Crase, The Hotmud… Read More »

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