September 2021

The Tradition

Nolan Faulkner

Detroit’s  Miracle Mandolinist The muzzle of the .38 Special revolver looked as big as the mouth of the Detroit-Windsor tunnel. Six shots rang out and four bullets struck him right in the gut. Forty years later, Nolan Faulkner remembered that cold Michigan night – “Lucky for me, he was a bad shot!”  Faulkner’s near-death experience… Read the full article

Haskel McCormick

The Teenager Who Filled In for Earl Imagine that you are a high school kid who has learned how to play the banjo.  It is the mid-1950s and Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys are one of the hottest, tightest bluegrass bands in the country. You learned how to play the banjo because… Read the full article

Notes & Queries – September 2021

Notes In response to the July “Notes & Queries” piece on West Virginia fiddler Woody Simmons, we received the following note from UK-subscriber Frank Weston: “I have just received your July issue where Gary Reid replies to a question on Woody Simmons. He might like to know that just two weeks ago a short clip… Read the full article

The Artists

Dan Tyminski

Saved by Bluegrass Photos by Scott Simontacchi Forty minutes into conversation, Dan Tyminski drops an unthinkable truth. Without flinching, perhaps the most globally recognized voice in modern bluegrass explains the conflict that’s defined his journey. In spite of a tone so instantly head-turning it defined George Clooney’s character in O Brother, Where Art Thou, he… Read the full article

Bluegrass & The Novelist

Bluegrass music is about storytelling. All music is. Rooted in ancient ballads and country music story-songs, bluegrass songs (and tunes, too, to a lesser extent) tell us about the true life blues, the little cabin on the hill, the flag-covered casket, the walls of time. All of them are perfect three-minute stories.      … Read the full article

Amanda Cook

Bluegrass Girl Photos courtesy of CDC Artists, Milton, Florida Amanda Cook and her band have become a household name and regulars on the bluegrass circuit. With three CD projects under her belt, a seven-year, five-CD project contract with Mountain Fever Records and recording engineer and producer job, it is clear that Cook has her own… Read the full article

Remembering Wilma Lee Cooper

“You can’t talk about women in country music, vocal styles, rhythm guitar styles . . . without also talking about Wilma Lee Cooper.” – Alice Gerrard in SING OUT! Aug 24, 1977 For more than 30 years, Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper were among our nation’s premier country and bluegrass acts. Wilma Lee and Stoney… Read the full article

The Sound

Tradition & Innovation

Covering All—Or at Least Some Of—the Basses Once upon a time the A. P. Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers were revolutionaries.  A traditionalist scholar once complained that—by introducing guitar into songs that had been previously sung unaccompanied—the Carters just ruined them.  Jimmie Rodgers featured jazz players and Hawaiian musicians on some of his recordings, and… Read the full article

Tell Me You’re Not Leaving

Photo by Joe Worthem It’s been a few years since Volume Five cut the poignant “Tell Me You’re Not Leaving” for Milestones, the band’s seventh record for label Mountain Fever. Far from a traditional bluegrass barn burner—something this band can get around—the slower, reflective song reached #2 on Bluegrass Today charts. Lead singer Glen Harrell… Read the full article

Bill Evans and the 5-string Banjo

Photo by Snap Jackson Photography One constant in Bill Evans’ 40-plus-year banjo career is helping others learn to play and listen to music. He began teaching in his hometown, Norfolk, VA in the 1970s, while still in high school, not long after he picked up the five string. Evans remembers sitting in the living room… Read the full article

The Venu

An Interview with Pat Morris

The New Executive Director of the IBMA Photo by Casey Campbell After an impressive run, the Executive Director of the IBMA, Paul Schiminger, has stepped down and Pat Morris has taken over the reins as the post-pandemic world plays out.  Morris is well-aware of what he is walking into and has the talent and experience… Read the full article