Bluegrass Music Musical Instruments

Tidbits #4: ArtistWorks, SPBGMA, Landon Bailey, and Me!

I’m not into football like I was before the whole “take a knee” thing. I won’t be watching the Super Bowl. I do think that it is funny that after over a decade of QB-ing for the Detroit Lions and nothing to show for it, Matt Stafford’s first year with a different team has led him to the big game. He played amazing with the Lions, but with a lackluster supporting cast, he could never get any respect from the NFL or press, but if LA wins, He has a chance to be a hall of famer.

But enough of that! Let’s talk music, specifically bluegrass! Have you checked out the ArtistWorks YouTube channel lately? It has always had some great instructional videos on its channel, but the last month has been fantastic! Great lessons from Chris Eldridge of The Punch Brothers, banjo legend Tony Trischka, and mandolin magician Sierra Hull. However, the best two videos they have posted recently are fiddle duets with Darol Anger and Bronwyn Keith-Hynes. This is old-time fiddling on overdrive. ArtistWorks has always been a great resource for beginner to intermediate musicians wanting to learn more. If you have never checked this channel or ArtistWorks’ website, do it soon!

I regret not being able to go to the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA) last month in Nashville. I will do whatever I can to go next year. In the meantime, attendee Stephen Hudson captured a lot of jamming going on with his video camera. What is always great with bluegrass jams is that pros sit in with amateurs and it ends up a good time. The amateurs feel blessed to get a chance to jam with a hero, and the pros get to be regular guys/girls, while also seeing what is out there amongst the fans. I have said it before – bluegrass artists are the only artists that I am aware of that regularly rub elbows with their fans, getting to know a lot of them personally (there are a lot of bluegrass musicians playing big stages that I call good friends), and will stay until the last autograph is signed. Now, check out one of Stephen’s videos.

There are a lot of people on YouTube that review guitars, amplifiers, and effects pedals. I’ve subscribed to some of them, and one in particular that amuses me is Landon Bailey. His delivery is a combination of Bill Murray, Steven Wright, and Don Imus. You can never guess what his next video will cover, except that it will have something to do with music. Like his 15-minute video of a wind-up metronome clicking at 100 beats per minute. Check him out, you will love his wry sense of humor.

Finally, I put a video on my channel that is a lesson on beginner bluegrass bass with an electric bass guitar. It is rough to say the least, as it was my first attempt at editing, and since I use an older digital camcorder, the video can be grainy when there is not full light. Take a look, and please give me some feedback.

Chew on it and comment.


By Matt Merta/Mitch Matthews

Musician and writer (both song and print) for over 30 years. Primarily interested in roots music (Americana, bluegrass, blues, folk). Current contributing writer for Fiddler Magazine, previous work with Metro Times (Detroit), Ann Arbor Paper and Real Detroit Weekly, as well as other various music and military publications. As songwriter, won the 2015 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest (Bluegrass Category, "Something About A Train," co-written with Dawn Kenney and David Morris) as well as having work performed on NPR and nominated for numerous Detroit Music Awards.

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