I just found this article from Strings Magazine on our intrepid bass instructor Marshall Wilborn titled "Late Learner Wins Coveted Bluegrass Award." It quotes the iconic "Ready, Marshall?" "Ready, Murphy!" exchange that takes place on our Beginning and Intermediate Bass DVDs. It's not dated, but it appears to be from late last year.
Well, a LOT of people showed up for this jam. There must have been 14 or 15 musicians there. Pretty often that means it's hard to get songs and tunes to sound good, since there are so many guitar players (6 or 7, in this case) and so many other musicians (8 or 9, I guess) that it's hard for people to hear each other well. The two most important parts of each beat--- the on-beat and the off-beat--- are just out of focus. But this time, things were different!
As we were getting our instruments out and tuning up to play, who should walk in but Marshall Wilborn--- only one of the best bass players in the world. Marshall is extremely quiet and shy, but he plays world-class bass rhythm. And we happened to be right next to each other in the jam.
Now, being right next to Marshall had at least two advantages: (1) I could always hear where the beat was, with Marshall playing his solid bass notes; and (2) I could chunk my mandolin rhythm exactly between those bass notes and define the off-beat for everybody (the mandolin I was playing, Randy Wood #3, is not a shy mandolin). So the rhythm never got out of focus, with the bass and the mandolin going, BOOM. chunk. BOOM. chunk. BOOM. chunk. BOOM. chunk. Everybody heard the beat, and everybody heard the off-beat. And everybody played together. There's nothing like it.
Next time you're in a jam session, pay attention to the rhythm. It can make the music better for everybody!
At Thursday night's awards show one of our favorite banjo players took home the award for Banjo Player of the year: Kristin Scott Benson. Kristin plays with the Larry Stephenson Band and is the second woman to take home the title, the first being Alison Brown in 1991. The other nominees in the category---Earl Scruggs, J. D. Crowe, Jimmy Mills, Ron Stewart--- were unbelievably stiff competition.
Kristin was modest enough to think that it was a fluke that she was nominated at all, so when she won, she was very surprised. She gave a great speech, giving lots of credit and thanks to her parents, who were in attendance that night because her husband, Wayne Benson, was taking care of their son Hogan.
Dale Ann Bradley took home Female Vocalist of the Year for the second time in a row.
Kristin and Dale Ann were the only women to take home awards this year, although Gillian Welch and David Rawlings's song "By The Mark" won Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year.
The before and after parties were great fun. This is FiddleStar/Murphy Method Camp co-host Megan Lynch and myself:
And here is Lynn Morris and Bass Player of the Year nominee Marshall Wilborn, who presented the awards for Vocal Group and Album of the Year:
The dress I'm wearing was made by my grandmother for my mom's Junior-Senior prom. It was a pretty big hit, I have to say. Last but not least, here is me with my brother and fellow TMM instructor Chris Henry:
We've just added a clip from our Beginning Bass DVD to YouTube. Here it is: