Dawg Mail: David Grisman types about mandolin, family and Jerry Garcia | Sound Stories & Interviews | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
The Source Weekly’s reporting is made possible by the power of your support. Be a part of it!
Search
Settings
Pin It
Favorite

Dawg Mail: David Grisman types about mandolin, family and Jerry Garcia 

A lot of words come to mind when someone mentions the name David Grisman, but "technologically advanced" likely wouldn't be near the top of the list. Or even on the list at all, for that matter. But when the mandolin master and bluegrass innovator received a list of questions via email (per his request) he fired back his thoughtful responses in a stunning two hours.

He must have one of those iPads or something, because that's impressive. And especially impressive for a guy who's known for preserving and promoting a style of music that harkens back to the earliest days of American music. As a young man in the early 1960s, Grisman began playing in jug bands and would soon meet, and heavily influence another young musician by the name of Jerry Garcia. The two would go onto collaborate for the years to come with Grisman playing on the Grateful Dead's iconic American Beauty. He might not get a ton of credit for it, but you know that gorgeous mandolin on "Ripple"? Well, that's Grisman.


Grisman has had a legendary career of his own to the point that his style of bluegrass mixed with jazz and other elements has been dubbed "Dawg music", referring to the mandolin virtuoso's nickname.

Here are the highlights of Grisman's speedy email responses:

The Source Weekly: There are several new younger bands in the indie rock/indie folk world (Mumford and Sons, etc.) that are taking cues from bluegrass music and several of them have referenced you as an influence. How does it feel to see bluegrass-influenced sounds appealing more to young people?

David Grisman: It's fine with me, as long as it produces good music. Bluegrass was a huge influence on me when I was younger. I agree with Duke Ellington, who maintained that there are only two kinds of music - good and bad!

You also see the mandolin more and more with younger acts. Is that nice to see for you?

Again, it ain't the meat, it's the motion.

Speaking of young people, your son, Samson, has been playing music with you for a while now. Did you draw him to bluegrass music or was it essentially in his blood?

Sam grew up listening to all kinds of music around our house, as did my other two older kids. He really took to this stuff at an early age and started playing bass (his first word was "bass") when he was very young. Since I could tell that he had a natural ability, I tried to foster that, but he came to this music naturally and really loves it. It's great to play with him anytime, on a stage or anywhere else.

You spent some time with your Folk Jazz Trio this year - will we be seeing more of that in the months and years to come?

Hopefully it will be an ongoing thing. Jim Hurst is a gas to play and sing with, as is Sam. We already have some bookings for next year .That project is available at AcousticOasis.com, my latest venture in music distribution. We have 40 some odd titles now, most of which are only available there. Also there's a free tune everyday. Check it out!

Why do you think bluegrass music has survived all these years whereas other styles haven't had the same sort of longevity?

I'm a firm believer that great art, music and ideas will stand the test of time, because it becomes part of peoples lives - the good part.

You're a guy who's known to engage in plenty of collaborations. Are you working with anyone particular right now?

I have ongoing musical collaborations going on all the time with all three of my working ensembles, and other musical friends like Andy Statman, Martin Taylor, Frank Vignola and John Sebastian. I also play a lot at home with my talented wife, Tracy. We've even played several duo gigs together. She's also an incredible artist who specializes in musical portraiture.

Granted, you've built a hell of a reputation on your own, but does it ever irk you that most people would say "Oh yeah, he played with and influenced Jerry Garcia" upon hearing your name? Do you mind being essentially permanently linked to the legacy of Jerry Garcia?

I've been fortunate to have had many talented musical friends from all walks of musical life. I count my relationship with Jerry as a blessing on many levels. I've often said that if all I ever did was give Andy Statman his first mandolin lesson, that I'd consider my life a success. Same with Jerry. I appreciate every last note. It's not up to me what people appreciate. I'm glad they related to any of it!

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Triple Whammy

    Triple Whammy

    Eric Leadbetter helps bring joy to the music scene, food industry and hospital workers with the St. Charles Meal Mission
    • Jun 1, 2020
  • Life in the 'Badlands' ▶ [with video]

    Life in the 'Badlands' ▶ [with video]

    Casey Parnell's debut solo album is set to the background of nature
    • Jul 29, 2020
Today | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
Sweet Red & The Hot Rod Billies

Sweet Red & The Hot Rod Billies - River's Place

Sun., Aug. 1, 6-8 p.m.
Submitting an event is free and easy.

Newsletter Signup

Get Central Oregon daily news
directly in your inbox

Get Social

Latest in Sound Stories & Interviews

  • Shireen Amini Breaks Free

    • Jul 28, 2021
    The Bend artist releases a vulnerable and empowering album that celebrates finding the joy in being yourself More »
  • "Shoot The Moon"

    • Jul 21, 2021
    Jeshua Marshall's new single is the first step toward the Redmond musician's debut solo album this fall More »
  • Artist Fact Sheet: Madison Cunningham

    • Jul 14, 2021
    The Grammy-nominee heads to town for a Sisters Folk Festival show More »
  • More »

More by The Source Staff

  • Bend's Trees

    Bend's Trees

    Past, Present and Future
    • Jul 28, 2021
  • 2021 Redmond Issue

    2021 Redmond Issue

    • Jul 21, 2021
  • Water Issue 2021

    Water Issue 2021

    From droughts to dams to glaciers and canoeing, there's lots to explore with water in Central Oregon
    • Jun 9, 2021
  • More »

Want to advertise with us?

For info on print and digital advertising, >> Click Here

© 2021 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA AVE, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation