In Praise of Billy Strings

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Bob Lefsetz recently wrote enthusiastically about Billy Strings and I wrote in to say more about Billy the artist and performer. Billy is “one of ours” and his amazing success rightfully makes us proud. Here’s my message as published in the Lefsetz letter: I’m a regular reader, and I’ve never written to you. But because Billy Strings is a bluegrass artist, and I’m a lifelong bluegrass pro who served 15 years as president of the International Bluegrass Music Association, I thought I’d contribute some perspective about what makes Billy special.… Read More

Pete’s Memories of Earl

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Author David Russell recently approached Pete concerning a book he’s writing on the influence of Earl Scruggs. Thirty years after writing the Masters of the Five String Banjo large chapter about Scruggs, Pete’s answers to Russell’s questions lets the reader in on some memorable aspects of his interactions with the man who changed his life.… Read More

Tim O’Brien’s Presentation Speech

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Pete won IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Award in 2010. Friend and bandmate Tim O’Brien presented the award, and what follows is his presentation speech.… Read More

Death of Pete Seeger

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(May Day, 2032) America’s venerable folk singer, Pete Seeger, passed away yesterday at the age of 123. Seeger had never expected to die, but caught cold Jan. 16 at an all-night vigil in Siberia for disrespected former comrades. He was … Read More

Spreading Bluegrass!

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Pete receives a touching letter from a Grade School Music Teacher.… Read More

Ralph Stanley Turns 80

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Somehow Ralph Stanley makes me imagine what might result from the union of a wise mountain spirit and an mischievous elf. His voice unabashedly penetrates the centuries, hollering, grieving, crying holy, telling stories, sad and strange.… Read More

Pete Wernick: A Sociologist of Note(s)!

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This article appeared in the Fall 2006 issue of Michigan Sociological Review. by Joe Verschaeve You may have seen this guy in one of the many performance halls that he has played across the globe. Maybe you caught the episode … Read More

A New Direction for Teaching and Learning Bluegrass Music

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The best bluegrass teaching is tuned to a student’s motivating desire to play music in a social context. Novices should be taught basic rhythm playing right away on slow easy songs first, following simple chord changes by watching a guitar. This is the beginning and the foundation of “playing real bluegrass” and comes with enough rewards to spark practicing and preparation. As new skills are learned, they are immediately applied to the jam, building enjoyment and motivation.It’s fun and it’s fundamental!… Read More

Sound Technicians

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The letters printed in this issue of Bluegrass Unlimited raise familiar concerns.Other than plugged-in instrumentalists and drummers, I can’t think of a more maligned and unappreciated group of people within our industry.… Read More

Fan Letter

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Dear Pete, Thanks for being so generous all through the years, both with your music and with yourself! I “discovered” your web site today and wanted to add my voice to the throngs of people who are forever in your debt for inspiring us to be better banjo players and better people.… Read More

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