The Mandolin of Bill Monroe, Vol. 1
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On this instructional and entertaining session, the "father of bluegrass" discusses and demonstrates the instrumental techniques which have changed the course of American music.
Bill Monroe plays twenty-seven great tunes (some recorded here for the first time), including favorites such as "Rawhide," "Wheel Hoss," "Tennessee Blues," "Dusty Miller," "Roanoke," "Pike Country Breakdown," "Blue Grass Stomp,"Get Up John," "Katie Hill" and "Rocky Road Blues."
The camera's eye reveals, up close and in detail, Bill's incredible facility and inventiveness on the mandolin. He plays and sings both solo and backed up by the Blue Grass Boys.
In an intimate conversation with fellow musician John Hartford, Bill discusses a wide variety of topics: His musical development, ideas about performing and song writing, memories of childhood, early touring days, his years on the Grand Ole Opry and much more.
As a special bonus, we have added previously unseen footage of a performance for President Jimmy Carter at the White House in 1980, including rare duets between Bill Monroe and Doc Watson.
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John Hartford does a great job of staying out of the way and allowing Bill Monroe to show his technique without interruption or opinion. You can see John just wanting to push further and get a more descriptive lesson, but he is also wise enough to understand that Bill Monroe is a great talent, but not a teacher. Let him play and see what you can learn is the best approach. It's interesting to see John ask Bill to "play that section a little slower" and Bill graciously plays the section over - at the pace he just played it. Funny, but very telling.
There are some very poignant monents as well. When Mr. Monroe talks about going back home to an empty house while discussing one of his compositions will bring tears to your eyes. And, when he addresses "Last Days on Earth" one cannot help but be moved by the sincerity and emotion in his playing and his demeanor. It touches your soul.
Personally, I learned much more from this Volume One than I did from Sam Bush's more instructional Volume 2 of the same title. While Sam's is more nuts and bolts, just watching Bill was much more earthy and sticking than Volume 2. It may be best to get both, but if you have to choose, I would highly recommend Volume One as, by far, the best.
Thank you Bill for leaving this for us. Lessons I will never forget.
It is nice to have Volume 2 of this set to see Sam Bush disect a some of the music on this DVD.
This DVD is fun to watch even if you aren't a mandolin player. It's great for any bluegrass fan.
If you are a mandolin player, you are better off getting both Volume 1 and Volume 2 of this set.