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Bradley Laird's Grass Talk Radio Podcast

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The free podcast for people who play bluegrass music or want to!

Recent quote from a listener: Grass Talk Radio has reminded me of what I need to be focused on when playing and practicing my new instrument, instead of just wishing I could still play guitar like I used to. Thanks for reminding me to slow down and pay attention to what I'm doing, instead of trying to blast through and hoping it comes out the way I hear it in my head. Keep up the good work!

I produce this audio show to present ideas, motivation and information to my own website visitors, students, and users of my instructional materials without the strict time constraints of videos.

Many of the topics are useful for anyone learning to play any style of music, but I am focused on what I personally know the most about and that is bluegrass!

I have been a student, a performer and a teacher for 4 decades and am sharing my thoughts on things ("thinks") for people who play mandolin, banjo, bass, guitar, reso guitar. I take some "side trips" but the show is about learning to play bluegrass and for folks who play it!

Dive right in and you're bound to learn some new things and look at things in some different ways.

Click on an episode to view the show notes and listen.

Episode 1 - How to Deal With Frustration

In this episode I discuss what to do when you get disgusted with your playing and what to do about it.

Episode 2 - The Ugly Truth

In this episode I talk about something not many people are willing to tell you. You will end up doing "a" or "b". No question.

Episode 3 - Looking in the Mirror

In this episode I discuss self-analysis of your abilities and knowledge as a musician and why this is important.

Episode 4 - How To Fail or The Road Less Taken

This episode discusses, at length, two fellows who start out on the trail of becoming bluegrass musicians. Oh, how their paths begin to diverge early!

Episode 5 - Can You Teach An Old Dog New Tricks?

In this episode I look at how we train our subconscious mind through repetition, and discuss how (or if) it is possible to make changes at various stages of our musical lives. It's pretty eye opening to consider how many notes you'll play in your life!

Episode 6 - Looking for Shortcuts

In this episode I talk about the merits of seeking shortcuts versus meandering along your musical path. Enjoy!

Episode 7 - Supercharge Your Playing with "The Chip"

This episode describes, for the first time, my new "invention" I call The Chip. Then we go on a mental excursion exploring some of the "mechanical shortcuts" which have appeared over the years. Fun stuff!

Episode 8 - Documenting Your Progress

In this episode I discuss the concept of documenting your playing to measure your progress. Progress can be difficult to notice on a day by day basis and if you see real progress you'll keep at it!

Episode 9 - A Partner In Crime

In this episode I discuss how vital it is to find yourself a cohort. Someone to knock around with. Someone who "gets it" like you do! (Plus it saves your spouse and family from having to hear your endless discussions of BLUEGRASS.)

Episode 10 - Practice Versus Playing

If you don't know the real difference between practicing and playing you're always going to second rate at best. I want you to be first rate! In this episode I discuss how we learn, the difference between practice and playing, and why some people advance and others lag behind. Enjoy!

Episode 11 - David Ellis Interview

In this episode I sit down with multi-instrumental bluegrass musician and teacher David Ellis for a conversation about teaching and learning. Enjoy!

Episode 12 - See The Elephant

In this episode I describe a few of my early bluegrass festival experiences, how it felt to be a complete idiot, and how I "saw the elephant". Enjoy!

Episode 13 - Field Guide to Bluegrass Jammers

In this episode I get into the motives for attending jam sessions and describe the 12 types of folks you will encounter at bluegrass jam sessions. How many of these species have you seen "in the field" and which type are you? Have fun!

Episode 14 - Jack of All Trades

In this episode I discuss the pros and cons of playing one bluegrass instrument versus trying to learn all of them. Like many topics, I think this will get you thinking in some new ways. Enjoy!

Episode 15 - Choosing a Guide

Whether you are crossing the Great Plains in a covered wagon, or learning to play an instrument, it is a great benefit to choose a guide who has made the journey before you. Enjoy!


A technical note: iTunes can sometimes be slow about updating the "feed" in the iTunes store. You can get around this and get the episodes as soon as they are published if you manually add (subscribe) using your iTunes software. Here are the instructions. It's not hard at all. You can also use Podbean or Stitcher as an optional way of listening. Use the buttons above.

Let me know what you think by emailing me your comments and suggestions.

If you like what I am doing you can support my efforts by purchasing some of my products and by sharing my site with others.

About your host Bradley Laird.

About the intro and outro music:

The intro music is the song "Prison Walls" written by my pal and longtime bandmate Randy Godwin. The version you are hearing was recorded by Pony Express and released on the CD "Messenger".

The musicians are: Randy Godwin, bass and lead vocal; Bradley Laird, mandolin; David Ellis, banjo; Buddy Ashmore, guitar and Mike Estes, fiddle. Maybe you saw Pony Express at El Puente or Motorheads in McDonough, Georgia? We played there for 8 years!

The outro music is a clip from the song "Little Maggie" (trad.) recorded by the band Cedar Hill from Atlanta, Georgia and released on their album "Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes".

The musicians are: Jim "Duck" Adkins, banjo; Bob MacIsaac, guitar; Fred MacIsaac, bass; Bradley Laird, mandolin and David Ellis, fiddle. If you went to bluegrass festivals, or just hung around Atlanta, from 1976 until... well they are still at it!... you probably saw Cedar Hill. I was fortunate to spend 27 years standing between Bob and Duck. What fun it was!

Have something to contribute? Want to be on the show?

If you have something to say, and you think it would help the audience, contact me and let's talk about an interview.

Want to feature your band's music on the show? I am seeking recorded music to feature in each episode from bluegrass bands a) currently performing, b) have original material which they hold the copyrights to, and c) want to be heard! Contact me by email.

Have an idea, product or service that you think helps people play better bluegrass? Same deal. Contact me and I'd love to feature you or mention it on the show.