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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!
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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.
In this episode I discuss what to do when you get disgusted with your playing and what to do about it.
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.
In this episode I discuss self-analysis of your abilities and knowledge as a musician and why this is important.
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!
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!
In this episode I talk about the merits of seeking shortcuts versus meandering along your musical path. Enjoy!
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!
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!
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.)
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!
In this episode I sit down with multi-instrumental bluegrass musician and teacher David Ellis for a conversation about teaching and learning. Enjoy!
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!
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!
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!
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!
Scott Tichenor is one of the unsung heroes of the internet. His website, MandolinCafe.com has influenced and brought together untold thousands of mandolin enthusiasts. Enjoy the chat!
I finish telling the story about the semi-nightmarish, yet fun, jam session on Little Roy Lewis' back porch and then I tell about the first three times I saw Bill Monroe perform. Every bluegrasser needs a working knowledge and appreciation for the man Bill Monroe, pater familias. Oddball episode, I know, but kinda fun.
In this episode I share a conversation with world class musician Mike Marshall. We chat about how he got started, how he learned to play, how he became plugged in to the bluegrass and the "Dawg Music" scene and lots of other stuff. Enjoy!
In this episode I talk about some simple things you can do to improve your playing. Simple to say, perhaps a bit harder to put into practice. I suppose this advice is similar to the 10 commandments. Easy to say. You can jot 'em down on two stone tablets. Doing them? Well, that might be a tad more difficult.
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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.