LIFE-LONG MUSO: Grammy award-winning mandolin player Mike Compton in Lismore to perform and host workshops.
LIFE-LONG MUSO: Grammy award-winning mandolin player Mike Compton in Lismore to perform and host workshops.

Fiddling with the mandolin

THREE reasons you want to play mandolin.

One: Mike Compton, a Grammy award-winning mandolin player is doing a workshop in Lismore.

Two: He's focusing on traditional bluegrass and old-time music.

Three: Mumford and Sons album Babel out sold Justin Beiber's Believe last year.

Bluegrass, folk and neo-Americana is a big seller in the current music climate and it's not too often you get the chance to learn off someone who, himself was mentored by the father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe.

Compton has played since he was 15 years old when he became interested in his family history and enchanted by the fiddle his grandfather owned.

"I took up the mandolin because its tune is the same as the fiddle," Compton said. "I wanted to talk my cousin out of the fiddle but that hasn't happened yet."

He's hardly looked back though, having released his most recent album, Live with Joe Newberry.

And, that's not to mention the other 100 albums he's worked on including mandolin credits with Elvis Costello, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Nashville Bluegrass Band and the Grammy winning soundtrack O Brother Where Art Thou.

Compton is in the country to tour, do workshops and he's just jumped off a bluegrass cruise, which he says was really just a bluegrass conference on water.

Compton's workshop involves black blues, country blues and the fiddle music of the United Kingdom.

"If people come with mandolins," Compton said.

"It would be great if they have a working knowledge of the instrument, if they only bought it two weeks ago, I'd say the workshop would be no good to them."

At a glance

Workshop: At Northern Rivers Conservatorium on Thursday, April 4, 6-8pm. To book phone 6621 2266.

Playing: Eltham Masonic Hall, April 5, Kyogle Showground, April 6 and The Rails, Byron Bay, April 7.



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