The Sound

“Who’s That Knocking At My Door” appeared on The Dreadful Snakes album Snakes Alive.

Who’s That Knocking At My Door

“I’m not a writer of songs,” said Pat Enright, 79, who, despite his declaration, was indeed the writer who penned the decidedly bluegrass song, “Who’s That Knocking At My Door,” first recorded by The Dreadful Snakes on the band’s only album, Snakes Alive! (1983, Rounder Records).  Humble to a fault perhaps, Enright’s “only” solo write…

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Claire Lynch // photo by Wayne Ebinger

Patch of Blue by Claire Lynch

A great song can be deeply personal yet decidedly universal in its ability to touch listeners. “Patch of Blue,” written by Claire Lynch and released on her award-winning Dear Sister album (2013, Compass Records), is a case in point. It wasn’t a hit single. It isn’t the fastest, grassiest number on the album. Instead, it’s…

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Jim Pankey // Photo by Jonathan Galletti

Jim Pankey

Teaching Millions to Play the Banjo You might look at the title of this article and think, “Are there really millions of people learning how to play the banjo?”  If you look at Jim Pankey’s YouTube channel and check out his “Learn To Play Bluegrass Banjo – Lesson 1,” you will see that this one…

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Frank Solivan and David Welch with their ToneSlabs picks

The Quest for Tone

The ToneSlabs Story At some point in their musical life—after acquiring a basic chord vocabulary and conquering the down-up picking pattern—most mandolinists or guitarists who play with a pick begin to think about how a pick’s shape, thickness and composition contribute to the sound they want to create. It’s just another worrisome concern if you…

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The Only Sunshine

By Jody Stecher Beautiful and unusual instrumentation, rare points of view, and intricate, natural imagery come together to create “The Only Sunshine,” an atypical love song written by Jody Stecher and released in December 2023 on his album Mile 77.  The writer behind this powerful statement song has a musical career that spans decades and…

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Sullivan Banjos

Putting The Fun In Banjos All Photos Courtesy of Eric Sullivan “Banjos = fun” is the lifelong philosophy of one American luthier. “Sullivan Banjos is fairly recent,” its current proprietor, Eric Sullivan of Alabama, shared during a recent interview. “It started in 1970 when Dad (Bill Sullivan) was working at General Electric in the tool and…

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