Adam Steffey

AdamAdam Steffey
The Mandolin Master Looks Back On A Varied Career
By Derek Halsey

The first time I heard the phrase “Steffey-style” was in the summer of 2003. I was attending the FloydFest music festival located near the I-70 milepost along the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway in southern Virginia, and the lineup was ambitious. Back in 2003, the late and great fiddler Vassar Clements was still alive and roaming the grounds that weekend. Also on the bill that year was Acoustic Syndicate, Jim Lauderdale, The Larry Keel Experience, Yonder Mountain String Band, Nickel Creek and many more acts. The star of the festival, however, was David Grisman, who presided over an Old & In The Way reunion as well as a highly-anticipated regrouping of the David Grisman Quintet.

The headlining Quintet set happens on Sunday afternoon and features Grisman, Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, Tony Rice, and Jim Kerwin. As the amazing reunion comes to an end, Grisman has a fun idea in mind for an encore. He decides to create a jam featuring some of the young talent that is still on the festival grounds. One of the pickers chosen is a 14-year-old mandolin player named Josh Pinkham, who is the great grandson of the legendary Texas fiddler Benny Thomason. As the sun begins to set, the show-ending throwdown features the David Grisman Quintet along with guests Jeff Austin, Sarah Watkins, Chris Thile, and Pinkham. Read entire article »

Adam Steffey
The Mandolin Master Looks Back On A Varied Career
By Derek Halsey

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Continuing The Cardinal Tradition
By Bill Conger

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Feller & Hill
By Michael Lohr

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May 2017 Reviews


JOHNNY STAATS AND ROBERT SHAFER MUSIC FROM THE MOUNTAINS No Label No Number The latest recording from mandolinist Johnny Staats and guitarist Robert Shafer is one characterized by all of the usual superlatives expressing expert musicianship, but perhaps more than that by the aural surprises the duo offer here. If you scan the track list, […]

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NOAM PIKELNY UNIVERSAL FAVORITE Rounder Records 1166100196 “It’s finally here! Millions of fans have clamored for the latest release from global banjo sensation Noam Pikelny, and he’s finally obliged them with the release of Noam Pikelny Plays Noam Pikelny. Oh wait, what? Oops, let’s start again.” Well, you’ll forgive me if you’ve seen the hilarious […]

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TONY HUBER AND FRIENDS BEARTRACKS: FRIENDS Tresbear Music 002 Presenting an album of all original instrumental tunes tests the capabilities of a performer, arguably, more than any other type of recording. Faced with such a prospect, most performers choose to include one or a couple of known tunes, if for no other reason than to […]

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RAY CARDWELL TENNESSEE MOON Pinecastle Records PRC1203 Bassist, singer/songwriter Ray Cardwell is making his return to bluegrass. He started in that field some many years ago, playing first with his father, then with his siblings (including long-time IBMA staffer, Nancy). Then it was into the world of rock and reggae. Now, like many other wanderers, […]

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THE ORIGINAL FIVE HAPPY LANDING Rootsy Music ROOTSY140 Part of the truth in the notion that bluegrass travels well is evidenced by the release of Happy Landing by The Original Five, a group of musicians from Sweden. This is the follow up to the band’s 2015 release Across the Deep Blue Sea. Formed in 2010, […]

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VARIOUS ARTISTS THE KNOXVILLE SESSIONS, 1929-1930 Bear Family BCD 16097     ROY ACUFF & THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN BOYS THE KING OF COUNTRY MUSIC: THE COMPLETE FOUNDATIONAL RECORDINGS, 1936-1951 Bear Family BCD 17300 As the CD format sinks slowly into the west, Bear Family still maintains a high standard for comprehensive and well-documented country and […]

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TIM CONNELL & ERIC SKYE JUNE APPLE Half-Diminished Records No Number It’s hard to get a handle on exactly what’s at hand upon popping June Apple from Tim Connell and Eric Skye into the CD player. The first thing you notice is an extremely high-quality production that showcases some of the cleanest and richest guitar […]

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DANNY BARNES STOVE UP Wendell Records WR003 According to the notes in the accompanying booklet, this latest project from Danny Barnes is a tribute to the late Don Stover, a banjo player who was a heavy influence on Barnes. While having never met Stover, Barnes attributes Stover’s 1972 Rounder LP Things In Life as the […]

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GRANT GORDY AND ROSS MARTIN YEAR OF THE DOG No Label No Number    In the list of flatpicking guitarists who came of age in the post-Tony Rice/Russ Barenberg/David Grier era, Grant Gordy and Ross Martin emerge as two standout musicians. They’ve absorbed bluegrass playing at its deepest roots while also being open to expanding their […]

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HIGH FIDELITY HI-FI BLUEGRASS No Label No Number    Once in a great while a new band and new recording comes along that captures my attention. This CD instantly propelled me to the 1950s and the music of my idols. It caught me by surprise, but shouldn’t have. I already knew Jeremy Stephens to be a […]

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BREAKING GRASS WARNING SIGNS Mountain Fever MFR170317 This new project from Breaking Grass (their fourth), features the excellent songwriting of guitarist Cody Farrar. Other members in the band include Tyler White (fiddle), Zach Wooten (mandolin), Britt Sheffield (bass), and Jody Elmore (banjo). Based in Mississippi, they have gone from a local venture to becoming a […]

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