On this instructional and entertaining session, the "father of bluegrass" discusses and demonstrates the instrumental techniques which have changed the course of American music.
On Lesson 1, Bill Monroe plays twenty-seven great tunes (some recorded here for the first time), including favorites such as "Rawhide," "Wheel Hoss," "Tennessee Blues," "Dusty Miller," "Roanoke," "Pike Country Breakdown," "Blue Grass Stomp,"Get Up John," "Katie Hill" and "Rocky Road Blues."
The camera's eye reveals, up close and in detail, Bill's incredible facility and inventiveness on the mandolin. He plays and sings both solo and backed up by the Blue Grass Boys.
In an intimate conversation with fellow musician John Hartford, Bill discusses a wide variety of topics: His musical development, ideas about performing and song writing, memories of childhood, early touring days, his years on the Grand Ole Opry and much more.
On Lesson 2, the great contemporary mandolinist Sam Bush takes apart Bill Monroe's playing and teaches many of the songs in a way that will help all aspiring players.
As a SPECIAL BONUS, we have added previously unseen footage of a performance for President Jimmy Carter at the White House in 1980, including rare duets between Bill Monroe and Doc Watson.
"This two-video set is a solid introduction to the playing (and personality) of Bill Monroe. Video One, all by itself, leaves no doubt that Bill Monroe is the master. Video Two is devoted to in-depth analysis of some of the tunes featured in Video One, as taught by Sam Bush. . . . Both are entertaining, informative, and useful to mandolin players of any level." -- Victory Review
". . . two extraordinary videos . . . .The two videos meet the performer on his own terms and should be considered, as Hardy wrote, twin halves of one august event. The effort and care of production are readily apparent. The videos are entertaining, instructive beyond measure and, in my humble opinion, absolutely essential." -- Bluegrass Unlimited
"I just want to take a moment to praise your work with Smithsonian/Folkways on the production of this 2-DVD set. This is a masterpiece not only on an instructional level, but on a documentary level as well. When you watch DVD volume #1, it is like going to a jam and meeting Mr. Monroe in person and getting the chance to visit with him and talk about his music and life. This volume stands on its own as a documentary masterpiece. Volume 2 gets down to some serious instructional business with Sam Bush, a brilliant instructor and musician, breaking down the tunes from volume 1 to a level of detail that makes the material obtainable by any mandolin player. This set is a truly great work and I highly recommend it to anyone who is a Bill Monroe fan (like myself) and/or who aspires to play bluegrass mandolin. This is a truly fitting tribute to the "Father of Bluegrass Music." -- Jeff Rose