Mandolin music

Have not had any free time to play on ag for a time. Need to ask a question.

I was with the flu a month or 2 ago and while asleep on the couchIheard amosbeautiful song from a man named Marty Setwart ( I think ) It was on Austin City Limits I think? Couldnt tell you the name of the song or any details, (had some really great cough syrup from the dr.)
Decided then I needed to learn to play this instrument.
My father in-law has already did the bluegrass thing 20 yrs ago and I like bluegrass but not what I'm after.

I like the sound of Heart, and some sounds but would like to expand my horizions. Dont really like the celt or even the Jethro Tull sound but I can appreciate good or original good music.

Dont know what I am really after, not something to try to replicate playing im still learning chords and runs. ( but I do play a vintage Gibson lp and a tube marshall)

Kind of likespacey hipnotic music, alt.rock, or anything really cool or in great taste.


Nickle Creek- Chris Thile is a mandolin God.
Jimmy Staats- Wires and Wood
David Grisman- Any Tone Poems CD

If you like mandolin you've got to have these!
cowboy junkies - alt.?
son volt - alt count
wilco - alt count
uncle tupelo - sonvolt/wilco
dave matthews band - ?
mike johnson - guitar
david poe - blue alt
wall flowers - pop?
Check out Andy Statman. He is now a klezmer musician, but he kicked out a mandolin cd about 20 years ago called Andy's Ramble which is sort of soft blue grass mandolin. Andy is a terrific musician and truly a great mandolin player.

Also check out Paul Glasse. Is it jazz mandolin? Sort of. But whatever it is, it is very nice.
Of course anything by David Grisman as mentioned above. DG
tends toward alt.bluegrass as opposed to Sam
Bush is also in this category.

For bands, I think you'd really like Leftover
Salmon and String Cheese Incident.

Also check out anything with Matt Flinner. He's been touring
with Leftover Salmon recently but has a couple of solo discs
on Compass - check out "A View From Here" great stuff. More jazz influence than the DG/SB stuff.
I'm guessing that you saw Marty Stewart who mostly does country but comes from a bluegrass background.

Definitely check out David Grisman who was a long time buddy of Jerry Garcia and has taken the mandolin to places where no mandos gone before. His label Acoustic Disc has lots of interesting mandolin music which is generally recorded live in his home studio with minimal processing and wonderful vintage mikes and equipment. First class fidelity.

And for lot's of mando info and links check out
Some good suggestions already, esp. Grisman, but I'd also recommend going back to the master, Bill Monroe, before you decide for good that bluegrass mandolin is not what you're after. Grisman's got the jazzy complexity, but no one has topped old Bill M. in the category of power.

Better known for his guitar playing, Norman Blake is a less flashy, but very solid and tasteful mandolin player in the old-time country music tradition.

But if you really want some wild ensemble playing, check out the "Mando Mafia." I've seen them live many times and they're fantastic. You can order their cd's at
Don Stiernberg is a real sleeper. He's worked with many of the big names and his album can be found on
You really need to check out the Jazz Mandolin Project. It was started by Jamie Masefield, a wonderful mandolin player, and explores all kinds of interesting musical territory, much of which is NOT typically associated with the mandolin. THe name suggests jazz obviously, but that is only the starting point. Over several albums, they seem to touch on about every genre imaginable. I am particularly found of their first album. It is mainly a trio album, with Masefield, Stacy Starkweather (he plays a phenomenal fretless bass, with a wonderful round tone), and Gabe Jarrett (yes, Keith Jarrett's son). The albums are extremely well recorded as well. I use the first disc frequently when testing out new equipment, because of the dynamics and the nuances of the instruments.

For more info, check out there website at

Happy listening. . .
I'm interested primarily in classical music, chamber in particular, but to "broaden my horizons" I've started to consider bluegrass. In response to a review, in The Audiophile Voice, of "So Long of a Journey" by a band called Hot Rize, I bought the CD and really enjoy it. The four members are all great musicians, but you asked about mandolin so I'll mention Tim O'Brien, who plays that instrument and "fiddle", as someone you might enjoy also.

Since I'm brand new to this music, I can't be of much help in suggesting other recordings. In fact, I might ask for recommendations myself. I don't want anything without a natural acoustic soundstage and imaging, however. The Hot Rize CD is terrific from that standpoint, as well as the musicianship. I'd like to find others that compare favorably.