Learning to play with others can be a fearsome thing for new players, and even intermediate and more skilled players who know their instrument well are sometimes unaware of the fine points of playing in a bluegrass band. On Bluegrass Jamming Essentials, Bill Evans and Megan Lynch lead an all-star band through the basics for banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar and bass using both bluegrass standards and songs from recent recordings. Other members of the DVD band include mandolinist Adam Steffey, who has toured with Alison Krauss, Mountain Heart, Dan Tyminski and The Boxcars; guitarist Tim Stafford who holds down the rhythm in bluegrass supergroup Blue Highway and is also an Alison Krauss alumnus and bass player David Thomas who currently tours with Special Consensus.
Most people pick up one of the bluegrass instruments with an eye towards getting to play with other musicians. For some, the goal is no more grand than to participate in local jam sessions or parking lot picking at festivals, while others hope to join up with an amateur band – or even pursue playing professionally. Bluegrass Jamming Essentials, is designed to assist pickers in any of those camps make a big leap forward – or take their first baby steps.
In this 2 1/2 hour video, the band members describe the basic roles of the bass, mandolin, guitar, banjo and fiddle in the band setting, and address such crucial topics as tuning, choosing keys and tempos, proper capo use and more. Other concepts covered include backup and fills, soloing, playing with drive, a variety of song formats, and communication within a band while playing.
They demonstrate all this using familiar songs Nine Pound Hammer, Gold Rush, Knoxville Girl, Sitting On Top Of The World and more, each chosen to show these important concepts in a variety of keys, tempos and styles. And for each song, they leave a spot for you to play your own break.