The Sad Reality of Bluegrass

The Sad Reality of Bluegrass

Hey Ozzie, My friends (not musicians) tell me that the bluegrass songs I sing are too dark for them. They say bluegrass is a sad genre, often about bad people. Are they right? Ozzie: I think they’re being too hard on the music. Sure Poor Ellen Smith is a song about a...
When is an Unpaid Gig Get To Be Too Much?

When is an Unpaid Gig Get To Be Too Much?

Hi Ozzie. My name is Mike. Several guys in our band want us to play a festival that’s 700km away. We won’t get paid and we’ll be on the road for a week. Should I agree to this idea? It would mean taking seven days of my accrued holidays and leaving my wife in charge...
Banjo Sound and Setup

Banjo Sound and Setup

Question: I took my banjo to a jam last week and met another banjoist who had the same make and model and it sounded so much better than mine. We use the same brand and gauge of strings, and the same picks, so how could that be? Ozzie: Although there are now many...
Is There a Bluegrass Middle Ground

Is There a Bluegrass Middle Ground

Question: I like playing Old Time bluegrass, but the other pickers in my neighbourhood all want to play hot, fast, contemporary bluegrass. Is there a ‘middle ground’ that we all can share, socially? Ozzie: There is always a middle ground, but this ‘demarcation’ occurs...
When is an Unpaid Gig Get To Be Too Much?

Breaking Strings – Is It Normal?

Question: I break strings quite often while playing. Is this normal? Ozzie: It’s not clear what you mean by ‘quite often’, but if it’s every time you jam and play loud, it’s too often. Assuming that your strings are tuned to A440 concert pitch (and no higher), and are...