Musician, teacher & producer Matt Brown chats with his clients, colleagues, mentors, and heroes in the music industry about their projects, their philosophy, how they "relax their grid," and what that even means. Brown has toured the nation, performed on the Grand Ole Opry twice, produced 10 albums, and was for 7 years a teaching artist at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. For the past 20 years, Matt has taught fiddle, banjo, and guitar to beginners & intermediate students of all ages, as well as professional musicians (including a GRAMMY nominee). In addition to teaching weekly, online lessons to students around the world, Matt also runs the free instructional website twofingerbanjo.com, makes YouTube and Patreon content, and works as a freelance studio musician and record producer.
Gregory Block: "I Start With A Grid"
Visual artist Gregory Block was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1986 and moved to Colorado at an early age. During his childhood, he attended a Waldorf school where he discovered a love of painting, sculpture, music, and the natural world. He continued to develop his skills as an artist and musician throughout high school, and painted whenever he could while earning his BA in biology at Colorado College. As a student, he made a conscious decision not to take any painting courses or adopt a mentor, opting instead to learn through experimentation and close scrutiny of paintings by artists he admired. After graduating in 2009, he devoted his studies to painting and has since gained recognition as “one of the most promising young artists in the representational art world” (Fine Art Today). He lives in Denver, Colorado.
Watch this episode on YouTubeGregory Block's artworkGregory Block at Gallery 1261Daniel Sprick at Gallery 1261Michael Lynch at Gallery 1261Support this show on Patreon for $2/month
Natalie Haas: "That’s Where My Heart Belongs"
Juilliard grad Natalie Haas is one of the most sought after cellists in traditional music today. She and Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser have toured as a duo for twenty years, wowing audiences at festivals and concerts worldwide with their unique sound. In this episode, Matt asks her about a number of their albums, including the latest, Syzygy. Natalie has also toured with Mark O'Connor as a member of his Appalachia Waltz Trio. As a studio musician, Natalie has been a guest artist on over 50 albums, including those of Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster, Irish greats Altan, Solas, and Liz Carroll, and Americana icon Dirk Powell. She is an associate professor at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and an instructor at music camps all around the globe.
Natalie's websiteNatalie & Brittany Haas performing togetherPatreon exclusive: Natalie shares 3 recipesRelax Your Playlist (Spotify)Support this show on Patreon for $2/month
Adam Hurt: "The Intense Banjo Geek Level"
Deemed a "banjo virtuoso" by the Washington Post, Adam Hurt has fused several traditional old-time idioms to create his own elegantly innovative clawhammer banjo sound. A highly respected performer and teacher of traditional music, Adam has played at the Kennedy Center, conducted banjo and fiddle workshops around the world, and been featured on the cover of Banjo Newsletter. In this episode, Adam talks about how his celebrated banjo approach references the Round Peak style, the difference between tempo and drive, and several of his albums: Insight, Earth Tones, Inside Out, and Back to the Earth. The latter album, his most recent, includes collaborations with Ricky Skaggs, Brittany Haas, and Paul Kowert. Patreon supporters of this show have exclusive access to a video in which Adam shows off an assortment of beautiful antique banjos. Pledge your support at $2/month to become a Relax Your Grid Superfan and gain access to every episode's bonus content.
Adam Hurt's websiteAdam's Bandcamp pageGet on Adam's waitlist for lessonsRound Peak Style Clawhammer Banjo by Brad LeftwichRelax Your Playlist (Spotify)Support this show on Patreon for $2/month
Max Allard: "It Played Itself Out Of Me"
Max Allard is a banjoist, guitarist, pianist, and composer from Chicago. He has performed in a duo with his brother Otto and with a trio (From the Start) featuring Ruben Whitaker and Otto Allard. Max recently toured with the Minneapolis-based progressive bluegrass band Barbaro. He was the winner of the 2018 RockyGrass Banjo Competition and the 2019 FreshGrass Banjo Award. He was also selected to participate in the 2020 Acoustic Music Seminar in Savannah. He is now a freshman composition student at Oberlin Conservatory. Max spoke to host Matt Brown in August 2021 about his forthcoming solo album Odes/Codes, which was produced by Jayme Stone.
Max's websiteMax's EP SoleilMax's YouTube channelMax & Matt play a fiddle tune duetthe Chilly Gonzales album Solo Piano II"Avril 14th" - Aphex TwinSupport this show on Patreon for $2/monthRelax Your Playlist (Spotify)
Bruce Molsky: “The Best Way I Know To Connect With People”
Bruce Molsky is one of the most revered “multi-hyphenated career” ambassadors for America’s old-time mountain music. For decades, he’s been a globetrotting performer and educator, a recording artist with an expansive discography including seven solo albums, well over a dozen collaborations and two Grammy-nominations. He’s also the classic “musician’s musician” – a man who’s received high praise from diverse fans and collaborators like Linda Ronstadt, Mark Knopfler, Celtic giants Donal Lunny and Andy Irvine, jazzer Bill Frisell and dobro master Jerry Douglas, a true country gentleman by way of the Big Apple aptly dubbed “the Rembrandt of Appalachian fiddlers” by virtuoso violinist and sometimes bandmate Darol Anger. Matt reminisces about studying fiddle with Bruce, and they cover a wide variety of topics including Bruce's highly-anticipated guitar album, his responsibilities as an educator, and why he likes collecting fountain pens.
Relax Your Playlist (Spotify)Bruce's websiteWilliam Hamilton Stepp playing "Ways of the World"The YouTube video Bruce recommendedPatreon exclusive: Bruce plays his guitar!Fiddle and Dough Facebook groupSupport this show on Patreon for $2/month
Jayme Stone: “I Always Wanted To Pause The World”
Jayme Stone is a musician, singer, songwriter, composer, and producer based in Colorado. He talks to Matt about the genesis of his albums Africa to Appalachia (2008) and Jayme Stone's Lomax Project (2015). Writing his latest album, aWake (2020), allowed Jayme to process some of the grief he felt upon losing his brother Michael in 2017. During the Covid-19 quarantine, Jayme engineered & produced the forthcoming debut album from Max Allard, who will be a guest on this show this fall. In addition to all the music Jayme makes, he is about to launch in August 2021 an online music business course called Compose Your Career. Check it out if you are an independent artist who wants to better arrange the business side of your working life. Relax Your Grid Superfans who support Matt Brown on Patreon for $2/month get exclusive access to a beautiful performance of Jayme playing his banjo just for you! Sign up now, and you'll get a Relax Your Grid sticker to proudly display on your travel mug or theremin case.
Jayme's websiteCompose Your CareerPatreon exclusive: Jayme plays his banjo!Relax Your Playlist (Spotify)Support this show on Patreon for $2/month
Relax your grid
I loved the podcast. Good insights on what goes into making an album. Also some hints on how to write a good song. Lots of great music from this weeks guest- Michelle Billingsley
Everything Matt Brown touches turns into gold. Including banjos. If you are a musician, you should subscribe. If you want to be a musician, you should subscribe. If you want gold, you should subscribe.