Down Home Up Here Workshops: A Conversation with Stash Wyslouch

In the next installment of the Down Home Up Here Workshop interviews, Passim spoke with Stash Wyslouch, who will be teaching “Intro to Bluegrass Guitar” during the Festival. Stash has been coming to Passim since the Fall of 2005, when he played at an open mic. Since then, his relationship with Passim has expanded and deepened - he now plays and teaches here occasionally. A member of the Deadly Gentlemen, Stash is without a doubt a strong presence in the Boston music scene and an exciting addition to our festival.

Stash didn’t always play guitar in the bluegrass tradition, though - he started playing heavy metal when he was 12, and continued on the electric guitar through middle and high school. When he was 18, he bought a mandolin and started to get into acoustic music. It was only a matter of time before he picked up a guitar, and transferred from Tufts University to Berklee College of Music. There he began developing his ability to play with others and in many different styles.

Stash’s workshop will focus on playing melodies on a guitar using the flatpicking style. Students will be encouraged to make their own simple melodies and be taught variations and techniques useful to playing bluegrass and country music. The workshop is geared for intermediate and high level guitar players, who are familiar with all open chords and basic picking technique. Stash teaches with a universal approach - rather than just putting notes in front of someone for them to replicate, he tries to help people find their voices.

One of Stash’s strengths is his ability to play with lots of different people.

"Guitar is often in the background, so learning to interact with people, which is often the heart of folk, bluegrass, and country, is really important. Interacting with people is really what it’s all about. It’s about community, which is kind of what Passim is all about too."

Why make Stash your teacher? Besides his fantastic ability, he also has a unique take on this kind of music.

"Bluegrass sometimes gets a reputation as hillbilly music, so as someone who came to it late from Massachusetts, I find ways to make it relatable to people who aren’t familiar with its background and culture."

Sounds pretty convincing to me. Naming the Louvin Brothers, the Stanley Brothers, Jimmy Martin, and Willy Nelson as some of his musical influences, Stash will be sure to bring a lot of heart to this Down Home Up Here Festival workshop.

Darlingside is playing two sold-out shows at Passim this weekend, and I can’t stop listening to their music in anticipation. This morning I watched the music video for their single, “The Ancestor”, for the first time, and was blown away by its beauty and creativity. 

Take the time to watch the video - the animation is hypnotic, the story is touching, and most importantly, the music is stellar. 

Darlingside plays Passim on Saturday with Heather Maloney! 

Down Home Up Here Workshops: A Conversation with Fiddle Instructor David Delaney


With the Down Home Up Here Festival fast approaching, we at Passim wanted to get in touch with some of our workshop instructors to learn a little bit more about them - what they play, why they play, and why people should attend their workshops. First in the interview lineup was David Delaney, a Berklee School of Music grad who has been part of the Passim community for years. A member of The Whiskey Boys, David has played to sold-out Passim crowds. This season he’s bringing his talents into the Passim classrooms. 

So how did David get started on the fiddle? As a child, David went to Irish step dancing classes with his sisters, but quickly realized that he took more naturally to the music than to the dancing. After just one year of classical violin training, he began taking lessons on the Irish fiddle, and the rest, as they say, is history. But it wasn’t until he was a student at Berklee College of Music that he started playing bluegrass.

"Bluegrass was all the rage at Berklee parties. There was always a room that was a jam room, with people just playing." During his time at Berklee, David started playing at Passim open mics, and gradually moved on to headlining shows with his band, The Whisky Boys. 

Last year David was one of the inaugural performers at the Down Home Up Here festival, and so he was excited to be asked to return in 2014 as a workshop instructor. He has been teaching fiddle since his years as a Berklee student, and over time has realized that he likes to teach bluegrass using basic music theory.

"Most people learn to play music through transcription, and though that works well for a lot of people it hasn’t been very effective for me…If you learn the basic theory, that’s how people can be in a jam and play songs they don’t know. I teach these tricks.” 

David spoke excitedly of the way that improvisation allows you to play along with songs you don’t already know. 

"My favorite thing is improvising over a set melody in a group. I also love playing in a 2 piece ensemble. With a 2-piece, you’re reading each other and have no limitations whatsoever. It’s thrilling. And that’s only possible if you know the kinds of shortcuts I’ll be teaching in my workshop."

Want to come to David’s workshop? If you’re fairly new to the fiddle, get a ticket to his workshop for beginners. According to David, if you can make a decent sound on the violin or learn a tune by ear (or transcription), you’ll be prepared for this class. Is that too easy for you? Then come to the class the next level up - if you’re a comfortable violin player but don’t play folk music, or you want to learn to improvise, head on over to How to Play Bluegrass Songs You Don’t Know
Before I let David get off the phone, I asked him for the names of three songs he can’t stop listening to now. If you’re wondering what he said, his answers might surprise you. David Delaney has been listening to a whole lot of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, second movement. He’s also been listening to Montana, a track by a local band, the Summer Villains. And finally, he’s been getting intense with Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine. 
A man of many talents and musical influences, his Down Home Up Here Festival Workshops are sure to impress. Get your tickets to the classes (and the festival!) today.

Gurf Morlix "One More Second" ]

It’s hard to deny the passion and emotional gravity in Gurf Morlix’s songs. “One More Second” is just one example of why Morlix has earned so much recognition, not only as a great producer, but as a prolific singer, instrumentalist, and songwriter as well.

Morlix is an American multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter and record producer residing for many years in Austin, Texas. He has worked with many of the best known performers of Americana, roots rock and alternative country music. His most notable works include albums by Lucinda Williams, Robert Earl Keen, Mary Gauthier, Ian McLagan, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Slaid Cleaves.

Morlix will be performing at Club Passim in Cambridge, Mass. THIS FRIDAY, 3/28! Claim your seats while tickets are still available!

Amy Speace & Sam Baker ]

1. Rolling Stone Top 10 Country Albums for 2013 (#5 position)

2. Rolling Stone Top 100 Songs of 2013 (#68 “Ditch”)

3. American Songwriters Top 50 Songs of 2013 (“Say Grace” # 10)

4. CMT Edge 10 Americana Albums Worth Hearing

5. Euro Americana Chart – Top 25 Albums of the Year, #2 position

6. No Depression – Best of 2013 blogs- Jela Webb #1, Hal Bogerd #3, Skot Nelson #6

7. Best Albums of 2013 (#2) and Reader’s Choice (#4)

8. Folk DJ List – Top 100 Artists of the Year

9. JC’s Best O’ 2013 — Songwriter 

10. Midnight Special – Rich Warren’s Favorites of 2013

11. John Platt of WFUV New York

12. Himes Best Albums of 2013 — Best New Non-Jazz Albums (#6 position)

If this list of accolades doesn’t impress you, come see for yourself what the hype is all about. Next Thursday, April 3rd, Club Passim welcomes folk/country artists for a night of powerful music and storytelling. Check out their websites, and of course, book your tickets to their show! Seats will go fast!

Robby Hecht is playing a CD release concert at Passim this Wednesday (tickets still available)! This Music City Roots performance gives you a taste of his serious talent. It might also make you a little blue…but it’s worth it! 

This Week at Passim

3/24 8PM: Jess Tardy CD Release, SOLD OUT

3/25 8PM: Berklee American Roots Series featuring Holland Raper and Adrianna Ciccone

3/26 8PM: Robby Hecht CD Release with Rose PolenzaniAllie Farris opens

3/27 8PM: Ryan Taylor Band CD Release, Pesky J. Nixon opens

3/28 8PM: Gurf Morlix 

3/29 8PM: Dietrich Strause, Dinty Child opens

3/30 4:30PM: 1st Person Plural: The Art of Storytelling

3/30 8PM: Pete Seeger tribute featuring Laura Cortese, Scott Alarik, Ryan Alvanos, Catie Curtis, Avi Salloway, Audrey Ryan, Lloyd Thayer and more. Proceeds will go to Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.

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