I have built a couple of mandolins now, but have had no idea about how they actually play or sound. I don’t play. In fact, I am left handed, and can’t even hold a right-handed mandolin correctly. (Building a mandolin started as a dare from my brother, but that’s another story.) (There is a left handed version that I will soon write about.)
Here’s my second mandolin:
My wife and I planned a trip to Cambridge, MA to see several of our favorite singer/songwriters play together under the band name “Redbird” at a little club there. They were playing three nights, and we were going to two of the shows. Just on a whim, I emailed one of the folks that would be playing and asked if they would be interested in having a mandolin available to play, explaining that I had built it. I got a message back from one of the guys in the band saying that he hadn’t played mandolin very much recently, but encouraged me to bring it along and come see him before the show. So, I did.
The musician’s name is David “Goody” Goodrich, and he primarily plays guitar, but is really a multi-instrumentalist. I found him before the show, and he was encouraging about my mandolin. He liked the feel and the sound, and started playing little riffs. It was nice to finally hear real music coming from that little box! He played the mandolin on several songs that first night, and asked me to bring it back the second night as well. During that next night’s show, he played it during about half the band’s songs. I have to think that he must have really liked it to keep playing it.
Here is a little video I shot of my mandolin getting played by Goody Goodrich with the band Redbird at Club Passim in Cambridge MA on Friday night, August 22. The other band members are Peter Mulvey, Kris Delmhorst and Jeffery Foucault. The shows by Redbird have the feel of sitting around someone’s living room as each player in turn comes up with a song, with the others joining in. The video is a cover of Alejandro Escovedo’s song, “Wave.”