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Mandolin Cafe 2016 Year In Review

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The top news of the year in the mandolin world undoubtedly is the story of Chris Thile who has taken the reins of A Prairie Home Companion. Congratulations, Chris!

The Mandolin Cafe's Year in Review, news of note that occurred within the site and outside of our little world.


inline imageSierra Hull is seemingly everywhere this month in the ears and on the minds of music listeners as she leaves the traditional bluegrass band format and ventures out as a solo performer with guest musicians in support. We join in the fun with our own in-person publication, Sierra Hull - The Weighted Mind Interview by Michael Eck. Weighted Mind goes on to receive a 2017 Grammy Nomination in December.

Caterina Lichtenberg's ArtistWorks School of Classical Mandolin launches, making the obvious case that she and husband Mike Marshall are the official power mandolin couple on the planet.
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With the assistance of a generous community of Cafe members and several well know manufacturers of mandolins the California Bluegrass Association collects a dozen mandolins for talented young musicians making use of their Instrument Lending Library.

David Benedict posts video #1 with the Mandolin Cafe, now widely known as Mandolin Mondays.

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Ultimately a lot of really obscure and interesting information gets posted on our forum. This month it's a copy of the police report that details the smashing of Bill Monroe's fabled Loar mandolin.

Author Bradley Klein weighs in with an opinion piece that generates a lot of heated conversation: Tarantino's Hateful Eight Destroys Museum Martin.

The Mandolin Cafe's award for the most geeked out mandolin video of 2016 goes to David Benedict's Mandolin Mondays Pokemon Red and Blue. Hands down, not even close.
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Perennial mandolin favorite Marla Fibish joins the Peghead Nation staff with her own series of Irish mandolin lessons.

Acoustic Disc announces the release of Del & Dawg, Live!


The Tennessean publishes a series of photos we can definitely appreciate: the very moment Charlie Derrington presents Bill Monroe his famed, repaired Gibson mandolin.
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Author Bill Graham joins us after an extended absence with a well trafficked new article entitled Rarities and Lutherie Tango at Gryphon Stringed Instruments.

Two Old Hippies Announces the Retirement of Bruce Weber Sr. as General Manager of Weber Fine Acoustic Instruments. Bruce Weber, Jr. separates from this father's former company a few months later.
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Frank Solivan's new solo project Family, Friends & Heroes released.

The entire music community at large is deeply saddened by the passing of Louis Meyers, former Executive Director of Folk Alliance International and a founder of the popular South by Southwest (SXSW Conference & Festivals).

Our interview The Rise of Marla Fibish published.
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Congratulations to Mike Marshall and Caterina Lichtenberg who announced their marriage on Facebook.

The David Grisman Sextet releases a new album of Grisman originals with an album art that harkens back to their original LP of 1976.

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The Mandolin Cafe's annual April Fool's joke is the launch of the Banjo Cafe. Ultimately, the joke was on us. We're going to stick with mandolin, but a huge benefit was the development of a lot of new programming tools that drive the Mandolin Cafe. That's our best spin on the story and we're sticking with it!

Newgrass legend Barry Mitterhoff receives a lifetime achievement award at the 42nd Annual New Jersey Folk Festival.

The Carlo Aonzo Trio announces the release of A Mandolin Journey.
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Roger Siminoff announces his retirement from Siminoff Mandolin & Banjo.

Perennial jazz mandolin favorite Don Stiernberg is back with a spectacular new release entitled Good Numbers.


Rising mandolin start David Benedict interviewed.
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The legendary Steve Carlson appears back in the mandolin community if only briefly with the launch of the ZETA JM25 Mandolin.

Rest in peace. We observe the passing of builder Neil Dean.


Rest in peace: we observe the passing of legendary fiddler and mandolinist Dave Swarbrick of Fairport Convention.
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Northfield Mandolins launches a great new online magazine entitled Field Notes. Very nicely done.

Sam Bush releases his first studio album in seven years with Storyman.

International Bluegrass Music Museum announces the groundbreaking for a brand new facility.
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Rest in peace: we observe the passing of bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley.

Rest in peace: we observe the passing of David Grisman Quintet bass player Rob Wasserman.


Rest in peace: we observe the passing of bluegrass stalwart Don Parmley.
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Chris Thile and Bela Fleck join up for a short tour, more of what is to come in 2017.

Tim Connell and guitarist Eric Skye release a popular new project of traditional fiddle tunes entitled June Apple.

In a city with an awful lot of music, The Tennessean names Sierra Hull's Weighted Mind one of the top 16 releases of 2016 to date.
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Funny, but serious: Avi Avital finally ends the speculation of when one should applaud in classical music with his 15 second concerto for Instagram.

Mandozine Radio takes up a new location on the web.

Andrew Collins Trio releases a new recording entitled And It Was Good.

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Evan Marshall announces the release of an all-Beatles EP entitled Mandolin Mystery Tour.

2017 release date for Walter Carter's The Mandolin in America: The Full Story from Orchestras to Bluegrass to the Modern Revival announced.

One of our favorite recordings of the year, Reischman, Nygaard and Sharon Gilchrist: The Harmonic Tone Revealers released, announced on the Cafe with an interview.
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A lot of great musicians lose their jobs and a lot of great musicians are hired into new spots as Chris Thile takes the reins of A Prairie Home Companion.

Brittany Haas, Owen Marshall, Joe K. Walsh have announced the release of their self-titled EP Haas, Marshall, Walsh.

The release of an unexpected, slightly bizarre, but wonderful new recording no one was anticipating (understatement): Not Your Usual Mandolin and Tuba Duo.
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Don Julin announces the pending launch of his new online educational venture, Mandolins Heal the World.

CMSA celebrates 30 years of annual conventions.

Evan Marshall's releases his second EP of 2016 entitled Beethoven County.
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Alfred Publishing announces a reprinting of their Mandolin Chord Encyclopedia.

Long running Mandolin Camp North announces their transition to non-profit status.

Young rising Berklee College of Music star Ethan Setiawan is the subject of a feature interview.
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Joe K. Walsh is out with a new recording we feature in our Joe K. Walsh Borderland Interview.

Announcement made concerning a U.S. retailer who will be the first in recent memory to carry high end Italian bowlback mandolins.

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Cool mandolin players post on our Forum.

Sierra Hull breaks a glass ceiling in being named IBMA Mandolin Player of the Year for 2016. Congrats, Sierra!

Don Julin's new online education venture Mandolins Heal The World officially launched.
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Mandolin great Johnny Staats and his guitar pal Robert Shafer are out with a fine new duet recording entitled Music From the Mountains.

Mel Bay announces the release of John Hartford's Old-Time Fiddle Favorites-For Fiddle and Mandolin.

John Reischman's Up In The Woods transcriptions have been released with an interview with John and quotes from David Benedict and Don Grieser, both who played supporting roles in its publication.
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Carlo Aonzo's New York City mandolin workshop has moved to Milwaukee after decades of residing in The Big Apple.

Paul Fox's The Complete Guide to the Gibson Mandolins announced for a December release.

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Chris Thile and pianist Brad Mehldau announce a new duet album set for release in January.

Tenor Guitars get a little love in the Classifieds and earn their own dedicated category.

A renewly updated Loar mandolin is the talk of the month, courtesy Carter Vintage Guitars and Stephen Gilchrist.
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Belmont Announces New Interactive Vintage Instrument Museum to Open Spring 2017.

Mandolin Cafe observes 21 years on the internet on November 18!

Roland White announces an historically significant recording updated: New and Expanded The New Kentucky Colonels' Live In Sweden 1973 now available on CD.
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Sierra Hull and Sarah Jarosz both receive Grammy Nominations in Best Folk Album, Sarah receives two additional nominations. Congratulations, ladies!

David Grisman and Del McCoury are doing gigs celebrating 50 years since their first performances together!
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Gold Tone's new mandocello announces available this month.

Our feature interview with Don Julin about his new venture Mandolins Heal The World is published.

Saga announces their newly designed F model mandolins.

Peghead Nation announces John Reischman will be joining them as an instructor in 2017.
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We bring back a bit of Mandolin Magazine with a searchable database of back issues, summaries only.

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Updated Dec-18-2016 at 7:40pm by Mandolin Cafe



  1. Denny Gies's Avatar
    Thanks, Scott. You continue to do a great job for all of us. You're very much appreciated.