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It's All Rotten Taters with Mike Compton

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 Rotten TatersRotten Taters is a snapshot of some of the material Mike has begun to do in his solo endeavors. It’s a project which for the first time lets us see something that we’ve only glimpsed in the past Compton playing by himself, unaccompanied and undirected. And it’s simply stellar. For Compton, it’s all about rhythm, with the mandolin serving principally as a rhythmic instrument rather than a melodic one. These days, for this style of playing, he is the player that all others are compared to; if you play old-time or traditional bluegrass mandolin, you want to play like Mike Compton. The New York Times calls Compton a “new bluegrass instrumental hero.”

Here, for the first time, is pure, unadorned Compton. Of the fifteen songs and tunes here, six are from Compton’s own pen. Tracks like “How Do you Want Your Rollin’ Done” and “I’ll Tell you About the Women” seem, in a sense, like portraits of Compton himself, his effervescence and humor laid bare.

Rotten Taters “This recording is pure gold, through
and through.”
-- Glen Herbert, KDHX

Of note, the cut “Forever Has Come to and End” is stark and longing, excellently accompanied only by mandolin chords and cross-picking, bringing out the desperation of the lyric. “Jenny Lynn” is a tribute to Monroe, staying close to Monroe’s style, as is the original piece “Wood Butcher’s Walkabout”, which is like a master class in the slides that are a hallmark of Compton’s playing.

Preservationist, performer, modern-day musical pioneer, composer, and educator, Mike Compton, a musician’s musician has rightly earned a reputation as one of the best and most influential mandolin players in acoustic music today. Mike has “taken a passel of influences including old-time fiddle tunes, rock salt and nails bluegrass, and the aching allure of the true Delta blues--to create on of the most recognizable and respected mandolin voices anywhere. (David McCarty, Mandolin Magazine)

“For someone playing solo traditional tunes on mandolin this is just about as good as it gets for me.”
-- Scott Tichenor Mandolin Cafe

Grammy award winner, nominated IBMA Mandolin Player of the Year, and musical US Ambassador throughout the world, Mike has entertained at Carnegie Hall, at the White House, and been honored by the Mississippi State Senate with State Resolution Number 45, a special honor commending his musical accomplishments.

Over a span of 35 years, Compton has made a career playing on recordings of others adding his signature sound. Mike has made music with such diverse notables as the iconic mountain music man Ralph Stanley, British rock legend Elvis Costello and the Sugarcanes, guitar virtuoso David Grier, and producer T-Bone Burnett (O Brother, Where Art Thou and Down From The Mountain tours). When the Nashville Bluegrass Band was being put together, Mike was their first choice on mandolin, creating a “band like a marriage made in heaven.” In 1994, Mike became a sideman for John Hartford, whom he performed with until Hartford’s death. To date, Mike has performed on over 100 CDs in a variety of genres, with some of the most beloved artists of our day.

“Mike has taken a passel of influences -- old time fiddle tunes, rock salt and nails bluegrass, the aching allure of the true Delta Blues--to create one of the most recognizable and respected mandolin voices anywhere.”
-- David McMcCarty - Mandolin Magazine

These days, Mike is taking his craftsmanship, dexterity, mandolin mastery and musicality, and letting us see something that we've only glimpsed in the past: Compton playing by himself, unaccompanied and undirected.

Always searching for ways to deepen his artistry, Mike continues writing, performing, and delving deeper into ways to communicate musically to his listeners, and in Mike’s own words: “...our function is not merely to entertain but to communicate to one another...if you hear something that stirs your memories...or causes you to reflect on the day, I am satisfied I have done my job well.”

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