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Frank Wakefield Releases A Tribute to Bill Monroe

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A Tribute to Bill MonroePatuxent Music has releaed another Bill Monroe Centennial tribute album, A Tribute to Bill Monroe. On the 4th of July in 1961, Bill Monroe commented to Frank saying, "Well, you can pick as good as me-- or nearly as good-- so now you've got to go out and get your own sound." And, with his hero's blessing, Frank Wakefield set out to do just that. Frank Wakefield performs on the mandolin and vocals, Audie Blaylock contributes vocals, Michael Cleveland on fiddle, Mark Delaney handles the banjo, Tom Ewing plays guitar and adds vocals, Marshall Wilborn played bass with Tom Mindte & Taylor Baker.

Be it with Red Allen, The Greenbriar Boys or on his own, Frank Wakefield would spend the next half-century "splitting the mandolin atom" (with which David Grisman once credited, him) and cementing his well-deserved reputation as the most innovative, diverse and prolific mandolinist of his generation. Be it chromatic phrasing, his famous chimes, 'or the many classical pieces he has composed, Frank has not only spent the bulk of his career out on a limb, but was often there before the tree took root.

But as far out on that limb as he ever got, Frank Wakefield never forgot what drew him to the mandolin in the first place: his love for the music of Bill Monroe. Frank has always spoken of his mastery of Monroe's music with as much pride as any of his many accomplishments. And so, nearly 50 years to the day after that fateful encounter in Luray, Va., Wakefield has come full circle; returning to the "sound" of his hero and original inspiration with this album, A Tribute to Bill Monroe. '

Frank is notable as a great bluegrass player and for his significant innovations that have shaped the way many musicians play the mandolin. Historically, Frank is a transitional figure, coming between the strict format of traditional bluegrass and the wide-open spaces being explored by today’s young musicians. Ever since the release of his first original tune, “New Camptown Races” in 1953 at the age of nineteen revolutionized the sound of bluegrass music, Frank has constantly been exploring new musical frontiers, paving the way for other musicians.

Frank's influence on mandolin playing is easily detected when listening to newer generations of mandolin stylists from David Grisman to Ronnie McCoury. David Grisman, one of Frank’s most famous students, wrote of Frank: “Frank was the first mandolin player to transform the bluegrass energy of Bill Monroe’s style into something new. He split the bluegrass mandolin atom. Some of us, obviously, will never be the same again”.

During his career Frank has influenced a broad spectrum of musicians, from country and bluegrass artists to pop and rock performers. Besides his own albums and performances Frank has performed and collaborated with many diverse musicians. Some of these include Red Allen, Ralph Stanley, Jimmy Martin, Don Reno, Chubby Wise, Del McCoury, The Greenbriar Boys, Don McLean, Jerry Garcia, The New Riders of the Purple Sage, David Grisman, Emmylou Harris, Taj Mahal, Tony Rice, Peter Rowan, Mike Seeger and Linda Ronstadt.

Tracks on the Tribute to Bill Monroe include:

  1. When You Are Lonely
  2. Rawhide
  3. That's All Right
  4. Bluegrass Breakdown
  5. A Beautiful Life
  6. Letter from My Darling
  7. Panhandle Country
  8. When the Golden Leaves Begin to Fall
  9. Pike County Breakdown
  10. Blue Moon of Kentucky
  11. Blue Grass Stomp
  12. Swing Low Sweet Chariot
  13. Close By
  14. Wheel Hoss
  15. On and On
  16. The One I Love is Gone

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