Mandolinist Joe Walsh

JoeJoe Saroyan with Joe Walsh, Strawberry Park, 2012.
JoeJoe Saroyan with Joe Walsh, Strawberry Park, 2012.
I first heard Joe Walsh at Caffè Lena in 2008. I loved his crisp-as-a-fall-apple sound. Sweet but with a kick. I start this post by focusing on the mandolin Joe acquired in late 2010 and his performance at Merlefest’s Mando Mania this year.

  • Mandolin: Gilchrist Model 3 built in 1993 with modified “A” body shape, Englemann Spruce top, Red Maple back and sides, radius fretboard, X bracing and all black varnish finish. In the words of the Australian luthier, Steve Gilchrist: “Combined with the softer spruce and maple and X brace, the tone was intended to be thicker but clear and very responsive.” “Lonesome Moonlight Waltz” was passed among some of the best instruments and pickers in the world at Mando Mania. Walsh summoned a Talmudic grail of bluegrass sorrow and resurrection from the Aussie in a solo akin to Monroe’s “My Last Days on Earth“. Minus the string section, chorus, and seagulls.

Fellow fan John Mercer graciously shared his videos of the Gibson Brothers’ afternoon and evening performances from Jenny Brook 2012. The band is en fuego. As you can tell from the first paragraph above and my review of Joe’s 2nd solo album, Sweet Loam (2011), Joe’s playing causes me to reference food. He spikes the Gibson Brothers’ auditory umami with his eight-string extracts. Artists with whom Joe plays when not working his main gig are also included.

The Gibson Brothers perform at the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival on Thursday, August 16. Gettysburg, PA is a four hour drive from the Upper West Side. The above links plus more can be found on my YouTube channel under Mandolinist Joe Walsh

2 thoughts on “Mandolinist Joe Walsh

  1. John, A lengthier comment will head your way in an email but here let me compliment you on this series of articles on the GB Band. Your excellent interpretations and your fine links illustrating those thoughts make this one of the best pieces of Bluegrass writing I’ve seen. And in the past few days I’ve seen quite a bit, thanks to your direction.
    Well done, my friend.

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