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Martin Gilmore Music - December 2023

Happy holiday season everyone! It’s busy, busy, busy over here. My son’s birthday is on November 20th, then it’s thanksgiving, then the end of the semester, then Christmas, then New Years, and then it seems like February is right on top of us (another busy month of celebrations at the Gilmore house). Bridger turned 5 years old this year, and I can’t believe how fast time is flying by. He had an airplane cake and got a microphone, a stand, and a recorder so he can record his mandolin and singing.

November was a very busy month full of friendship and career highlights. I very much enjoyed seeing my old friend Eli West and meeting Andy Mann for Andy’s album release shows at the Jamestown Mercantile and Stone Cottage Studios. His songs are great, and his stories are unbelievably interesting. Andy is a photographer and videographer for National Geographic but he’s also an enigmatic storyteller, great guitar player and singer, and writes wonderful songs. I would encourage you to check out his new album “Full Moon Fight” and definitely check out his amazing photography. What an adventurer.

I also was glad to be part of the Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop’s Poetry Fest event this year. I studied poetry in college and still read as much of it as I can. I’ve always enjoyed Ted Kooser, Craig Arnold, and many others. I have at least one Robert Frost poem memorized. I think a a lot about the similarities and differences between poems and songs and it was fun to hear the other panelists talk about their methods and processes. I taught a class on songwriting as well and I’m hoping to possibly do more of that there in the future.

Most exciting was my trip to Nashville to play with John and Julie Pennell at the Station Inn on November 9th. I flew into Nashville a few days early to rehearse and arrange music for the show. Wednesday, November 8th we drove over to Maryville, Tennessee to play a house concert in the beautiful Appalachians. It was a beautiful drive with a crowd full of friends. It’s always so great to meet people from all around the country and to see new places. The Station Inn was especially fun. I have been to many shows there over the years and it was great to get to be on that stage with John and Julie and all of their friends. Jeff White, who now plays with Lyle Lovett and the Earls of Leicester, joined us for a few songs. Jeff Guernsey came down from Indiana to play fiddle. Both of those guys are really amazing and have been bluegrass heroes of mine for a long time. Several of John and Julie’s friends sat in as well. We had a good crowd, and it was really great to be on that stage with those folks.

December doesn’t have many shows and I don’t have any new classes starting this month, however there are lots of things happening early in the new year that are worth a mention now because tickets and enrollments are available.

I have some great classes starting up in January at Swallow Hill Music. Auditions are open for the spring 2024 Swallow Hill Bluegrass Band. We spend sixteen weeks preparing a repertoire of songs for performance. Members learn stagecraft, administrative skills, rehearsal techniques, and much more. Only one person for each instrument is accepted. If you’re interested in playing in a bluegrass band, check this class out!

My in-depth Progressions: Bluegrass guitar class will be starting in February. This intensive and immersive class explores rhythm, lead, solo development, picking techniques, and much more. It is a big commitment, we meet twice each week (once on-line and once in person) for sixteen weeks. But it’s a great investment in your musical development and it’s such a great community of students. It’s always exciting to see everyone improve and learn about bluegrass. Please join us if you’re ready to improve your bluegrass guitars chops!

The last thing I’ll mention about my Swallow Hill offerings is that my Intermediate Bluegrass Ensemble Class will continue in it’s 8pm Wednesday night spot. We learn four songs each 8-week session, and then perform two of those at the “graduation”. I try to bring new songs each time, so many students enroll in the class over and over again. They are lots of fun and fairly low key. This class is perfect for people just starting in bluegrass as well as for folks who have been picking for a while. I look forward to these classes each week and would love to have you join us if you feel like playing some bluegrass music.

Another exciting thing happening in early 2024 is that I will be teaching a course for the University of Denver Enrichment Program titled The Big Bang of Country Music: Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family. From time to time I present courses on music history and culture for the enrichment school. These are fun classes where I get to talk about the history of some of my favorite musical artists and their impact on the course of American Music. The class will meet for three two-hour sessions on February 7th, 14th, and 21st and will culminate in a concert at Swallow Hill Music on February 24th. That concert will feature me playing the music of Jimmie Rodgers and the Cody Sisters playing the music of the Carter Family. Please join me for this class and this concert if you can. The class includes tickets to the concert, and I would love to have you in the course. However, tickets to the concert will be sold separately as well. Please come learn about these wonderful American musical treasures.

Finally, I’m very excited that the Martin Gilmore Trio will be at the Midwinter Bluegrass Festival which runs from February 16th-18th in 2024 at the Delta by Marriott hotel at 120th and I-25 in Northglenn, Colorado. The lineup this year is incredible and features the Becky Buller Band, Missy Raines & Allegheny, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, The Slocan Ramblers, and so many more. This is a wonderful community festival with lots of jamming, great shows, vendors, band scrambles, educational programs, and more. If you’ve never been to a bluegrass festival, this is a great place to start. Get your tickets now and join us all in February for this wonderful Colorado festival!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, and thanks so much for a successful and busy 2023. It has been a busy year and I’m grateful for all the support I have received over the last twelve months. I’m looking forward to new opportunities in the new year, and hoping to see lots of old friends as well.

All the best!


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