One simply cannot talk about people of importance to this genre without tipping the hat to the most masterful musician, teacher, musicologist, producer, folklorist and preservationist of the traditional blues. By now, Stefan Grossman is a venerated, iconoclastic and respected acoustic blues figure of mega-proportions. He came out of the vibrant Greenwich Village, New York, 1960s scene around Washington Square, where so many American folk and blues musicians launched their careers. His friend and occasional collaborator, Steve Katz, formerly of the Even Dozen Jug Band, the Blues Project and Blood, Sweat & Tears, once half jokingly told this writer: “There we were, all these New York Jews playing the black blues.” Indeed, the blues had a strong influence on young New Yorkers during the folk revival. These musicians, Stefan Grossman, Happy & Artie Traum, Danny Kalb, and many others, in turn had a powerful influence on the acceptance of the blues by the American baby boomer generation at large; and, they significantly helped to launch the folk, roots & blues revival, thereby reinvigorating the careers of many original blues musicians whose careers had waned.
Many people know Stefan Grossman as the paramount teacher and entrepreneur in what has become the world’s largest “blues school”, Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop. He is one of the most skilled guitarists in the genre, having been a student of Rev. Gary Davis in New York City. He also picked up lessons directly from Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Skip James, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and others.
Music from the church always featured in the repertoires of Country Blues Guitarists. In this lesson we explore several styles of fingerpicking gospel tunes. We start with playing in the key of C and two well known songs played in the style of Mississippi John Hurt and Elizabeth Cotten. We then tackle I’ll Fly Away which introduces a new right hand technique that combines fingerstyle with strumming. This technique will add a different texture to your playing. We then begin to explore playing in open tunings and Just A Closer Walk With Thee played in an Open G Tuning. We then go to an Open D tuning to learn Death Come Creeping and Will The Circle Be Unbroken. Two bonus sections are included. The first demonstrates how to change your guitar strings so that they will not slip. The second is an audio section that features recordings showing variations and other approaches to the tunes taught.
Each tune is taught phrase by phrase and played slowly on a split-screen.
Titles include: I Am A Pilgrim, What a Friend We Have In Jesus, I'll Fly Away, Just A Closer Walk With Thee, Death Come Creeping and Will The Circle Be Unbroken
100 minutes • level 2 • Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: Another great DVD: Even for Beginners! This is another wonderfully instructive DVD from Stefan Grossman for fingerstyle guitar.
The subject matter is some beautiful church songs, including “I'll Fly Away” and “I Am a Pilgrim” which are all done in a simplified manner so that those that are latter stage beginners will enjoy, though Intermediates will also enjoy, in spite of being geared more towards the Level 1-2. For the level 3 and above, the arrangements are lovely and can be enhanced. The sound that Stefan Grossman is able to glean from his guitar, even in the simplest of songs, is stunning.
As with the other Grossman releases, the camera work is second to none; wonderful close ups, split screen, full performances of the songs, as well as the now expected step by step instruction.
This DVD is really for all ranges in study, as all will benefit from the ever improving and evolving camera work, from one of America's finest guitar teachers. The Martin guitar (signature model) sounds and looks terrific. A must for your DVD collection of guitar instruction. My only regret is it is not a 2 DVD set as it is one of those “greats” where the only complaint is that it has to end! I suspect more teaching from Mr. Grossman down the road! – Peter Hyatt/Amazon Customer Review