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.
Our third lesson features a wide variety of fingerpicking blues styles and techniques played in the Keys of A and E. From slow blues in the style of Lightnin' Hopkins to playing a blues in A in a dropped D tuning (D A D G B E). Delta blues guitar techniques are taught with songs and ideas by Son House, Willie Brown, Charlie Patton, Tommy Johnson and Skip James.
As in each previous lesson the final aim is to give you a freedom to improvise playing a blues in these keys. As a bonus feature audio tracks are included featuring rare recordings of the songs and styles presented.
Each tune is taught phrase by phrase and played slowly on a split-screen. Detailed tab/music is included as a PDF file on the DVD. This includes lyrics to the songs as well as tab/music transcriptions of the guitar playing.
Titles include: County Line, Slow Blues in A, Come Back Baby, Yonder Comes The Blues, Weeping Willow, M&O Blues, Bye Bye Blues, New Pony Blues, If You Haven't Any Hay Get On Down The Road and Slow Blues in E
85 minutes - Level 2/3 - Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: A Great Series. This review is the same as his Part 1. Part 2 and Part 3 continue with the same excellence, just change in key. This is a terrific 3 part series. Never judge a book by its cover, right? I profess guilt in this as the cover of this series was not terribly impressive. What is impressive is Stefan Grossman's ability to teach. Cleverly staying in one key at a time, Stefan patiently brings the student not simply a solid background of acoustic blues, but also of small "tricks" as he calls them. These "tricks" or short licks, hammers, pull offs, etc, are things taken for granted by Intermediate or Advanced players, but the type of little things that beginners listen to and marvel over. Stefan generously shares these little, and sometimes quite simple little manuevers that vastly improves the sound of the song. Stefan also includes original recordings of the songs; some from as early as 1927, and has you listen to the original; sometimes more than one version, before hearing him play, and before breaking the song down for you.
I never knew of Stefan's music, which may be a plus in my case. I am able to view him simply as a teacher. There are a lot of instructional DVDs out there by talented players who are not talented teachers. Stefan's easy going personality is a must. Why? In taking DVD lessons (which is my only source of instruction) you spend many hours "with" the instructor, as you repeat the lessons over and over. If the instructor's personality is not your 'cup of tea', you will find that you will learn less, as you subconciously pull away from the time spent. Conversely, when you enjoy the personality of the teacher, you are inclined to spend more time "with him" via DVD; subsequently, learning far more. Such is the case with Grossman. Perhaps it is the age and wisdom that comes as the ego no longer seeks rock star adoration from people. I have had the unpleasant experience of sitting "before" an instructor who's talent is amazing, but who's love of himself is so over the top, that I ended up selling the DVDs... perhaps my own weakness, but in conversing with others, I find that others feel the same way.
Enjoy Grossman. He is not there to tell jokes, nor boast of his past accomplishments (Martin Guitar has built one in his honor, so not much else needs to be said). Enjoy the personality who seems eager to do one thing: share his love of acoustic blues. Great series. - Peter Hyatt/Amazon Customer Review