Alabama Music Office.com goes to Fretted Instruments in Homewood, Alabama to interview Jason Bailey, mandolinist.
Meet Alabama Mandolinist-Jason Bailey by Jerry W. Henry
Wikipedia tells us that a mandolin (Italian: mandolino) is a musical instrument in the lute family (plucked, or strummed). It descends from the mandore, a soprano member of the lute family. The mandolin soundboard (the top) comes in many shapes—but generally round or teardrop-shaped, sometimes with scrolls or other projections. A mandolin may have f-holes, or a single round or oval sound hole. A round or oval sound hole may be bordered with decorative rosettes or purfling.
Jason Bailey is Mandolinist, composer, teacher, studio musician, Jason Bailey possesses a range of musicianship of a well-seasoned professional and is an essential and powerful asset to Birmingham-based favorites such as Celtic-infused Shillelagh Law and Henri's Notions, folk/rock Three Man Stone, bluegrass group The Bluegrass Cartel and the regional touring jazz/bluegrass/southern jam band Tonal Vision.
I met with Jason at Fretted Instruments in Homewood, Alabama where he teaches. Jason is from Birmingham and has always lived there with the exception of the 4 years he spent at Maryville College in Tennessee studying music.
In the mid'90's while still in high school he played guitar. He played the customary covers of Nirvana and Hendrix at local gigs. Then the mandolin entered his life. That is the point where he got serious about music.
That first mandolin came right after high school graduation. His parents, who have always supported his music, bought him a mandolin at a garage sale. That year Jason discovered mandolinist David Grisman as well as other great acoustic musicians.
I asked Jason, if you had a dream group, what music would you be playing? He answered, " I write a lot of music, so I definitely would want my dream group to be doing a lot of my compositions. It would be something that was acoustic oriented. A lot of my originals are fusion, for lack of a better word, with a little bit of bluegrass, a little bit of jazz, a little bit of Celtic and maybe a hint of classical. I'm not really a classical musician. All that kind of mixed together. Newgrass, if you will. So something of that sort would be my ideal group to play with if I only had one."
He owns several mandolins. His favorite mandolins being his Gilchrist or his Hyde. The mandolin that gets played the most is an A style Collings. He uses electric mandolins when playing rock-oriented music. He has several more mandolins with names like Rono, Ryder, Wendler and Bacorn.
I asked, if he had ever played with Rick Carter. His reply, "Oh yea, I've played with him a bunch. Years back, occasionally there were times where their mandolin player at the time that also played guitar, Barry Waldrep, couldn't make a gig for some reason. They needed me to substitute. We both have long hair and play the mandolin so sometimes people didn't know he wasn't there. I have even signed his autograph too."
When asked, where he sees the future for Jason. His response, "That's an interesting question because I'm in a transition in my life right now. Things are going great in Birmingham but I have a place in Nashville. So I am traveling back and forth. Which is new for me. I really don't know what is going to unfold. As long as I can keep playing music and don't have to get a real job, then it's all going to be good for me, whether it's my dream band or not."
I asked, if he had hooked up with some Alabama or Nashville players up there. He responded, "It still relatively new for me, so I really haven't gotten immersed in the scene yet. I know players from Alabama, so I have contacted them and we've been in touch. The last two albums I put out, I recorded in Nashville. The musicians that are on that album I have been in contact as well. At this point, I am putting feelers out there. Finding out what all I am interested in and vise versa."
His first album is called, Southwood (Joots Music) and was recorded at Synchromesh Studios and Boutwell Studios in Birmingham. That album is all instrumental originals. His second album is September In The South (self-released) all the songs are originals but this time he included two songs by some friends. His third album is Mandolbug (self-released) another that is all instrumental originals. His albums can be bought on most Internet outlets.
Published in March 2013 issue Tannehill Trader