Two Worlds of Bluegrass (No Depression)

No Depression recently published a beautiful print issue focused entirely on bluegrass music. I was honored when they asked me to contribute. My piece focusesΒ on the current state of bluegrass affairs and how things came to be the way they are. I look atΒ the growing…


TRAD-PLUS is my shadowy musical alter ego–a project that combines banjo, vinyl samples, beats, drums, synths, strings and much more. Interference, the debut album from TRAD+, features Nick Falk on drums and special guest Oteil Burbridge. With over 550 thousand international downloads on BitTorrent last…

Trout Steak Revival, ‘Brighter Every Day’

This post is a few weeks overdue, but it’s never too late to learn about a great young band. Last year I produced Trout Steak Revival’s new album, ‘Brighter Every Day,’ and we are all excited about the results. The album is out now, along…

Balcony Jam

When you play a hundred shows a year you have to mix it up. So we fired up the GoPros and took to the balconies for the first installment of what should be much more show experimentation coming soon.


We just set sail on a 9 show run, opening for Yonder Mountain String Band. Let the musical experiments begin. More info on the Fathers’ site.


Long before the Stringdusters, I worked as a fly fishing guide in Southwest Montana. Over time, music took over my life and outdoor pursuits faded into the background. Years later, as the Dusters business plan evolves to include the marketing reach and overlap of companies…

Listen, Learn

Stefon Harris is an amazing musician–check him out, especially if you are into jazz. But he also has this zen quality about him that is magical. About 11 years ago, soon after I had started playing banjo, he came to do a clinic at Dartmouth….

Best Tune Name Ever

They just don’t name them like they did before. A few more titles like this and acoustic music will crush the mainstream…

W.O. Smith Music School

My grandparents, James and Flo Verhalen, have done a lot of amazing things. Some years back they set up a foundation which gives our family the rare opportunity to do something for those in need. Lately my cousins and I (all 19 or us) have…

Proof (of something)

        See, we’re ‘blue grass’ just like the ticket says. Or maybe this is proof that nobody really knows what bluegrass is (because it’s definitely not two words).

Shredder Cats

I want to meet whoever made this ridiculous ad. The paw-on-banjo action is impeccable. Will this instrument ever transcend its reputation?

Jono Pandolfi Designs

My older brother is the man. Jono’s been the inspiration for many of my creative endeavors, most notably my music career as a whole. He’s a top notch designer (ceramics, jewelery, wood, whatever), with work in Crate and Barrel, Anthropologie, the MoMA Design Store and…

Good News for Nonprofits

My Dad wrote a great article that went up on the Harvard Business Review’s business blog this morning. This piece looks at the importance of a mission statements in the non-profit world. Nice work, Dad! “Mission” for nonprofits is the same as “profits” for private…

Good thoughts for Japan

Acoustic music has many good friends in Japan. I hope they are all OK. From Moonshiner magazine: