Danny Paisley at DCBU

Here is David Morris’ interview with Danny and Ryan Paisley at the DC Bluegrass Festival this past weekend. Once again, thanks to Eric Tapp for technical assistance. The video is presented in B&W owing to the poor lighting in the hotel pool area where we had to shoot. 


On another Paisley-related note, Danny and Ryan will be on the air Thursday morning (2/28) with Katy Daley at 9:00 a.m (EST)  on WAMU’s Buegrass Country. Katy tells us that the father-and-son duo will play a few mandolin/guitar numbers, and talk about their new CD, Road Into Town.

She also mentioned that Ryan will be the third generation of Paisleys to perform on the station.

“Bob first brought a young Danny in to play on the Gary Henderson show. Danny has played for WAMU’s Bluegrass Country during remote broadcasts from IBMA in Nashville. As bluegrass on WAMU enters its 46th year, we’re happy to welcome the Paisleys to our microphones.”

Catch Katy, Danny and Ryan on WAMU via their online stream, and at 105.5 FM or HD radio 88.5-2 in the DC Metro market.

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About the Author

David Morris

David Morris, an award-winning songwriter and journalist, has written for Bluegrass Today since its inception. He joined its predecessor, The Bluegrass Blog, in 2010. His 40-year career in journalism included more than 13 years with The Associated Press, a stint as chief White House correspondent for Bloomberg News, and several top editing jobs in Washington, D.C. He is a life member of IBMA and the DC Bluegrass Union. He and co-writers won the bluegrass category in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest in 2015.

  • Wes

    Good one guys…

    David Morris, you certainly have a special way of putting people at ease and engaging them in a comfortable conversation.

  • Darren Sullivan-Koch

    Geez. Big missed opportunity here. Lazy, softball questions. Were you scared to dig a little deeper? What happened to great previous lineup of the Southern Grass–why did they quit en masse? What happened to his deal with Rounder?

    It’s nice to be all chummy with these musicians, but you can’t shirk your responsibilities as a journalist.

    Also, what’s with the massive reverb on Danny’s mic?

    • Jon Weisberger

      I would imagine the “reverb” is a function of having been recorded, as mentioned in the text, in a hotel swimming pool area.

      I also have a pretty strong belief that asking the kinds of questions you suggest doesn’t count as fulfilling one’s responsibilities as a journalist. For instance, I don’t believe that the details of anyone’s contract with a record label are necessarily a matter of legitimate public interest. Investigative reporting might not be the right model for bluegrass journalism – in fact, I’m pretty sure that it isn’t.

      • Darren Sullivan-Koch

        You’re right — the label matters are maybe too inside for the general public. This isn’t a website for deep industry news.

        But I still find the dissolution of the titanic Lundy/Paisley/Eldreth lineup to be of great interest, and something that has not really been adequately discussed. If anything characterizes the state of “bluegrass journalism” these days (if that is even a thing), it is a certain timid spinelessness born of the fact that everyone is friends and no one wants to rock the boat. Sure, it minimizes controversy and hurt feelings, but it also keeps things at surface level and leaves something of a disingenuous sheen on everything — making it read/sound more like label promo copy than thoughtful exploration/investigation.

        • Jon Weisberger

          “But I still find the dissolution of the titanic Lundy/Paisley/Eldreth lineup to be of great interest, and something that has not really been adequately discussed.”

          What makes you feel entitled to knowing anything about it other than that it happened?

          Same question goes for the deets of brother Paisley’s record deals. The point isn’t that it’s “too inside for the general public,” the point is that it’s inside, period. And we are on the outside. It’s none of our beeswax.

          The fact that people make music and seek to make a living by presenting it on stage and on records doesn’t constitute a license for anyone and everyone to pry into private aspects of their lives and careers. If they want to share, fine; if they don’t, that should be fine, too.

          • Darren Sullivan-Koch

            I do feel like a lot of my comments here were out of line — this video interview tidbit is no place for me to vent my frustration at the relatively incestuous, toothless nature of the bluegrass media scene, and I apologize.

            I’m certainly not entitled to know anything, but why shouldn’t I be curious about the dissolution of a great partnership that spans generations? If that’s something Danny doesn’t want to discuss, that’s fine, but has anyone asked him? Are we so polite that we can’t express and disappointment?

            Bluegrass comes under fire for being heartless and distant: From rigid stage posture to canned intros (“We just think he’s about the best mandolin picker in the world, make welcome, from Square Nut, Montana…”) to a much-documented and vigorous resistance to innovation…now human drama is off-limits, too. No wonder I can’t get any of my friends to go to a bluegrass gig with me more than once.

          • “No wonder I can’t get any of my friends to go to a bluegrass gig with me more than once.”

            Because you insult their integrity if they fail to intuit what you would have had them do?

          • Darren Sullivan-Koch

            How many more times can I apologize, John? I erred, and I’m sorry. That’s apology number three. It’s not like I used a drummer onstage or broke out a Telecaster, for crying out loud.

            And the reason they don’t come back is because they can’t connect with the performers emotionally. Bluegrass seems to get more and more rigid and formal: The Sportcoat Mountain Boys effect just seems to mount year after year, to the point where the performers are so robotic that we forget the rich wellspring of inventiveness and emotion that first birthed this music. It’s a shame, and it may just be what keeps bluegrass in a tidy little box and renders it inaccessible to so many…

          • A drummer?! =)

            Sorry myself. Couldn’t resist.

            Not everyone will be drawn to bluegrass, just as they won’t be drawn to pop country or rap. Many of your friends may find the jamgrass world more enticing, but lots of folks are turned off by that scene and find bluegrass more welcoming.

            To each his own?

    • Darren Sullivan-Koch

      No worries! Nice to see a little passionate discussion here…we’re all fan first!

  • David Morris

    There’s a time and place for digging and for rocking the boat — have you read our coverage of IBMA’s finances? And I’ve never been one to shy away from tough questions or from saying what I think when writing a review. If I really like something, I say that. If I sense shortcomings, I say that, too. There are some who would rather that the warts be ignored, but my personal loyalty is to the reader who’s trying to decide if a CD is worth plunking down $15 for.

    But short video interviews can’t cover all topics, and aren’t a good vehicle for the kinds of questions you raise. I was interested in the human element of father playing with son, just as father played with his father. If that’s too softball for you, you don’t have to watch.

  • Darren Sullivan-Koch

    The IBMA stuff has been relatively even-handed and incisive, yes, but it’s harder to get an individual to open up than it is to criticize an institution based on their balance sheets. There’s still not much willingness to explore conflict, doubt, inner turmoil, and struggle — you know, the things that inspire great art — in the bluegrass media, though. It’s a big part of the reason bluegrass stays a niche format.

    But you make a very, very good point: You can’t really investigate meaningfully in such a casual environment. My brain just went to what I wanted to know about Danny these days, and didn’t take that into account. I apologize.

    …and yes, clearly these video chats are not for me and I won’t bother watching them going forward. There are more softballs here than at a Vassar picnic.