1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Good Bluegrass Song for Audition?

Discussion in 'Bluegrass [DB]' started by Koyeah, Aug 8, 2019.


  1. Koyeah

    Koyeah

    Jun 9, 2014
    I have an upcoming audition with the US Navy Fleet Bands and for part of the audition I need to play an a bluegrass/country selection. I want to use my upright for this section as well, so leaning more towards bluegrass. I was thinking Clara by Punch Brothers.
    What other bluegrass selections would make a good audition piece? I can perform with a backing track.
     
  2. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Are you going to need a chart to learn it? If so, the majority of common bluegrass pieces are going to be difficult to find written music for, they are typically only documented by chord charts or tablature, or not documented at all, passed on by ear from person to person.

    I'm asking this respectfully without making any assumptions, but have you played in bluegrass bands or jams before?

    If this is a formal audition, my guess is that they're looking for something that "sounds like" bluegrass, but doesn't necessarily follow the "cultural norms" in bluegrass.
     
    johnny_bolt and Koyeah like this.
  3. Keith Rawlings

    Keith Rawlings Supporting Member

    Aug 3, 2019
    I’d go with Blue Moon of Kentucky because it features such a pronounced slap style that the people you are auditioning for will have to notice — plus just about everyone knows that song — yet it’s not overdone like playing Stairway to Heaven on a guitar in a music shop.
     
    johnny_bolt and Koyeah like this.
  4. unbrokenchain

    unbrokenchain Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2011
    Black Mountain, NC
    If you're going for arco opportunities in the bluegrass vein, Paul Kowert's stuff (like the Clara mentioned) is hard to beat. People seem pretty impressed by fiddle tunes played arco on bass as well, I've had some fun with Lonesome Fiddle Blues, Whiskey Before Bfast, Big Sciota, Fork'd Deer etc.
     
    GlenParks, John Chambliss and Koyeah like this.
  5. Koyeah

    Koyeah

    Jun 9, 2014
    I won't need a chart to learn it, although a chart would be nice. I'm a jazz and orchestral bassist, but I've played in bluegrass jams before.

    Part of the audition is to play bass in 5 different styles which they specify. Since they said country/bluegrass I'm thinking the same thing that they're looking for something that "sounds like" bluegrass. It's really just to make sure I can play in a variety of styles. I only have 3 tunes to showcase my double bass skills though so I wanted to make sure I played a bluegrass instead of country.
     
    Keith Rawlings and dhergert like this.
  6. unbrokenchain

    unbrokenchain Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2011
    Black Mountain, NC
    Maybe straying a little too far from the bluegrass/country genre, and maybe too downtempo for really "impressing" folks, but Ashokan Farewell can be a stunning tune to play arco imo.
     
  7. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    ^^Yes!! Great suggestion!!^^

    ... And, Ashokan Farewell is well documented in musical score. And, it's well accepted among most bluegrassers, at least in the festivals and jams that I play in out here in the west.

    Technically it's considered a fiddle tune (by Jay Ungar), but at least in most bluegrass circles, fiddle tunes are accepted as very close cousins.
     
    noahw1 and unbrokenchain like this.
  8. TheDirtyLowDown

    TheDirtyLowDown

    Mar 8, 2014
    I never realized there was a USN Fleet Bluegrass Band... so cool! I did a YouTube search and found a couple of their tunes, and that they are called “Country Current”. My suggestion: if you are going to learn a song, pick a song of theirs to learn for the audition. That shows them that you care about their band, and if you kill it they will really remember you. Here’s a possibility:


    Good luck!
     
    Koyeah and dhergert like this.
  9. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    I've heard these guys play and have talked with them in person a few times at local festivals through the years. Great players and very nice representation for the USN (for which they are all officers).
     
  10. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    It's hard to imagine auditioning using a backing track... although it does remove some risks. How would you come up with a "music minus one" backing track?
    Gosh, there are thousands of songs to choose from, even more if you add country and western. What would be cool is to sing and play, without the backing track.
     
  11. AlienNed

    AlienNed Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2018
    Rural Fort Worth, TX
    Dang, wish I'd known there was such a thing when I was in the Air Force. I may have stayed another 16 years.
     
    Eyesee7 and Koyeah like this.
  12. Koyeah

    Koyeah

    Jun 9, 2014
    It doesn't necessarily have to be a minus track, although that is preferable. If I do a bluegrass standard, like Salt Creek or Whiskey Before Breakfast, I actually found quite a few guitar accompaniment tracks on YouTube! I would love to sing and play, but am not confident enough in my singing voice haha.
     
    dhergert likes this.
  13. Koyeah

    Koyeah

    Jun 9, 2014
    Wow thanks for all your suggestions this helps a ton! I was way overthinking this - which I tend to do around audition time unfortunately.
     
    dhergert likes this.
  14. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    So, I gotta ask, are you currently serving in the USN?
     
  15. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Call up or facebook Danny Stewart. He's a good friend who plays bass with Country Current, the Navy's bluegrass band. He auditioned before he was in the navy. He's an all around great guy and will give you some very good candid insight into the process.

    From personal experience, playing in a military band has some odd challenges, especially on day when someone above you is calling rank for everyone to play the wrong changes to a well known song....good luck with the audition.....
     
    Keithunem, Koyeah and dhergert like this.
  16. Koyeah

    Koyeah

    Jun 9, 2014
    Nope, just auditioning for the fleet bands right now.
     
    dhergert likes this.
  17. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Well I wish you the best. Hope you get the gig!
     
  18. Holdsg

    Holdsg Talkbass > Work Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2009
    Alta Loma, CA
    have you had your audition? how did it go?
    if you are still looking for audition songs, I'd suggest one that there is a well known solo break (to let you shine just a bit). when i played in a band there were 2 standards that we did that with. 1) My Sweet Blue Eyed Darlin' and 2) Blues Stay Away from Me.
     
  19. Keithunem

    Keithunem

    Jun 17, 2018
    Bemidji, MN
    Is that the same Danny Stewart who books Bluegrass Cruises?
     
  20. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    I don't know if that is the same Danny.

    As for ANY audition, keep it basic and solid: classic tunes that people know and understand the changes and the melody line, not some overly emotional Chris Thile whining busy too many notes obscure B side cut sung like you are trying to pick up girls at a yoga retreat....
     
    Steve Killingsworth and AGCurry like this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.