Category Archives: Uncategorized

Intro to Shuffle Bowing Video Lesson

A few years ago I wrote a quick overview of shuffle-bowing and posted it here on my blog. It hasn’t escaped my attention that this entry gets more traffic than just about anything I’ve written. So apparently I’m not the only fiddler out there thinking about shuffle bowing!

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, shuffle bowing is simply a repeated bow pattern that fiddlers use to create a driving rhythm. At least in bluegrass and old-time music, we don’t use drums, so fiddlers, the groove is almost entirely in your hands. Shuffle bowing is far and away the most important technique to know when it comes to groove creation.

Here’s a video lesson on shuffle bowing I just uploaded to my Youtube channel. If you click on the link below and subscribe to my email newsletter, I’ll send you the practice tunes that accompany the video.

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Intro to Double-Shuffle Bowing (aka, “Hokum Bowing) Lesson

Learn to play Orange Blossom Special in twenty minutes! Well…not quite. But in this lesson we will go over the basics of the double-shuffle bow pattern (the part in Orange Blossom where the audience goes crazy). So, if you’d like to learn Orange Blossom Special, or Back Up and Push, this is your intro. We’ll…Continue Reading

Upcoming Workshops

June is shaping up to be a big month for fiddle workshops and fiddle camps. On June 8 and 9, I’ll be teaching a two-day fiddle workshop at the International Music Camp’s  Fiddler’s Weekend, on the North Dakota-Manitoba border. This is a workshop I’ve been doing for years and it’s always a lot of fun.…Continue Reading

Grass Seeds Academy Bluegrass Workshop for Kids

Grass Seeds Academy is one of the many things I love about spring. Every year on the first weekend of March, The High 48s (my band) teach this weekend-long bluegrass (and old-time) workshop for kids at the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association’s Winter Weekend festival. The focus  of this workshop is on group playing, whether…Continue Reading

Eric Christopher and Anthony Ihrig at the Cedar — October 11

Anthony and I have been playing banjo-fiddle duets together for years. We started working up arrangements in our downtime with The High 48s, waiting backstage or killing time on the festival grounds. Eventually we decided take to our show out of the green room onto the stage.     This coming Tuesday, Anthony and I…Continue Reading

Grass Seeds Academy — March 4-6

On March 4-6, The High 48s will be teaching at the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association’s Grass Seeds Academy, an three-day music camp for kids ages 8-18 that takes place during the Bluegrass Winter Weekend festival in Plymouth, MN. We always enjoy working with these talented young musicians and are impressed with what they are able…Continue Reading

Tune of the Week: “Scotland”

Over the weekend, I did a twin fiddling showcase with Catie Jo Pidel at the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association’s “12 for 12” Fundraiser, and one of the tunes we pulled out was Bill Monroe’s twin (sometimes triple) fiddling classic “Scotland.” Now, this is a tune I hadn’t played or thought about for quite some…Continue Reading

Music is Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a bit of a buzzword these days. And for good reason: there’s a national shortage of it. Since smart phones have become part of our daily lives, we increasingly live in two places at once. While we inhabit the physical world — working, running errands, eating dinner, going to concerts, taking vacations —…Continue Reading

High 48s Album Release Show!

Save the date! The High 48s have booked a concert to celebrate the release of our upcoming CD “Great Northern Railroad” on May 2nd at the O’Shaughnessy Education Center Auditorium on the campus of the University of St. Thomas. (IMPORTANT: NOT the O’Shaughnessy on the campus of St. Catherine’s…directions here.) Joining us will be alt-country…Continue Reading

Back from Nashville…

Just got back from Nashville where The High 48s were working on the new album. We tracked it with Grammy-winning dobro player/producer/engineer Randy Kohrs at Slack Key Studios. It was three ten-plus-hour days of tracking, sandwiched between two fourteen-hour days of driving. We’re all feeling a little ragged right now, but happy, because the album…Continue Reading

The High 48s at Grass Seeds Academy, February 28 through March 2

The High 48s are very excited to announce that we’ll be teaching at the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association (MBOTMA)’s Grass Seeds Academy again this spring. Grass Seeds is a weekend-long jam camp for kids that’s held in conjunction with MBOTMA’s Winter Weekend bluegrass festival at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Plymouth, MN. We’ve…Continue Reading

Bluegrass Today…and tomorrow

Thanks to Bluegrass Today, the bluegrass blog of record, for the nice write-up on The High 48s’ forthcoming CD. For those of you who are tardy to the party, we’re working on a collection of train songs, new and old, originals and covers. The album will be called Great Northern Railroad (after the title track, which…Continue Reading

High 48s-related gig alert!

The High 48s won’t be gigging between now and when we head off to Nashville next week, but there are High 48s-related shows to report: Tonight, January 10, at Lee’s Liquor Lounge in Minneapolis, the 48s’ Anthony Ihrig and I will be joining up with Chris Silver, Wayne Beezley and Pete Mathison and Ron Elwood…Continue Reading

Help The High 48s Record Their New Album — Contribute to our Kickstarter Campaign!

This winter, The High 48s will be traveling down to Nashville to record and album of bluegrass train songs with Grammy-winning producer, engineer and dobro player Randy Kohrs. The album will be a collection of High 48s originals along with some choice cover songs from the likes of Greg Brown, Robin and Linda Williams, Muddy…Continue Reading

The High 48s Jam Camp — August 6-8 at the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association’s August Fest

The High 48s will be back at the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association’s big festival near Richmond, MN this year. In addition to playing a couple of mainstage sets, we’ll be teaching Jam Camp. The camp is for beginning- and intermediate-level players and will include individual instrument instruction (in banjo, fiddle, flatpicked guitar, upright…Continue Reading

May 10: Americana Triple Bill with The High 48s, The Roe Family Singers and Becky Schlegel

On May 10, The High 48s, The Roe Family Singers and Becky Schlegel will celebrate Mother’s Day weekend with a triple bill at the O’Shaughnessy Education Center Auditorium on the campus of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. We’re looking forward to this one! It’s not often that we get a chance to play on a bill…Continue Reading

Young Fiddlers Association Fiddle Workshop, February 18 at 1pm

I’ll be teaching a fiddle workshop for kids on February 18, 1pm, at the Tapestry Folkdance Center at 3748 Minnehaha Avenue South in Minneapolis. The workshop is being organized by the Young Fiddlers Association, who put on a lot of great events for fiddlers between the ages of 8 and 18. Visit for more info or…Continue Reading

Jump Start Your Fiddle Workshop — February 9, 9-5pm

On February 9, I’ll be teaching a clinic for classically trained violinists who are learning (or are interested in learning) how to play fiddle. As a classically trained violinist/bluegrass fiddler, this is a topic near and dear to me. I’ll be giving lots of practical pointers on making the transition from classical music to fiddling…Continue Reading

How do I play the double shuffle in Orange Blossom Special? Part Two.

In part one of this lesson, we looked at two types of double-shuffle bowing as well as two basic double-stop voicings to use with these bowing patterns. Once you’re able to play these patterns with good timing and intonation, then you’re ready to tackle the triple-stop (three-note chord) version. The easiest way to beef up…Continue Reading

How do I play the double-shuffle in Orange Blossom Special? Part one.

UPDATE 1/8/2018: check out my new video lesson on double-shuffle bowing on Youtube.   This is a question that comes up in lessons and workshops a lot. I mean, A LOT! And that doesn’t come as a surprise. Orange Blossom Special is far and away the most popular American fiddle tune, it’s fun to play…Continue Reading

Tonight at Underwood Studios

Tonight The High 48s went to Underwood Recording Studios in Minneapolis to record one more track for our soon-to-be-released album. For this song, we chose to abandon our usual method of working, which is recording over a click track (a metronome, basically) with each instrument isolated in its own room, on its own track, using headphones and…Continue Reading

Tunes from the Minnesota State Fiddler’s Association Workshop

Thanks again to everyone who came to the Minnesota State Fiddler’s Association workshop yesterday! As promised, here are some bare-bones transcriptions of the tunes I shared. Just click on the links below and a PDF file should download to your computer automatically. These are just the basic melodies. Bowings, exact phrasing, slides and drone double-stops…Continue Reading

CD Release Show, May 11 at Dreamland Arts in Saint Paul

When: Friday, May 11 at 7:30pm Where: Dreamland Arts, 677 Hamline Avenue North, Saint Paul Tickets: $15, available at Info: Click here for directions and contact info Come on down to Dreamland Arts in Saint Paul to celebrate the release of In the Quiet Night: Fiddle Tunes from the Upper Midwest. After many years spent listening hard…Continue Reading

Grass Seeds Academy Bluegrass Workshop for kids — March 2-4

I’ll  be teaching a bluegrass band workshop for kids along with The High 48s at the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association’s Winter Weekend Festival.  The High 48s will be joined by Catie Jo Pidel, Chuck Millar and Ryan Kimm, and Peter Ostroushko will be giving a fiddle workshop for intermediate-advanced students. I’ve taught at…Continue Reading

MinnPost’s Jim Walsh Likes It!

We’re always grateful when someone, anyone, really listens to and connects with our music, especially when that someone hears what you were trying to get at when you were locked away all those long hours in the studio. And when that somebody happens to be a music journalist who can really write — I mean,…Continue Reading

A Banner Weekend at Bluegrass in the Pines

Just got back from the Bluegrass in the Pines Festival in Rosholt, WI (near Stevens Point), and I’m physically exhausted but spiritually recharged. Outstanding picking (both onstage and off), good people and an almost magical vibe. Really. I love, love, love this festival. If you’re thinking about going to a bluegrass festival next summer, put…Continue Reading

Remembering Kenny Baker

  Kenny Baker, longtime fiddler for Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys, died of a stroke last week in Tennessee at the age of 85. Kenny’s passing didn’t make headline news [although the “newspaper of record” did finally publish an obituary:] , and unless you were reading a bluegrass blog or heard it through the bluegrass…Continue Reading

Festival Seasons is Here!

If the triple digit temperatures weren’t a dead giveaway, the my/the 48s’ schedule this week clinches it: festival season has arrived. This Thursday and Friday, I’ll be teaching a two-day bluegrass fiddle workshop up at the International Music Camp in Peace Gardens, on the North Dakota/Manitoba border. For more info, visit On Saturday, the…Continue Reading

Minnesota State Arts Board Grant

Just found out that I’ve been awarded a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant. So excited! This will help fund an all-instrumental CD I have in the works. For this one, I’ll be performing/arranging a collection of tunes from Upper Midwestern fiddlers across genres/traditions. I’m still collecting tunes, so if you have any suggestions, send ‘em…Continue Reading


I’d just like to say thanks again to all of the jam camp students at this year’s MBOTMA fest. It was a ton of fun working with all of you this year — and I know I’m also speaking for my fellow High 48s and for Willie Scott Bauer. We’ve posted pictures from jam camp…Continue Reading

The High 48s New CD is Done, Done, Done

The High 48s have just released their third CD. It’s called Up North, and it features eight High 48s originals, two bluegrass classics and a song we picked up from the Irish band The Pogues, as well as some smokin’ guest appearances from Mike Compton on mandolin ( ) and Randy Kohrs on dobro (…Continue Reading