Podcast 342: Tristan Scroggins

On this week’s Fretboard Journal Podcast, we chat with musician, educator, and FJ contributor Tristan Scroggins.

Scroggins has had an eventful month: He won the 2021 IBMA Writer of the Year award for his music journalism and then, just a couple of weeks later, released a truly unique solo album, ‘One-Ring Circus.’ That album features Scroggins – best known for his mandolin playing – in the midst of a truly wild pandemic project, playing solo instrumental tunes on a vintage tenor (four-string) banjo. It’s an amazing undertaking filled with great playing … and a far cry from what you imagine when you think about “tenor banjo” music. We hear about the making of the record, his decision to release it on cassette (don’t worry, it’s also on all the streaming platforms), and the Paramount tenor he used for it.

This conversation also goes deep: Scroggins talks about his unusual upbringing, growing up on the road playing mandolin for his dad, banjo player and bandleader Jeff Scroggins. We hear about the pressures of bluegrass competitions, his move to Nashville, mental health, and his decision to stay busy (Scroggins has been steadily releasing some great mandolin instruction books), plus a lot more. Photograph: Natia Cinco

Look for pieces Scroggins penned on John Reischman and Bela Fleck in the Fretboard Journal’s next two issues. You’re going to love them.

Follow Scroggins’ many projects here: https://www.tristanscroggins.com
Bandcamp for ‘One-Ring Circus’: https://tristanscroggins.bandcamp.com

This week’s Fretboard Journal Podcast is brought to you by Retrofret Vintage Guitars.

Note: We are currently working on our 50th issue of the Journal. We’d love to hear your stories about how the FJ (or its podcast) has changed your life. Got a noteworthy instrument with a great back story? Email us about that, too… at podcast@fretboardjournal.com.

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Don’t forget, we now host an entire family of podcasts, about everything from lutherie to home recording: Luthier on Luthier; The Truth About Vintage Amps; The Truth About Recording & Mixing; Acoustic Voices; and Sweep the Floor.