Clint's Mandolin

This song is a tribute to my (Bud's) step father. Clint was born in 1907, his father died young, and he had to get his first crop loan from the bank when he was only 14.  He lived his entire life on the family farm. During the late 1920's and 30's he, a brother (Sanford) and a friend played in a string band on Saturday nights - the traditional recreation time for farmers who worked 6-7 days a week. 

The prelude was created from an old tape that I recorded over 40 years ago of Clint, Sanford and me pickin' in the living room.

The arrangement and mix attempts to present the sound of a string band playing live into, at most, a couple of mics. The pickers had to "work" the mics moving in and out for fills and solos. It took some choreography! The bluegrass band Janice and I were in for many years used this setup.

Keeping with his style of music the song is a basic three chord write with no chorus or bridge. Many songs of their repertoire were of this style. Since I used to pick guitar or bass with Clint and Sanford I played and recorded my upright bass for the first time in a decade for this tribute.

This is, as Bill Monroe called them, a “true life song.”

The Soundcloud photo is a group of photos I took many years ago of Clint, Sanford, the mandolin he played 80 years ago and his favorite chair and cushion smile

While this is a personal song we do hope that you enjoy it and as always we welcome your thoughts.


Vocal: Janice - Rhodes NT1 mic, Scarlett 212 USB interface and Logic Pro X
Bass (1953 upright Kay): Bud - MXL mic, Scarlett 212 USB interface and Logic Pro X
Guitar rhythm: RT 598 - I comped in the Lester Flatt G run throughout the song keeping with the style.
Mandolin rhythm: RT 599
Mandolin solo : RT 820 - fills and solos were comped from multiple generations
Banjo rhythm: RT 590
Banjo solo: RT 591 - fills and solos were comped from multiple generations

Logic Pro X/Nectar 2/Alloy2/Ozone 7 and various effects from Logic.
Thanks to PG Music, floyd jane and Tom Adams

Clint’s Mandolin

clint and his brother worked the fields every day
times were hard but they held their farm together
on saturday nights they played in a string band
pickin’ at barn dances when a crowd could gather

years passed till they could no longer work the farm
i’d find him sitting out back on a feed sack cushion
playing mandolin, his brother on the five string
i’d join on guitar and listen to the tales they spun

time came when family and friends were all gone
he’d hold his mandolin staring into the past
i could feel the memories drifting all around him
some were fleeting but some will always last

today he rests a few miles from the old farm
his name and a mandolin are carved in the stone
a wise man who never left the land he loved
when i think of him i hear the ancient tones

above our mantle hangs clint’s mandolin
lord, i wish i could hear him play it again
i’d love to hear clint play his mandolin again

Janice and Bud Merritt
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