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Adam Schlenker and Hayes Griffin

The American Roots Recap Series: Founding Fathers of Flatpicking Guitar

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The American Roots Recap series featuring Adam Schlenker &Hayes Griffin continues with the program “The Founding Fathers of Flatpicking Guitar.” Flatpicking guitar is thriving and has developed into sub-styles played by countless players around the world. Adam and Hayes will be paying tribute to the playing styles and song catalog established by these founding fathers of flatpicking guitar.

During the folk revival of the 1960’s the acoustic guitar emerged as a lead instrument taking on parts that had traditionally been played by fiddle and banjo. This was in part due to the technical advances in sound systems that allowed the guitars to be amplified for larger audiences, but it mostly had to do with players like Doc Watson, Clarence White, Don Reno and George Shuffler pushing their skill limits to new heights. These players figured out ways to convert old time fiddle and banjo tunes to the guitar using a flatpick as the engine. Not only did they work out these old tunes, but they also adapted the bowing and roll techniques heard on fiddle and banjo to the guitar leading to the creation of a new style of playing the acoustic guitar, Flatpicking. By the 1970’s Flatpicking competitions were commonplace at festivals and the list of flat pickers had expanded and now included two players who’d become the gold standard in Flatpicking, Tony Rice and Norman Blake.

Hayes Griffin is a multi-instrumentalist and music educator who has over a decade’s worth of experience touring with acts like Canadian fiddler April Verch and progressive bluegrass band Newtown, whose album Harlan Road featured Griffin’s guitar work and debuted at #8 on the Billboard Bluegrass Charts. Released in 2020, “Midwestern Swing” is Griffin’s solo debut and delivers an aural cocktail inspired by the sounds of American country and swing music from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s.

Adam Schlenker is an educator, performer, composer and arranger of Acoustic American Roots Music, and founded 5th Fret Productions, combining online, video-based lessons with one on one instruction. He has been featured in and contributed to Flat Picking Guitar Magazine and is the Coordinator of American Roots & Bluegrass Music Studies at Denison University. Adam strives to develop music that reflects his influences while attempting to keep the music moving forward. This approach to making music, innovation through tradition, continues with his latest album, The Ghosts of Pain Creek.

Date: Sunday, June 20, 2021

Time: 8:00 pm