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June 2024
Vol. 23, No. 9

Bluegrass Corner

April Fool’s!

by Dwight WordenApril 2024

Here are some bluegrass tidbits simmering in the bluegrass music cauldron. These are brought to you here first by the intrepid investigative reporters of the Troubadour:

  • Lloyd Loar’s Very Special Newly Discovered Mandolin. A very special mandolin, crafted by the legendary Lloyd Loar in the 1920s, was recently discovered in the basement of an old tobacco shack in Tennessee. It’s the only one known to exist, which features Mr. Loar’s image embossed on the back side, that experts believe was carved by Mr. Loar himself. Word is it’s up for sale at Bluegrass Auctions and the bidding starts at $1 million.
  • Bluegrass Boulevard? Insider information uncovered by the Troubadour reveals that Fifth Avenue in downtown New York is being renamed “Bluegrass Boulevard” in honor of the many New York bluegrass artists currently serving in positions of power in the city government. Word is the new street signs are in production as we go to press.
  • IBMA’s Annual World of Bluegrass Event, held for many years in Raleigh, North Carolina and before that in Nashville, Tennessee, featuring the annual bluegrass convention, street fair, and concerts, is moving to San Diego in 2025 to be close to the Mexican border so that a cross border collaboration can be pursued with prominent Mexican mariachi groups.

If you believe any of the above, tell yourself to have a great April Fool’s Day!


Bluegrass Spring is Here! Daylight savings is here, accommodating jamming into the early evenings. The Julian Family Fiddle Camp arrives next month (see last month’s Troubadour for a feature article on this great camp), and Bluegrass Day at the Del Mar Fair is just around the corner.

The North County Bluegrass and Folk Club is going strong with its first Tuesday of the month events, a new jam session at Duck Foot Brewery in Leucadia (visit NCBFC on the web for details:, and the SDBS is ramping up its second Monday and fourth Sunday events at Duck Foot Brewery Miramar, its third Monday slow jam, and more (Visit SDBS on the web for details: To top it off, NCBFC is sponsoring a Bluegrass Campout over the weekend of April 25-28 at the Portrero Campground.  Visit the above website for details. So, no excuses! Get out and enjoy some great local bluegrass activities.


John Mailander on fiddle with Scott Gates performing at Summergrass 2005 as part of the Kids Camp.

John also excels on mandolin.

John is a standout on fiddle.

John Mailander, Local Bluegrass Star. San Diego can claim bragging rights to a number of bluegrass music stars who hail from our home town or who have significant roots here. Start with Stuart Duncan, Dennis Caplinger, Alison Brown, Chris Thile, Sarah and Sean Watkins, and John Moore. Now, add John Mailander to this elite group.

John grew up in the Talmadge area of San Diego and took up fiddle at a young age. He was a regular at NCBFC and SDBS events and at the Thursday Night Pickers events in Encinitas. From there he went on the Berklee School of music and from there to a successful, but still young career as a performer, producer, composer, educator, and recording artist. He is a member of Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers and the leader of his own project, John Mailander’s Forecast.

John has worked closely with artists including Billy Strings, Mighty Poplar, Lindsay Lou, Jacob Jolliff, Keller Williams, Bella White, Sierra Hull, Tony Trischka, Ruth Moody, Maya De Vitry, Lee Ann Womack, and Rev. Jeff Mosier. He played fiddle for the premier of Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s musical, Bright Star. John’s a thoughtful and quiet man who can speak eloquently and powerfully with his fiddle and mandolin. You can read more about him here:

If you see him around town, tell him hello and congrats on the great work he is doing.

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