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Work it out, bluegrass style, with Brother Mule

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Posted: Saturday, January 23, 2010 3:04 pm | Updated: 1:26 pm, Wed Dec 26, 2012.

FAIRBANKS - Local artist and musician Mary Ver Hoef and award-winning bluegrass band Brother Mule are calling for all aspiring mandolin, banjo, bass and other bluegrass instrument players to join them for a funfilled educational workshop next weekend.

Whether you’ve played all your life or can’t carry a tune to save your life, the Idaho-based band, Brother Mule — Brin Wicklund, Ben Winship and Eric Thorin — is offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the closet musicians of Fairbanks.

Fiddle player Wicklund brings a vast knowledge and great passion for bluegrass music with him to Fairbanks. He is the author of the best-selling “American Fiddle Method” books and says he uses his sense of humor to teach most of the workshops. Winship, whose expertise is with the mandolin, has been called “one of the acoustic music scene’s best writers,” by fellow artist Tim O’Brien.

Bass player Thorin takes bass playing to an adventurous level by intermixing a variety of music from salsa to reggae and jazz to flamenco.

Together, the three have traveled throughout the United States, Canada and into the United Kingdom to pass on their love for music.

Next weekend’s workshop includes a variety of lessons, including an introduction to the mandolin, hot bluegrass fiddle songs and Nashville-style notation, a numbered-style of writing music that is often used by bluegrass musicians.

The highlight of the workshop is a guided bluegrass jam for all participants and anyone else in need of a little jam session to beat the winter blues.

A detailed listing of class descriptions, prices and a schedule is available online at site/bluegrassworkshopinfairbanks/.

This is a chance for anyone who has ever wanted to learn bluegrass to not only bite the bullet and give it a try, but to learn from some of the very best in bluegrass, according to workshop director Ver Hoef.

Wicklund, Winship and Thorin are winners of the Indie Music Awards “Best original CD” in 2005 for their debut album, “Big Twang.”

The band will also hold a public performance at 8 p.m. on Jan. 29 inside the Pioneer Park Theatre. Tickets are available at

Contact staff writer Rebecca George at 459-7504.


What: Bluegrass Workshop with Brother Mule

When: All day, Jan. 30

Where: Monroe Catholic High School

Information: Registration required. Contact 456-4321.

Brother Mule will host a public performance on Jan. 29 and workshop on Jan. 30.


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