Mike Compton (Bill Monroe-ish)
The next Mandomania fellow I want to tell you about is Mike Compton. He also signed “The People’s Mandolin.” He often wears overalls and sports a somewhat Telly Savalas haircut. As he has gotten older he began to wear these 50’s retro glasses. If you gotta have bifocals you might as well be cool.
Mr. Compton can pick it all kinda ways, but he has Bill Monore’s style down better than anyone alive. Wayne and Darin both say he is the premier Bill Monroe stylist in the world. I told Mike this backstage. He laughed and said, “Tell those boys they don’t know what they are talking about.”
Ah, but it is true. His powerful downstrokes, slides, and slurs are so reminiscent of Monroe it’s spooky. I am sad to report that Butch Baldassari and John Hartford are no longer with us except in spirit but while they were here they both said the same thing, and I think they know a little about it too.
Mike earned it the hard way. Not only did he study Monroe’s work for years but I always heard he stayed on his farm in the summer where he split wood and mended fences in exchange for mandolin licks. If so, the boy wanted it bad. He got it, though. When I close my eyes I’d swear it was Bill Monore up there on the stage. Uncanny.
If you’d like to study under Mike he does some webcam lessons, but I don’t know if he is full. One of my blog pals in Texas, rekx (http://rekx.wordpress.com) has taken lessons from him, and reported it was quite productive.
Here’ s Mike’s address. Give him a shout if you have interest in Monroe style mandolin. He is the best. (Tell him Doc knows what he is talking about too!)