Dave Bagdade
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Dave Bagdade

Indianapolis, Indiana, United States | SELF

Indianapolis, Indiana, United States | SELF
Band World Celtic


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"EXOTIC SOUNDS: Wabash Valley musicians master the tiny mandolin"

GRAYSVILLE — A mystic power dwells inside eight strings, 13 inches of wood, steel, brass and mother of pearl.

That force drove Dave Bagdade, then a teenager, to sell his baseball card collection so he could buy his first mandolin. Solly Burton sold eggs and 4-H pigs from his family’s farm to purchase his first good mandolin. Louie Popejoy, a musical legend in the Wabash Valley, spent 30 years mastering the tiny instrument.

“If a player’s good, they can make some sweet sounds with it,” Popejoy said.

Bagdade fell for its brightly pitched tone after reading a magazine review of an album by 1960s mandolin pioneer David Grisman. “I went out and bought the record, and it literally changed my life,” he recalled.

Now Bagdade, 44, plays mandolin for numerous bands of several different genres, including Terre Haute-based bluegrassers Diamond Hill Station.

It transformed Burton, too.

He’s an easy-going 17-year-old, perfectly content tending to the hogs, chickens, ducks and grain crops on the rural Sullivan County farm where he lives with his parents, Barney and Susan Burton. Home-schooled since seventh grade, Solly takes courses across the Wabash River in Robinson, Ill., but insists with an infectious smile, “I like to stay home.”

That’s getting harder to do, because so many people like to hear him play his mandolin. Fortunately for them, that feeling is mutual. Burton’s fascination with the instrument led him to Winfield, Kan., where he won the National Mandolin Contest last year among musicians of all ages, and to Nashville, Tenn., where he recorded an album, fittingly titled “Back Home Again.” Last weekend, the Burtons drove to Princeton so Solly could perform on a radio show. He’s played at the Boot City Opry, churches, weddings and holiday events. On the bluegrass festival circuit, he’s immediately recognized.

“We’ll go places, and people will say, ‘There’s Solly,’” Susan said, “and we don’t know who they are. Somebody said it’s like Cher — they don’t need a last name. It’s just Solly.”

As he listened to his mother recount that story, Burton quietly plucked his Weber mandolin. That Montana-made instrument was his prize for winning the national title at Winfield last year. Some of his fellow entrants were as old as 68. “I didn’t think I’d make the finals because the other guys in the contest were so good,” Burton said.

Obviously, the judges thought otherwise.

His skill reveals itself immediately. A mandolin seems at home in his young hands. On the back cover of Burton’s album, Danny Roberts — mandolinist for the Grammy-nominated bluegrass band The Grascals — writes, “Great tone, nice clean picking, cool arrangements. Solly has all the tools.”

And versatility. While Burton insists he’s uninterested in commercial rock, pop and country music, he buzzes like a bee from bluegrass to jazz, gospel, blues and Texas swing styles. He even handles the nuances of Django, a gypsy sound made popular in the 1930s and ’40s by Belgian guitarist Django Reinhardt. “I just liked it because it was a whole different sound. It had that choppy sound,” he said, demonstrating as he spoke. “It’s a really dynamic sound.”

Sitting on the couch in the Burton’s front room, Solly played “Sleigh Ride” first in its straight, cheery Christmas version and then as a jazzy holiday tune. “It’s more improvisational,” he explained.

Each rendition unique

Susan would like her son to try writing songs. Solly contends that he’s writing every time he improvises a solo, even if it comes in the middle of a song written by someone else. “Anything I play is an original version of that song. Nobody plays a song like I do,” he said, without a hint of bravado.

Until recently, Burton didn’t bother with reading sheet music. Mandolin players who can only perform to scripted notes could get lost in a bluegrass or jazz setting, where improvisation rules, he explained.

“I think reading music is a waste of time, because for some of the songs, you can’t find the sheet music,” Burton said.

Still, he’s now learned to sight-read mandolin sheets, and studies music theory two days a week at Lincoln Trail. He also takes non-music courses from that college online. By the time he completes his home-schooling next year, Burton’s mom would like to see him enroll at a university music program, or pursue session work in Nashville.

He’s unsure of his next step. “I really don’t know what I want to do,” he said.

The only limit on Burton’s future will come from other people, said Popejoy, Solly’s first instructor. Popejoy started teaching 45 years ago, and opened his Terre Haute music center in 1972. Solly first studied fiddle under Popejoy, because Burton’s dad, Barney, was doing the same. The 9-year-old Solly didn’t enjoy violin. But when his mother bought a weathered, old mandolin for $50 at a garage sale, Solly was hooked. Popejoy began teaching him mandolin, and Burton hasn’t stopped since.

Amidst a roster of hundreds of Popejoy’s pupils, Burton has reached a special plateau, thanks to his tireless practice.

“There’s only one obstacle standing in his way, and that’s finding a group that will not only challenge him, but also not stand in his way,” Popejoy said. “It just depends on what he wants to do. He has the same capability as five mandolin players I know who’ve been very successful.”

It’s rhythm, rhythm, rhythm

Burton prefers performing with other musicians, rather than solo. Bluegrass and jazz are better genres for ensembles than pop or country, he said. In country music, “They want the singer to be the star. They don’t want the mandolin player to take all the attention. But in bluegrass or jazz, you want your break to stand out.”

A mandolinist in a bluegrass band must also carry the rhythm, along with a bassist and guitarist.

It’s “rhythm, rhythm, rhythm,” said Bagdade of Diamond Hill Station. “Don’t get me wrong — I love guys and gals who can fly all over the fingerboard and play a million notes. But rhythm is so important.”

Traditional bluegrass isn’t Bagdade’s only stylistic forum, though. He plays “rocked-up bluegrass” on electric mandolin with Indianapolis’ Cousin Brothers, Irish and Scottish music with an accompanying fiddler, and Grateful Dead covers with jam bands, and country. He’s in the duo Mando Commandos, crossing over the boundaries of bluegrass, Celtic, reggae, blues, gypsy and rock, among other styles, and even plays with the Indianapolis mandolin orchestra known as Mandolindy.

“It really is an amazingly adaptable instrument,” Bagdade said, “in the right hands.” - Tribstar.com


“Whistle Pig was the perfect bluegrass group to kick off our Antique Tractor Show. They proved that bluegrass and old tractors are a great blend. Perfect weather, perfect setting and perfect music.” - Cheryl Stutzke, Blue Goose Run

"Online Review"

I just listened to the Whistle Pig cd "Down on the Farm" You can listen to the whole cd for free at cdbaby.com and click :play all songs"

They are a band from the north side or burbs of Chicago. I have met most of them and enjoyed their company at the Pizza Jam at Ray's Pizza on 127th street in Blue Island.

Martha Murphy is their beautiful fiddler. She really plays a smooth and danceable Westphalia Waltz and her Ashoken's Farewell is as good as any I have ever heard. But my favorite is when she gets down on "Trouble In Mind". Real bluesy and catchy.

The instrumentals are all good. Dave Dillman on bass, Dave Bagdade, guitar and Mark Aymar, banjo. The singing is rich and powerful and I especially liked The Old Home Place that kicks off the cd. The lead singer enunciates every word perfectly and that is the first time I have ever been able to understand every word in that song. And the harmony is great. They both have good bluegrass voices.

My favorite of all is the closer Groundhog. But that is a no brainer for me. I have always loved that song and this is an excellent version.

Ya baby! good jam. - Acie Cargill

"Colts Songs Sung Blue"

Colts anthems: Songs sung blue
Posted by David Lindquist
After our football team takes care of business Sunday in Miami, Indianapolis blues-rock fixture Duke Tumatoe will write his 23rd Colts-related song of the season.

That's an all-time high for the musician who debuted his "Lord Help Our Colts" tune on "The Bob & Tom Show" back when the NFL team limped to 13 straight losses at the beginning of the 1986 campaign.

In contrast, the Colts' run to the Super Bowl has provided lighthearted lyrical inspiration for Tumatoe and he's not alone in paying tribute to the AFC champions.

A new video posted at IndyStar.com features four artists and their Colts-related compositions:

The Mudkids reworked their song "Rock 'N' Roll Pt. 1" to have a Super Bowl theme after Colts superfan Zack Legend suggested they do so. The hip-hop group and Legend then took to the streets of Indianapolis to make a video for the song. MC Russ "Rusty Redenbacher" Johnson says the "Go Blue" remix is similar to the team that inspired it -- "gritty and pretty." MC Brian "Skittles" Philps rhymes about defensive standouts such as Gary Brackett and Anthony "Booger" McFarland during his verse, while Johnson addresses offensive stars (sample lyric: "To get to No. 18, it takes a week of Jeff Saturdays). YouTube presently hosts two video versions of the song. There's one compiled by Legend and one known as "the artist's cut."

The Cousin Brothers have performed Colts-related songs on X-103's "Stuck 'n' Gunner Show" throughout the season. Vocalist-bass player Kevin Vickery, mandolin player John Bowyer and guitarist Dave Bagdade recently visited The Star's photo studio to share a rendition of "Big Colts Fan." The outlaw bluegrass band from Henry County will perform more football tunes -- including "Hey Peyton" -- Friday at Eastside nightclub Zanies Too.

Trillogy sampled Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It" when putting together the song "Colts Anthem." Rappers Jason "Alpha Live" Wright, Kevin John "Onree" Brents and Ron "Reddy Rock" Bradley were confident enough in a Super Bowl trip to submit the song to radio station Hot 96 during the regular season. For the IndyStar.com video, Wright, Brents and Bradley go off-script to deliver freestyle rhymes about the Colts.

Tumatoe also visited The Star's photo studio, where he talked about his history with the team and he played three of his gridiron gems: "Lord Help Our Colts," "Make It Personal" and "Peyton Manning is an Alien."

To recap, you can check out a video featuring all four acts here. And If you're surfing the Web during the Super Bowl, feel free to return to this blog. I'll supply live commentary on the CBS telecast -- ranging from Prince's halftime performance to the commercials to Jim Nantz's play-by-play call and Phill Simms' game analysis.
- Indystar.com

"Band Rides Colts' Coat Tails to Success"

Band rides Colts' coattails to success

NEW CASTLE, Ind. A band called The Cousin Brothers is chronicling the Colts success in song and may wind up with a C-D deal after the Super Bowl.

Lead singer Kevin Vickery of Kennard, Indiana, says he writes lyrics every week to fit the games and the teams the Colts have played.

Their playlist includes "Hey Peyton" -- set to the tune of Johnny Cash's "Hey Porter." It features lines like "The ladies, they all love you for your looks and southern charm. But for me, I just love to see your laser, rocket arm."

An Indianapolis radio station (WRZX) has played some of the tunes and has invited the band to produce a C-D after the Super Bowl. - Associated Press

"Punk Rock Night..Sort of"

The Cousin Brothers, Il Troubadore, Harley Poe
Melody Inn
Saturday, Oct. 14

Last Saturday delivered another Punk Rock Night at the Melody Inn, except the punk turned bluegrass and the rock turned folk. But I’m learning PRN isn’t about a theme. It’s about any band that’s worth a damn and provides an open stage for innovative artists taking creative risks.
Saturday was also the annual burlesque benefit show for breast cancer organization Y-ME.org. So we expected the altered agenda.
Let us begin by saying the burlesque show was part of the night’s success. While a musical analysis won’t do, I can say the burlesque was every bit as demanding as any band. The girls of PRN are not only pin-up icons, but an important part of a culture now evolved.
The Cousin Brothers introduced us to bluegrass with a dash of metal. Upright bassist Kevin Vickery put the spine in every song. He plucked away at four defenseless strings and manhandled the neck of an instrument taller than himself. The aggression lent to a vigorous danceable beat.
CB’s lyrics oftentimes played on white suburban stereotypes. Some songs went so fast I began to look for the first musician to collapse. But a lively bunch showed CB was an energizing experience.
Il Troubadore took the audience from frenzied to mesmerized. They played a set beautiful to both eye and ear. The performance was an invigorating take on Albanian and Bulgarian folk music. Cellist Jon Silpayamanant made the sound of his instrument soar as his horse-hair bow began to unravel. But the instrumentals nearly came second to belly dancer Carenza bint Asya, who proved not only captivating, but somewhat death defying. Hips shook and stomach muscles ripped while Asya kept, of all things, a machete placed on top of her head. While impressive, the concept was stressful.
Harley Poe greeted an almost completely disbanded crowd. And for those who left, you missed a talented and overall hilarious three-piece band. I don’t know what it is I consider charismatic about a middle finger. Maybe it’s the fact that lead singer Joe Whiteford was just that confident.
Harley Poe gave the leftover audience a little bit of that not-so-promised punk and a synchronized combo of guitar, bass, drum and a strange homemade instrument allowing the percussionist to play the tambourine with his foot. Whiteford closed his set singing, wait, shouting the lyrics, “I can always eat your brain.” I hope this is his alternate plan.
—Amber Kerezman

- Nuvo.net

"Getting to Know Indy's Best Country Band"

Getting to know Indy’s best country band
From left) Dave Bagdade, Kevin Vickery and Ben Long of The Cousin Brothers
The Cousin Brothers walk the bluegrass-rock line
We’re all still shocked at our success,” John Bowyer, The Cousin Brothers’ mandolin player, says of his band’s seemingly out-of-nowhere arrival. “Just a couple years ago, we were strumming on acoustics in our garage.”
Since then, the band has made a name for itself playing a style of music that frontman/bassist Kevin Vickery describes as “powergrass”: a jacked-up and plugged-in version of traditional bluegrass. Along with Vickery and Bowyer, banjo player Ben Long, drummer T.R. Yelton and guitarist Dave Bagdade round out the lineup. Explosive live sets, acoustic instruments punished by distortion pedals and rousing covers of popular rock songs are a few of the reasons that prompted local fans to vote The Cousin Brothers as the best country band in NUVO’s 2006 annual readers’ poll. Their popularity also launched them to the third round of the recent Battle of Birdy’s competition, and listeners of X103’s Stuck ’n Gunner radio show will recognize them for their hilarious “Big Colts Fan” song that can be heard on Friday mornings.
Taking time away from prepping for NUVO’s Second Annual Elvis Birthday Bash, when The Messarounds, Hustler, Deacon Sean and The Cousin Brothers will lace their sets with Elvis favorites this Saturday at Locals Only, Bowyer discussed the band’s tightrope walk over two music genres and the battle between playing covers and original songs.

NUVO: Being primarily a cover band, do you feel some discrimination from club owners or favoritism from others?
JB: There’s a club in Fountain Square — I won’t say which one — but we tried to book a show there, and they called back to say they don’t book cover bands. But when we get in to play a show, even if the club owner is apprehensive, we usually prove them wrong. We can hook the audience in. We’ll play a Van Halen song then turn around and do [Snoop Doggy Dogg’s] “Gin and Juice.”
NUVO: Most people who aren’t familiar with bluegrass may not realize that playing covers is common.
JB: Yeah, that’s just part of the bluegrass scene. Ya’ know, keeping the heritage alive.
NUVO: Do you ever perform in traditional bluegrass festivals?
JB: That’s the beauty of this band. We can play stripped-down acoustic style or full-on electric. We’re a really flexible band; we can just switch it up.
NUVO: What’s the biggest difference between playing a bluegrass festival and a regular bar or club?
JB: We pretty much get the same response, except they don’t serve alcohol at bluegrass fests (laughs).
NUVO: When playing the bluegrass festivals, do you upset the more established players?
JB: The older guys are very strict on how certain songs should be played, so yeah, I think it’s the younger fans that respect and “get” what we do.
NUVO: So what is your goal when you take the stage?
JB: To put on one hell of a show and not look like clowns (laughs). We know we’re treading thin ice as it is with the style that we play.
NUVO: Do you want to be known as a funny band or as a serious live band?
JB: Our style is so fresh that we’d like to be known for that, but more than that, I’d like us to be remembered as a kick-ass live band.
NUVO: Are you planning on expanding beyond Indy?
JB: That’s actually one of our goals for ’07 — to get gigs in Chicago and Cincinnati.
NUVO: What else is on the horizon for The Cousin Brothers?
JB: We haven’t recorded an official album yet, and that’s something we’re getting to in the next couple months. People who are familiar with just our covers will see a new side of us. We’ll have some funny songs and some rockin’ ones too.
NUVO: Do you ever see The Cousin Brothers playing the Bill Monroe Bluegrass Festival, held every September in Bean Blossom, Ind.?
JB: We’d really like to play there within the next year or two. It’s the world’s longest running bluegrass fest, and everybody who’s anybody has played that stage at some point in their career. That is our dream.

- Nuvo.net

"Best of 2007"

Aural reflections: Top music news and events of 2006
by Editors Dec 27, 2006
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Clockwise, from upper left: Matt Mason (submitted photo), The Flaming Lips (by Melonshe), Wanda Jackson (submitted photo), Kristy Venrick of Zoica (by Nora Spitznogle), DJ Larner (by Mike Smith), Dixie Chicks (submitted photo) and Form 30 (submitted photo).
Somehow we’ve survived another year — and another Gwen Stefani album, a Tenacious D movie, the Battle of Birdy’s, Jeff Zuckerman’s move to L.A. and an ongoing redesign of the NUVO Web site. Through trials and tribulations, 2006 had its share of milestones and remarkable album releases, to be sure. For NUVO’s annual year in review, we asked some of our beat writers to share with readers the most significant music news and events of 2006. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Born Again Floozies: If you took a tent revival meeting, tap dancing, a marching bass drum, a tuba and a gallon of hooch, you’d get the gist of this band’s new album, Novelties, Addenda and Ephemera. If you like the album, wait until you see the live show. The band also gets the song title award for “Small Penis Compensation Vehicle.” It has a chorus you can sing along to, and this is only an EP.
2. The Brains Behind PA’s Better For The Deal and Dan Holmes’ Burning Down: File both of these albums under that wonderfully vague category of Americana, since both acts play whatever they feel like. Holmes dabbles in rock, soul and blues and throws some tuba (“Not a Thief Anymore”) at you to see if you’re paying attention. BBP plays rock with some Texas soul (“Mudroom”) that might give folks Tom Petty flashbacks (“Business Burlesque”).
3. The Cousin Brothers, $200 Demo: If anything else, this lively bluegrass trio actually pulled some life into ’80s songs like A Flock of Seagulls’ “I Ran,” Poison’s “Every Rose Has its Thorn” and Skid Row’s “I Remember You.” When do we hear a bluegrass version of “Heaven” by Warrant?
4. The Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Big Damn Nation: The good Rev. Peyton’s guitar and vocals, Breezy’s washboard and Jayme’s drums help keep the country/roots/blues sounds of north Mississippi alive and fresh. Tunes like “Boom Chank,” “My Old Man Boogie” and (a favorite) “Plainfield Blues” make corpses tap their feet.
5. Duke Tumatoe, You’ve Got the Problem: Yes, he’s funny on the Bob & Tom Show, but many forget he’s a damn good guitar player. His return to Blind Pig Records (still waiting for the reissues of Duke’s earlier recordings) is an evening of solid blues (“Don’t Ask”) with fun storytelling (“My Baby is a Nudist”).
—Matt Socey


1. The Cousin Brothers: The band combines traditional bluegrass with a modern rock sound and has a growing loyal following. They are one of, if not the hottest country band currently in Indy.
2. Matt Mason: This talented young singer from Fairland, Ind., was a finalist on this year’s Nashville Star show on the USA Network. Like Miranda Lambert, another Star finalist from a few years ago, Mason is poised to hit the big time in the near future.
3. Rockabilly Weekend: The 14th Annual Rockabilly Rebel Weekend, held June 22-24, 2006, at the Clarion Waterfront Hotel, brought in Indy’s own Art Adams, The Lustre Kings, Ace Brown & His Helldrivers and the legendary “First Lady of Rock ’N’ Roll,” Wanda Jackson.
4. Dixie Chicks: In spite of continued backlash from vocalist Natalie Maines’ anti-President George W. Bush comments in 2003, the group’s 2006 release, Taking the Long Way, has been certified platinum, and the documentary film, Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing, premiered at this year’s Toronto Film Festival (and played locally at Keystone Arts Cinema). While several of their tour dates were cancelled (including in Indianapolis), and they didn’t win any major music awards, the Dixie Chicks were still one of the year’s best-selling groups in country music.
5. In concert: Several of country music’s top acts visited Indy this year, including Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. Sorry if you missed them!
—Joe O’Gara

- Nuvo.net


LP: Dave Bagdade, History in my Hands, available on CD Baby and at www.mandodave.com

Single: Dave Bagdade, We Can Just Pretend, available for radio streaming at www.airplaydirect.com

LP: Dave Bagdade, Rocky Shores of Home, available on iTunes, www.mandodave.com and CD Baby.

LP: The Cousin Brothers, Friday Morning Radio Club, available at www.mandodave.com

LP: The Cousin Brothers, Live at the Melody Inn, available on iTunes and at www.mandodave.com

LP: Diamond Hill Station, Live Bootleg, available at CD Baby, www.mandodave.com and www.diamondhillstationband.com



Dave has been performing bluegrass and Celtic music for more than 25 years. He plays with the following bands:

The Cousin Brothers: The CoBros perform PowerGrass, a rocked-up version of bluegrass with mostly original material.

The Dreadnought Society: An exciting new band performing progressive bluegrass with many original songs.

Diamond Hill Station: A hard-driving bluegrass band which combines a respect for tradition with a progressive approach.

Mando Commandos: A mandolin duet performing boundary-stretching original mandolin music.

Dave also performs solo, playing bluegrass, Celtic and Americana music on a rotating variety of stringed instruments.