15 August 2018

Isaac Callender: bluegrass renaissance man from Montana

In the BIB post of three days ago, John Nyhan mentioned that in their forthcoming tour of Ireland (24 Aug.-9 Sept.) the Brothers Parker Bluegrass Band (USA) would include on guitar and vocals Isaac Callender (left), who had been to Ireland before, playing bass with Jeff Scroggins & Colorado - on their tour here at the start of 2016. It transpires that as a result, it was Isaac's idea for the Brothers Parker to come to Ireland.

Isaac was so self-effacing as a bassist that to read even a bare outline of his accomplishments is a dumbfounding experience. As well as bass and guitar, he plays banjo, mandolin, and fiddle (the latter to national and Grand Masters contest standards); builds and repairs instruments; plays as soloist and sideman with groups throughout North America and Europe; teaches at camps, workshops, and festivals; publishes tune books (including bluegrass, old-time, Irish, Scottish, and Canadian fiddle tunes, as well as books of fiddle tunes for guitar); and makes acclaimed records. Artists he has played with include the April Verch Band, Bobby Hicks, John Reischman, Tony Trischka, Tommy Emmanuel, Caleb Klauder, and Peter Rowan.

Isaac was born in Great Falls, Montana, began playing violin at the age of 3, and switched to fiddle at 7. His later career includes playing and touring abroad with the 133rd Army Band; playing swing and country rock; leading several bands; and managing the Pendleton Music Company store in Oregon. In addition, he acts as manager of Jeff Scroggins & Colorado. More detail can be found on his website.

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