Dec 022009

Last Saturday some friends and I caught Orrin Star and jimmy Gaudreau performing a duo show at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Herndon VA.

Gaudreau is a fabulous mandolin player and a entertaining guy on stage. I’ve seen him several times, mostly as part of the fabulous Robin and Linda Williams band. He’s just straight up beautiful picking on the mandolin every time.

Star is a great guitarist and a comical performer. I’ve met Orrin a few times at flatpicker workshops. He’s a meticulous and demanding teacher who uses a Segovia-style approach, making students play back phrase for phrase. I have always enjoyed the experience of learning from him, and I have never done anything to get more Doc Watson and Norman Blake into my playing than to attend his workshops. I’ve also seen Star several times, usually in a duo setting. He chats, tells stories and jokes, and then gets down to the point with some great picking.

Star and Gaudreau played for two hours with maybe forty minutes of intermission. It was a quick, to-the-point, up-tempo show. They played traditional fiddle tunes like “St. Anne’s,” plus some swingy, some country, some bluegrass. All around fun without self-indulgent noodling or patter. These guys don’t take me to the highest or lowest emotional points with gripping lyrical content, but theyare top-notch pickers and always leave me smiling.

Unfortunately I could not find video online of this duo performing together. Here are a couple things to watch with the guys performing in other contexts:

Gaudreau picking with the tony Rice Unit:

Star picking some good mando on Irish tunes:

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