glass slide on guitarist's pinky

Choosing a Slide for Slide Guitar

Mass, Hardness, Materials, Fit

Slides are widely available in different designs, materials, and sizes. These comments will hopefully save you from buying slides that will not serve you well and save you from picking a musical tool that might discourage you from pursuing slide in your musical life. Continue Reading

Last Shot Got Him – Living Blues Review

by Frank Matheis
March Issue, Living Blues Magazine

Last Shot Got Him [has Scott Ainslie] putting down six swift Mississippi John Hurt songs, paying homage to the old master starting with The First Shot Missed Him.

There has been a flurry of John Hurt covers lately, some lovely and some over the top with weird phonetic mimicking of Hurt’s voice and dialect that seem almost farcically, culturally misplaced, but Ainslie sings Hurt with dignity and does justice to him musically and artistically. It’s a respectful tribute with superior guitar instrumentation.

He captures Hurt’s music closely to the original while making it his own, bringing on Avalon Blues, Let the Mermaids Flirt With Me, Honey Right Away, Got the Blues and Monday Morning Blues and every moment is a sweet spot.

He has perfectly mastered the lilting, syncopated, alternating bass-picking style of Hurt. Ainslie wakes up that Gibson and makes it chime and ring, with his fingers dancing over the fretboard in a away that this guitar may not have experienced in its 80 years of life. Continue Reading

Scott Ainslie: Striking a thoughtful chord

Post Local section of The Washington Post

By Pamela Constable, February 9 at 5:56 PM

One recent evening, while much of the world seemed to be captivated by Taylor Swift, I was lucky enough to escape to a nondescript diner in Rockville, along with about 30 other people, for a riveting and thought-provoking performance by Scott Ainslie, a graying but nimble folk singer and composer from rural Vermont whose music I had come to know through mutual friends in Chincoteague.

Scott is the kind of musician they don’t make any more, in the mold of the late Pete Seeger – unpretentious, dead serious about his craft, dedicated to preserving traditional American music and instruments, unabashedly faithful to left-liberal values, and so versatile he can make you weep one moment over the story of a dying steel town (“all these houses for sale, and ain’t none of them sold”) and snicker appreciatively the next at a driving Mississippi blues song full of earthy innuendo. Continue Reading

Barns of Rose Hill, Berryville, VA

Ainslie in Winchester VA

Guitarist tells stories through pickin’ strings

By Stephen Nielsen
The Winchester Star, Thursday, February 5, 2015

BERRYVILLE–The Barns of Rose Hill is spreading the blues with a guitar workshop and concert by professional musician Scott Ainslie.

“I think it’s a great way for people to learn from a master,” said Kelli Hart, executive director of the Barns. “As long as you can play, he can teach you something on slide techniques.”

Ainslie is a traditional acoustic blues signer, guitarist, historian, and songwriter. He is a graduate of Washington & Lee University and has studied in the old-time southern Appalachian fiddle and banjo traditions as well as with black gospel and blues musicians, according to scottainslie.com. Continue Reading

Blues Blast February 2015

Blues Blast Magazine, Feb/2015

Featured Interview – Scott Ainslie

by Terry Mullins

It could be something as complex and spiritual as destiny or even the perfect alignment of the stars with the planets.

Or, it could be something much simpler, something like a happy accident or even the stubborn refusal to give up pursuit.

Whatever you choose to call it, the end result is the same; Scott Ainslie ended up with a guitar he had long coveted.

And with that prized possession – a Gibson L-50, circa 1934 -nestled firmly in his hands, Ainslie’s latest album, The Last Shot Got Him (Cattail Music), was quickly given birth.

The album – with just Ainslie on guitar (plus a touch of banjo) and vocals – is like a love letter to another glorious time, a time when legends like Robert Johnson, the Rev. Gary Davis and Mississippi John Hurt were still alive and in their prime. Ainslie’s sixth solo offering seemed to strike a responsive chord with lovers of authentic acoustic blues far and wide…

Read more on their site, or download a pdf.

Huffington Post Interview, 2014

A Conversation with Scott Ainslie
by Mike Rogogna 
The Huffington Post, December 24, 2014

Mike Ragogna: Scott, your latest album The Last Shot Got Him was released back in October. What’s the reaction been to it so far?

Scott Ainslie: From the moment the first copies have gone out I’ve received very positive responses from listeners. The quality of the recording and the performances have both garnered considerable praise. And The Last Shot Got Him was chosen as the December, 2014 “Recording of the Month” by Rad Bennett at SoundStage! Ultra–at http://ultraaudio.com.

MR: How did the material come together for the project and what was the recording process like?

SA: I recorded 17 tracks to choose from for this record and released fourteen of them. The guiding principle was the voice and vintage of the guitar, a 1934 Gibson L-50. All the tracks are songs and tunes that the guitar might have been asked to play when it was young–ca. 1928-1941.

My process? I record all the tracks in my studio at Cattail Music in Vermont. I rough mix them and then Julian McBrowne and I mix the tracks together. For this project, I went to Toby Mountain for mastering. Both of these engineers are masters who believe in using a light touch with acoustic music and we have good results to show for that approach. Continue Reading

Blue Ridge Outdoors Interview

To call Scott Ainslie a musician is to shortchange his abilities; along with being a world class blues guitar player, Ainslie counts himself an author, historian, storyteller, and teacher.

The Brattleboro, Vermont, resident – whose roots run deep right here in Virginia – was introduced to the blues as a teenager. Since that foundational moment when he was fifteen, Ainslie has maintained a passionate love affair with early American blues music, going so far as to transcribe the original works of the legendary Robert Johnson in his book Robert Johnson: At The Crossroads and produce an instructional DVD on Johnson’s playing techniques.

Ainslie has also released five recordings, won grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council, and has traveled the U.S. and Canada to share his brand of American folk music.

Recently, Ainslie released his latest record, The Last Shot Got Him, a collection of tunes originally recorded in the early twentieth century by such luminaries as Mississippi John Hurt, Robert Johnson, Fats Waller, and more.

Ainslie I corresponded by email this week and I must admit to being transfixed by his responses to my questions. His understanding and appreciation of musical history virtually seeped through my monitor.

Continue Reading

Scott Ainslie on NPR-Radio Diaries: Robert Johnson & Pablo Casals!

“A Guitar, A Cello, and The Day That Changed Music” (Radio Diaries)

November 23, 1936 was a good day for recorded music. Two men – an ocean and more apart – sat before a microphone and began to play. One was Pablo Casals – a cello prodigy who had performed for the Queen of Spain. The other was the soon-to-be Delta Blues legend and guitarist Robert Johnson – a regular in the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta.

On this day, three-quarters of a century ago, Pablo Casals and Robert Johnson both made recordings that would change the course of music history.

Blues singer,guitarist, and historian Scott Ainslie, along with Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Delta Blues musician David Honeyboy Edwards, and cellist Bernard Greenhouse talk with Radio Diaries’ Joe Richman about this one day, its recordings, and what followed from this remarkable coincidence.

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