The Luthier

mandogroup11-12-06webCraig Wilson has been a student of the mandolin and Bluegrass music for decades. Early on Craig was fortunate to personally meet many of the first generation creators of Bluegrass music including Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs and Ralph Stanley. Craig attended his first Bluegrass Music festival in Camp Springs, NC in 1969.

His first mandolin was a 1918 Gibson

F-4, purchased in his teens. A few years later he had the good fortune to acquire a 1924 Lloyd Loar signed Gibson F-5 (75310) that he owned and performed with for 34 years.

Here I am with #75310 back stage with Bill Monroe in 1974

Craig performed for many years in bands including Stony Point, The Born Again Bluegrass Band, Pacific Crest and The Roustabouts. Currently Craig sings as well as plays guitar in a traditional Bluegrass band, The Ol’ Pals as well as with LeRoy Mack and Gloryland..

Craig was infused with early Country music in childhood and played in semi-professional Rock bands during high school. In 1963 he caught the Bluegrass “bug”, starting out playing guitar and taking up the mandolin shortly thereafter. While still teenagers he and San Francisco Bay area luthier and Tennessee native, Larry Cohea formed their first Bluegrass band, The Cumberland County Boys. Craig has also helped renowned resophonic guitar artist, LeRoy “Mack” McNees in putting together chapel service bands for the Father’s Day festival in California.

Craig was director of California’s largest indoor Bluegrass festival, SuperGrass/Loarfest West in 2006-2007. In it’s first year the event drew over 40 Lloyd Loar signed instruments and included panel discussions among some of the world’s premier mandolin builders, a “Loar Ensemble” made up of top touring musician/Loar owners and Loar “mando-tasting.” The various components of the 2006 and 2007 LoarFest West events were recorded and have been archived.  Audio files may be visited and listened to at; http://www.mandolincafe.com/news/publish/mandolins_00441.shtml and  http://www.mandolincafe.com/news/publish/mandolins_00573.shtml .   From the LoarFest West experience as well as from others, Craig has developed relationships, friendships and alliances with many of today’s finest mandolin builders, benefitting from their mentoring and guidance. He is also inspired by the craftsmanship, tonal qualities and mystique of the instruments created under the hand of Lloyd Loar many years ago.

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