It’s hard to imagine Bryan Sutton – easily the hottest bluegrass guitar player in the game today – feeling the need to come into his own.Sutton has toured with the likes of Bela Fleck and Chris Thile, been named the International Bluegrass Music Association’s guitar player of the year six times, produced a Grammy nominated record this year for Della Mae, has won three Grammys of his own – two during his time with Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder and one for a rendition of “Whiskey Before Breakfast” (with the iconic guitar player who happens to be the answer to the trivia question below) – and is one of the most in-demand sessions players in Nashville.What else did Sutton have to prove? Nothing really, except to make the record that only he could make. That record is Into My Own, which releases on Sugar Hill Records on April 29. Sutton has stepped up his game both as a songwriter and a vocalist, and his new record is his most well-rounded to date.As always, Sutton is joined by some of the hottest pickers in bluegrass. Sam Bush, Noam Pikelny, Stuart Duncan, Ronnie McCoury, Luke Bulla, and many others all lend their talents to this tight collection of bluegrass tunes.Trail Mix recently caught up with Bryan Sutton to chat guitars, bluegrass pickers, and that one guy he couldn’t believe he found himself on stage with.BRO – What’s your guitar of choice these days?BS – I’m fortunate to have some good options with guitars. I tend to let the gig or general need define what guitar I’ll use. I’ve been using a 1948 Martin D-28 for the last few years for most of the shows and sessions I’ve done. This guitar feels extremely natural to me. For Hot Rize shows, I enjoy playing Charles Sawtelle’s old 1937 D-28. For most recording sessions, I take a pile of guitars.BRO – You are spending more and more time in front of a microphone these days. Can you describe the challenge in growing your confidence as a singer?BS – The challenge for me as a singer has been trying to improve while doing. Lots of times, my best opportunities for real “practice” are in front of hundreds of people. Sort of trial by fire, I guess. I’m also surrounded by great singers who are supportive and have made me feel a little more competent and confident.BRO – We are featuring “Log Jam” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?BS – I experienced a pretty cool and short period of time where I wrote most of the instrumentals for this new record. “Log Jam” came out of this time. I came up with this little pattern at the top that I liked and I could recognize a groove, but the sense of a down beat was vague. It built from there and revealed itself as a kind of blues jam turned on its head.BRO – Who is your favorite bluegrass picker?BS – Don’t make me answer that. Without being an over-generalizer, I really recognize and honor certain individual strengths and contributions my favorite players have made and continue to make. That being said, it’s hard to overlook Tony Rice for his personal influence on me as a player and the kind of mark he’s made in bluegrass guitar playing in general. I don’t have a favorite ice cream flavor, ether.BRO – Have you ever met a bluegrass lick that’s gotten the best of you?BS – There’s this Kenny Baker phrase that most notably comes from his interpretation of “Muleskinner Blues.” I can do it, but it seems to not flow the way I should when I try it in context.BRO – Finish and elaborate, please: “Holy shit. I can’t believe I am on stage with . . .”BS – Jack Black. I worked on this record with this jazz bassist, Charlie Haden. Jack is his son-in-law, and we did the Opry a few years ago. We played a fast tune with a bunch of solos and Jack would fly around the stage like a wild man, dancing and carrying on. It was a hoot.Our North Carolina friends can catch Bryan Sutton on the road with David Holt and T. Michael Coleman at Merlefest on April 24th, at the Tryon Fine Arts Center in Tryon on May 9th, and at the High Point Theater in High Point on May 10th. Sutton returns to the stage with Hot Rize at Del Fest in Cumberland, Maryland, on May 23rd. For all of our Elevation Outdoors readers in Colorado, Bryan will be part of the Telluride House Band in June and will be in Lyons for both the Rockygrass Academy and a Hot Rize concert in July.For more information on Bryan Sutton, when he might be heading to a stage near you, or how to get a copy of Into My Own, surf over to www.bryansutton.com.In the meantime, Trail Mix would like to give you a shot at getting your hands on Bryan’s new record a few days early! Take a shot at the trivia question below. Email your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. A winner will be chosen from all of the correct answers received by noon on Thursday, April 17.Question . . . . Bryan won a Grammy award in 2007 for his performance with what legendary acoustic bluegrass/mountain blues guitar player and patriarch of Merlefest?
Mutko said yesterday that there was “no state doping schemes in Russia”.Calls for a blanket ban on Russia – from both the Olympics and Paralympics – followed the publication of the McLaren report on Monday.The IOC says it will first “take into consideration” a ruling, to be made by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) tomorrow, on the legality of banning all of Russia’s track and field athletes.IOC president Thomas Bach said the findings of the report were a “shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sport and on the Olympic Games”.Wada president Sir Craig Reedie described the “scope and scale” of the findings as a “real horror story”.He said his organisation wanted the IOC to “decline entries, for Rio 2016, of all athletes” submitted by the Russian Olympic and Paralympic committees.“Is what Russia has done here so bad that it warrants a collective ban – as no Russian can be above suspicion and therefore no Russians should go to Rio?“Or is it a case that individual sporting federations should take into account circumstances and decide for themselves if certain Russian athletes who pass the right tests then they can go? It’s a very complicated area. It looks on the face of this statement that the IOC is edging towards a blanket ban.“Russia will not take any decision about a blanket ban lying down. They want to be at the Olympics. It would be a national humiliation for them not to be. They are sporting superpowers, so they will fight on to try to make sure their athletes are there next month.”Commissioned by Wada, it looked into claims made by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia’s national anti-doping laboratory.He alleged he doped dozens of athletes, including at least 15 medallists, in the build-up to the Sochi Games.He said this was the result of an elaborate plot with the Russian government, which exploited its host status to subvert the drug-testing programme.Russia topped the table in Sochi, winning 33 medals, 13 of them gold.Rodchenkov, now in hiding in the United States, also alleged he doped athletes before the 2012 Olympics in London, the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow and the 2015 World Swimming Championships in Kazan.It has already suspended a number of senior sports officials following the publication of the McLaren report.Despite his denial of any state-sponsored doping programme, sports minister Mutko told the R-Sport news agency he had suspended anti-doping advisor Natalia Zhelanova as well as Irina Rodionova, deputy head of Russia’s state-funded Sports Preparation Centre, and two other officials.McLaren said Zhelanova and Rodionova had worked closely with Russian deputy sports minister Yury Nagornykh to cover up positive tests since 2011. Nagornykh has also been suspended.Football’s world governing body FIFA will look at claims in the report that Mutko was involved in covering up positive dope tests by footballers.Mutko is a FIFA council member, the president of the 2018 Russia World Cup organising committee, president of the Russian Football Union and a member of UEFA’s executive.Russia’s track and field athletes are already barred from competing at the 2016 Olympics in Rio as a result of doping violations.The International Association of Athletics Federations, the body that governs world athletics, voted in June to maintain a global competition ban on the All-Russia Athletic Federation (ARAF).ARAF hopes to overturn the suspension and will find out by tomorrow if its appeal to CAS has been successful.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Russia must wait to learn if it can send a team to next month’s Olympics after calls for it to be barred from the Rio Games for operating a four-year, state-sponsored doping programme.The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it will “explore the legal options” before deciding whether to implement “a collective ban” on all Russian competitors for the global showpiece, which starts on August 5.In the meantime, the IOC has said that it plans to re-test all Russians who competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.This follows the findings of the McLaren report, which said urine samples of Russian competitors were manipulated across the “vast majority” of summer and winter Olympic sports from late 2011 to August 2015.