Befriended and mentored by Bill Monroe, the acknowledged Father of Bluegrass Music, Mike Compton is one of today’s foremost interpreters of Monroe’s genre-creating mandolin style. Compton’s mastery of mandolin is at once effortless and exceptional. A compelling entertainer either alone or with a group, his skills as a singer, arranger, instrumentalist, composer and accompanist also make him in-demand as a band member and ensemble player at festivals, clubs and concert halls, recording sessions, music workshops and as a private instructor.
Compton’s decades of touring and recording with musical luminaries ranging from rockstars Sting, Gregg Allman and Elvis Costello, to straight-fro-the-still acoustic legends like John Hartford, Doc Watson, Peter Rowan, Ralph Stanley and David Grisman, have established him as a true master of the modern American mandolin and a premier interpreter of roots and Americana musical styles. With over 140 CDS in his discography, Compton has helped keep mandolin a cool, relevant sound as the modern musical styles ebb and evolve to reach an every-broadening audience.
A native of Meridian, Mississippi, Compton picked up the mandolin in his teens and absorbed the area’s native blues, old-time country and bluegrass sounds. He soon gravitate to Nashville, where he helped found one of the 20th Century’s most admired and influential bluegrass groups, the iconic Nashville Bluegrass Band. He’s also been a part of the Hubert Davis Band, John Hartford Stringband, 1942, Compton & Newberry, and other seminal groups.
When A-list Americana producer T-Bone Burnett needed experts in authentic rural musical styles to anchor the landmark ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ movie project and subsequent tour, he called upon Compton’s unique knowledge and signature mandolin style to authenticate the Soggy Bottom Boys’ rootsy sound. That Grammy Award Album of the Year-winning album went on to sell seven million copies and sparked a global revival in old-time and bluegrass musical styles.
Connoisseur of hand-painted vintage silk ties, popularizer of the denim overall urban fashion statement, lover of iconic men’s hats and curator of oddball official days (ask him about National Lost Sock Memorial Day or National root Canal Appreciation Day), Mike Compton thrives at the intersection of traditional funk and modern authenticity.
Equally skilled in bluegrass, old-time string band music, country blues, roots Americana styles, and much more, Compton soars beyond easy categorization as n acoustic mandolin player and singer. Gifted at tastefully incorporating rural, roots-based learn and rhythm mandolin styles into modern Americana music, Compton’s unique musical skill set allows him to entertain audiences ranging from racers and urban hipsters to die-hard country, folk and bluegrass fans.
A mandolin master able to channel the Monroe-style playing better than anyone, Compton is a preservationist who continues teaching the music that Bill Monroe innovated, and which set the standard for generations of bluegrass mandolin players to come. For more information about Mike, visit his website at mikecompton.net