Mike Compton (musician)

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Mike Compton (born February 29, 1956 in Meridian, Mississippi) is an American bluegrass mandolin player and former protégé of the Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe. He is considered a modern master of bluegrass mandolin.[1]


Compton learned music from an early age as his great-grandfather was an old-time fiddler. Initially, Compton began playing the trombone but switched to guitar instead and later to mandolin playing old-time music with his cousin. He became interested in bluegrass music and eventually learned to play like Bill Monroe. At the Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival in 1975, he finally met Monroe. After Compton had finished his education at the Meridian Junior College he moved to Nashville and joined Hubert Davis and the Season Travelers in 1977. Four years later, in 1981, he left Davis' band. He spent the early 1980s working as a cook, a printer, and only occasionally as a musician.[2] In the mid-1980s, he joined the Nashville Bluegrass Band but left the band in 1988 due to a road accident where bass player Mark Hembree was injured.[3] Compton moved to the Catskill Mountains in 1991 working as a cottage caretaker. The next year, he returned to Nashville to record an album with David Grier. Because session work was scarce, Compton began teaching mandolin.[2] In 1995, he recorded with Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys.[4] Compton joined John Hartford in the mid 1990s recording several albums together with him.[2] In 2000, Compton returned to the Nashville Bluegrass Band as a replacement for the mandolin player Roland White.[3]


In 2001 and 2002, Compton was nominated as IBMA Mandolinist of the Year.[2] In 2002, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, an album containing one of his songs, was awarded the Grammy Award for best album.[5] In recognition of his achievements, he received a commendation from the Mississippi State Senate.[6]



  • Mandotasting (2005)


John Hartford[edit]

Nashville Bluegrass Band[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ David McCarty. "Mike Compton - The Unlikely Icon". Mandolin Magazine. Retrieved 2008-12-06. 
  2. ^ a b c d Mike Compton by Dick Bowden
  3. ^ a b Carlin 2003, p. 283.
  4. ^ Rosenberg, Wolfe 2007, p. 286.
  5. ^ "Full list of winners at the 44th Grammy awards". London: The Guardian. 2002-02-28. Retrieved 2008-12-06. 
  6. ^ "Senate Resolution No. 45" (PDF). Mississippi Legislature. 2002. Retrieved 2008-12-06. 


  • Carlin, Richard (2003), Country Music: A Biographical Dictionary, Taylor & Francis
  • Rosenberg, Neil V. - Wolfe, Charles K. (2007), The Music of Bill Monroe, University of Illinois Press

External links[edit]