Wayne Fugate

Mandolin Player

Wayne Fugate on SoundBetter

A versatile musician that plays mandolin, mandola and octave mandolin and makes his musical home in the space in, around and between the American roots styles of bluegrass, blues, jazz, and old-time music. He can swing gracefully from these styles to any of his other musical loves in the worlds of Classical music and Gypsy jazz.

I have decades of experience performing, recording and teaching bluegrass, jazz, and classical music. I am a fluent reader (notation and tablature), learn parts by ear quickly and can offer up inspired improvisations that always serve the tune well.

While I am typically hired for projects involving contemporary bluegrass, I can help you out if you need a mandolin (or mando-family instrument) for virtually any type of music - classical, pop, country, jazz, or world music project! I also have a nice home studio from which I can provide remote, on-line mandolin tracks for albums, commercials, films, video games, and more.

My most notable recent experience was playing mandolin (and guitar) on Steve Martin and Edie Brikell's five-time Tony-nominated musical "Bright Star" during its run on Broadway and I just completed the entire run of the show's first National Tour!

My film work includes contributions to the soundtrack of the Emmy nominated film "Home" and Louis B. Mayer award-winning short film, "Respects". Other film credits include an on-screen performing appearance in "A Bread Factory", starring Tyne Daly, James Marsters, and Janeane Garofalo.

I would love to learn more about how I can help with your recording project, live performance, or tour! Send me a message and I will get back to you within 24 hours. Please click the contact button to get in touch. Thanks!

Send me an email through 'Contact' button above and I'll get back to you asap.

Interview with Wayne Fugate

  1. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  2. A: I just finished the entire run of shows (nine months/ nine cities) for the first National Tour of "Bright Star", a musical written by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. It was such an amazing experience! The band was simply beyond amazing and we had such a tremendously great time playing and hanging out together. In fact, everyone in the company became 'family' ... truly a beautiful experience filled with memories that I'll hold in my heart for a lifetime!

  3. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  4. A: I'm currently working on a show that ran in D.C. earlier this year and is getting ready to do a 'reunion' show in New York. It's a pretty cool book that will definitely keep me on my toes!

  5. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  6. A: The most common requests are typically for either session work or live performances. But ... I've done everything from proof-reading notation for a series of mandolin books to arranging a Rameau ballet piece for a bluegrass ensemble - and then performing it in a movie!

  7. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  8. A: I love the fact - especially in the times we're living in - that when I'm playing music, I can get people of every sort of background, orientation and belief system to tap their feet to the exact same beat!! The world as a whole needs a lot more of those moments when we all come together like that. If I can play some small role in making more of those moments happen ... well ... it hardly gets better than that!!

  9. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  10. A: That playing music is somehow a hobby or something less than a real business that I pour my heart and soul into.

  11. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  12. A: After the basic questions regarding the type of project, when and where it will happen, the duration of the engagement, union or non-union, etc. I'll ask for whatever materials (music, demos, etc) might be available. I'll also try to get some sense as to how the client likes to work - is there a specific workflow or process they follow or do they work more loosely towards achieving the result they want. Is the project strictly a "play the notes as written" type of affair or more of a collaborative effort where my input is expected. Either is fine but it's helpful to have as clear an understanding of the project as possible, so that I can deliver from the first downbeat!

  13. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  14. A: I'd want to have my mandolin, mandola, octave mandolin and guitar for sure! Having a solar powered multi-track recording device of some kind would be nice so that I could lay some parts down to play to. That's already five pieces of gear so I guess I'd make picks out of sea shells.

  15. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  16. A: I have a pretty advanced case of "musical ADD" - I love so many types of music that when I'm not working on specific project, I might be transcribing a Swedish fiddle tune one day, learning a Brazilian Choro tune the next day and rounding the week out with some Bluegrass or Old Time tunes. An on-going project for me is playing through the Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin. They work really well on mandolin and I swear that playing through them will absolutely make anyone a better musician!

  17. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  18. A: Hopefully I'm the guy that people want to work with again. My goal is to always be prepared and professional, to listen first, and then play in a way that always serves the song well. Beyond that, I'm pretty good at leaving my ego at home, and being an all-around easy going, fun person to hang out and play music with.

  19. Q: What's your typical work process?

  20. A: I'll confess to being a bit of a preparation fanatic. To that end, I'll do as much research as I can on the the other folks that I'll be working with in order to get a sense of their musical sensibilities and styles. I've found that helps me to 'fit in' musically a bit better, right from the start of a project. If I can get my hands on the music or recordings of the material I'll be performing or recording in advance, I'll work on that pretty obsessively, putting it through a fairly disciplined, methodical approach that seems to serve me pretty well.

  21. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  22. A: I can draw inspiration from pretty much any musician I encounter regardless of their instrument or where they are in terms of their ability. I love the enthusiasm of 'beginners' and the persistence and passion of musicians that make their living at it. Of course being a mandolin player, I am in awe of Chris Thile (pretty much convinced that he was sent here from the future in fact), but I *love* the playing of so many others too ... Joe K. Walsh, Matt Wittler, Adam Steffey, Mike Marshall, John Reischman ... the list could go on forever. If I was forced to pick one musician as a primary source of never-ending inspiration though, it would probably be Sam Bush. One day I hope to be good enough to just make the mistakes that makes, lol!

"This Little Town"

I was the Mandolin Player in this production

Gear Highlights
  • Mandolins (A & F styles) and Mandola built by A.L. Smart
  • Octave Mandolin built by Austin Clark
  • DPA-4099 and Neumann KM-184 microphones
  • K&K pickup
  • Fishman Loudbox Amplifier
More Photos