Every week, over 10,000 listeners tune in for the latest episode of their favorite podcast. Some are mandolin players. Some are beer drinkers. Most of them are music lovers. The popularity has amazed the podcast creator, who knew about both mandolins and beer, but had to educate himself about journalism and editing. Evidently, he learned well because the Mandolins and Beer podcast is a hit.
Daniel Patrick, a native of Michigan, played drums as a kid.
“I had a few gigs here and there.” When he bought a Nickel Creek CD because he liked the album cover, a switch was flipped for Daniel. “I heard the first song, ‘The Smoothie Song’ and it blew my mind. I called a buddy of mine who worked at a music store and asked him if they had a mandolin, and the hold music was New Grass Revival.”
He took up the mandolin and practiced, mastering the instrument. Daniel posted a “lick of the day” on Instagram and gained one thousand followers over time. “I was also doing YouTube videos talking about beer. I love beer. I like trying different beers, and for a while, it seemed that craft breweries were popping up all the time in Charleston, South Carolina, where I live now.” Daniel says that stores also carried many craft beers from other states, and he enjoyed trying new ones.
Without really understanding the dynamics of podcasts, Daniel started his in August 2019. “My Instagram name was mandolinsandbeer, so that’s what I called the podcast. I felt that if a hundred people were listening each month, I would be happy.”
But to his great surprise, hundreds, then thousands, of people found and listened to the weekly podcast. He became serious about it, focusing on the music more than the beer. “Now I wrap up each show by asking my guest what their favorite beer is, and if they don’t drink, I ask what their favorite fiddle tune is to play on the mandolin.”
Daniel had a lot of spare time as a full-time mandolin player after becoming a full-time musician. “I thought about interviewing people I enjoyed listening to.” That idea came to fruition when he received an email from Mike Marshall, who found the podcast on mandolincafe.com. “Scott Tischner is great about putting each new episode on his home page each week,” says Daniel. “Mike Marshall said he would love to do an interview on the podcast.”
That interview gave the show even more credibility and helped open doors for Daniel with other artists. While Daniel was an accomplished mandolin player with a good knowledge of beer, he readily admits he was not a journalist.
“I had no idea what I was doing. I recorded the interviews as a phone call, like a conversation between two people. I’m sure it was awful. I can’t go back and listen to those first few shows, but then again, I never expected the podcast to have the popularity it does.”
Daniel said some very kind listeners with journalism backgrounds began emailing him with constructive criticism. “I welcome that kind of criticism,” he says. “I paid attention to what they were telling me, and that’s how I learned. I think it all comes down to editing. If someone is tuning in to hear Sam Bush, they don’t want to hear my stories; they want to hear Sam Bush’s. So while we may talk back and forth, I edit out a lot of what I said to make the show more concise.”
Editing is essential for the timing of the show as well. While podcasts aren’t held to a specific time restraint, Daniel observes that people begin to lose interest and drop off if it is over 70 minutes. “I try to edit to around sixty minutes.” If the guest has more experience, Daniel will sometimes divide the episodes in half, creating two shorter episodes from one interview.
While most of the guests on his show are mandolin players, Daniel will deviate from interviewing only mandolin players from time to time. “I interviewed Brittany Hass, a fiddle player who has recently joined the Punch Brothers. I also interviewed guitarist Chris Eldridge. I try to find common ground. As long as a mandolin player can get something from it, then it works.”
When asked who his “dream interview” would be, Daniel said, without hesitation, Chris Thile.
“If it weren’t for me buying that Nickel Creek CD and hearing Chris Thile play, I wouldn’t be here today. It was pure luck that I bought that CD, and it changed my life.”
Hear all of the nearly 200 episodes of Mandolins and Beer at www.mandolinsandbeer.com.