Gerald Anderson began making mandolins twenty-nine years ago in Wayne Henderson’s shop and has since crafted more than 200 instruments. After he graduated from college, Anderson spent considerable time in the famous guitar makers busy workshop in Rugby, Virginia observing and playing music with Henderson. Soon he developed an interest in making his own fine-quality instruments and set out to reproduce the sounds of the classic Gibson-Loar mandolins of the 1920s. He shared a workspace with Henderson until recently when Anderson moved his tools and instruments into the bottom level of his home. Anderson now shares his expertise and workshop with apprentice Spencer Strickland. In the many years Anderson has been crafting mandolins he has also played old-time music with friends including Wayne Henderson and Butch Barker. Anderson has made more than twenty-five recordings and has more than 200 ribbons from musical competitions. The most prestigious being awarded for best guitar player at the 2003 Galax Fiddlers Convention. Gerald was among the region’s twelve musicians who participated in the Crooked Road Goes to Scotland Tour in May of 2006.
Gerald has teamed up with Spencer Strickland to form the duo performing act “Anderson-Strickland”. The two released a CD entitled “Headin South” and are currently working on their second CD project which will be an addition to the Crooked Road CD Series produced by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.
Spencer Strickland grew up in a family and community steeped in music. His mother and and his father played guitar in a bluegrass band that performed in churches and at community events. At age 10 Strickland began mandolin lessons . Strickland’s father immediately recognized his talent and traded a pocketknife for Spencer’s first instrument. Since then Spencer has gone on to win prestigious awards, such as the ribbon for best all-around performer at Galax Fiddlers Convention in 2004 and mandolin competition at Merlefest in April 2005, both festivals that he had attended as a child. In the fall of 2004 Strickland began an apprenticeship with Gerald Anderson, sponsored by the Virginia Folklife Program and in November 2004 he completed his first mandolin. The Virginia Folklife Program’s apprenticeship program awarded annually connects master craftspeople with talented young apprentices in order to preserve and enrich the traditional arts of the Commonwealth.
Spencer is currently part of the duo performing act “Anderson-Strickland. The two released a CD entitled “Headin South” and are currently working on their second CD which will be part of the Crooked Road CD Series produced by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.