What Happens When You Grow Up Surrounded By Music


“My dad loved eBay, so there were always eBay instruments coming in the mail.”

Courtney Hartman, famed guitarist in the bluegrass/folk band Della Mae grew up in Colorado with a house full of instruments, thanks to her father who encouraged the kids to learn how to play. As early as age 3, Courtney began playing fiddle and eventually found herself playing guitar with her mom after her dad asked her to teach him how to play ‘Blackberry Blossom.’

The whole family shared instruments and songs, and for 7 years she and her four younger siblings toured the country in an all-family band, playing small festivals and shows. That time together paid off for Courtney, who went on to study guitar at Boston’s Berklee School of Music, where she delved into more jazz and classical styles. Courtney has become a celebrated guitarist, earning a grammy nomination in 2013 with her Rounder Records band Della Mae and touring the world playing in over 30 countries. Courtney was recently featured on the cover of Flatpicking Guitar magazine and was listed as one Acoustic Guitar magazine’s ’30 under 30.’

Courtney stopped by the CreativeLive Studios before her show with Della Mae in Seattle to share a few songs and talk with the Fretboard Journal Publisher Jason Verlinde.



Zach Varnell

Zach began recording in his parents basement in Denver with a two track reel-to-reel and a mixer from radioshack. In the summer of 2014, Zach went back to education, working with CreativeLive as a content producer for the audio channel.