Bury Me Beneath the Willow Tree

January 3, 2013 8:43 PM

A very short bluegrass banjo piece I multi-tracked in 2005 and just now unearthed on my hard drive.

It sounds a lot better than I would have expected and it's been forever since I posted any music, so what the heck?

Gold Star GF-85 banjo with rhythm guitar and mandolin, recorded with (I think) a Sony ECMMS907 mic.

posted by usonian (6 comments total)

Good stuff, makes me want to pull my banjo out of mothballs and learn to play it again!
posted by bondcliff at 10:17 AM on January 4, 2013

Thanks! Yeah, I've been idly thinking about selling this banjo for a while, because I never play it and don't see myself getting excited enough about 3-finger style again to spend the thousands of hours practicing it. But I had forgotten how damn good it sounds... you can play bluegrass style on an open back banjo, but it's never going to have the huge bright sound you get from a heavy bell bronze tone ring and resonator. Maybe I'll hang onto it a while longer.
posted by usonian at 10:56 AM on January 4, 2013

(-: I heard a vocal melody immediately, using the "bury me beneath the willow tree" as the hook/chorus. It's so obvious that it leads me to ponder whether this is a standard song or an original?
posted by MajorDundee at 3:03 PM on January 4, 2013

Oh definitely a standard. That arrangement is from Ross Nickerson's Banjo Encyclopedia. Here's The Carter Family's version. (I'm having trouble determing if they in fact wrote the song... it definitely sounds like one of theirs.)
posted by usonian at 3:21 PM on January 4, 2013

Always fascinating this kind of thing. The melody I heard in my head isn't quite the same as the Carter family one, although it's close... I think your version is sweeter fwiw...more innocent somehow.
posted by MajorDundee at 4:03 PM on January 4, 2013

It does sound great. Bright and singing and full.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:55 PM on January 5, 2013

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