Bro-country Christmas wishes to you and yours. Apologies for the paucity of pickup trucks and SoCo.
Another rough mix from a recent bout of recording. These are two tunes I played during the summertime wedding of two good friends. [more inside]
The old-time tune "Spotted Pony", played at a jam session at the 2016 Portland Old-Time Music Gathering. [more inside]
A lovely little early fingerstyle composition for the banjo by Frank B. Converse, from his 1865 New and Complete Method for the Banjo With or Without a Master.
Fretless recording of an 1868 James Buckley finger style banjo arrangement of a tremendously popular song written in 1856 by Benjamin Hanby. [more inside]
With all due respect to Steve Martin, you can play a sad song on the banjo. [more inside]
Another Frank Converse tune on fretless banjo - this one from 1865. [more inside]
Yet another quick solo tune from Briggs' Banjo Instructor of 1855.
A nice little duo for classic style five-string banjo, composed by Herbert J. Ellis. [more inside]
A traditional fiddle tune, recorded live at the Rainspout festival in Yachats, OR, November 2015. [more inside]
An instrumental arrangement of a minstrel era standard, from Briggs' Banjo Instructor of 1855. Fretless banjo, tambourine, frame drum and bones. [more inside]
Usually heard as 'Charleston Gals' in old-time circles these days, this was originally a minstrel-era song. [more inside]
By G. Swain Buckley, 1860. Solo fretless banjo. [more inside]
A fun one by James Buckley, 1860. Solo gourd banjo, eAEG#B tuning. [more inside]
One more 1865 banjo tune for the city songs challenge trifecta! This is another Frank B. Converse composition. Fretless banjo and tambourine, a bit of reverb for extra stateliness.
Another 19th century banjo tune for the City Songs Challenge, this one from Frank B. Converse's New and Complete Method for Banjo With and Without A Master. [more inside]
A solo clawhammer banjo recording of a traditional old-time tune. [more inside]
Getting in just under the wire for the May/June city song challenge, this is a short little banjo tune from Buckley's New Banjo Method of 1860. Fretless minstrel banjo, parlor guitar, bones and tambourine.
Written by James Buckley, from his 1868 Banjo Guide. Fretless stroke style banjo with a simple 2nd banjo accompaniment.
A composition for 2 banjos in the classic style, composed by S.S. Stewart in 1882. I decided to give it the carnival dirge treatment.
For two banjos in the classic style, composed by Bolsover Gibbs. [more inside]
From Briggs' Banjo Instructor of 1855. [more inside]
I was tending a fire and playing my banjo outside when the geese decided to help. [more inside]
Not the old-time tune you may be thinking of. Fretless banjo with a percussion loop. (As it happens, Garageband's Jazz drum kit instrument has a rattle that sounds a lot like a jawbone.) [more inside]
A popular 19th century minstrel tune with fretless banjo, tambourine and vocals. (Different from the old-time tune by the same name, and not related to Old Joe Clark either.) Lyrics as recorded are not offensive.* [more inside]
Fretless minstrel banjo with guitar and percussion, from 1855. [more inside]
More fretless minstrel banjo, with tambourine and marginally played bones. This one is from Phil Rice's 1858 Method for Banjo With or Without A Master.
A short but stately exercise from Frank Converse's 1872 The Banjo and How to Play It.
Solo stroke style arrangement on a fretless minstrel banjo. Another quickie from Briggs Banjo Instructor, 1855.
Instrumental on fretless minstrel style banjo, played more or less as arranged by Phil Rice in his 1858 banjo instructor. [more inside]
From Buckley's Banjo Guide, 1868. Played on a new minstrel style banjo made by Jeff Menzies and an old tambourine of indeterminate age.
Merry Christmas! Here's an arrangement of Bennington, No. 408t in the Shenandoah Harmony (www.shenandoahharmony.com). Poetry by Isaac Watts 1706, original shape note arrangement by Billings, 1770. [more inside]
A quick multitrack with fretless tackhead banjo, tambourine and bones. From James Buckley's "Buckley's New Banjo Method", 1860. [more inside]
An elegantly arranged banjo piece composed by Frank B. Converse for his 1886 Analytical Banjo Method.
An 1865 arrangement of this tune by Frank B. Converse, which I performed as a banjo duet with Joel Hooks at the sixth Antietam Early Banjo Gathering concert in the barn at the Pry House Field Hospital Museum in Keedysville, Maryland this past weekend. [more inside]
Minor variation on an old minstrel tune. Fretless tackhead banjo, marginally played tambourine and bones. [more inside]
A very short bluegrass banjo piece I multi-tracked in 2005 and just now unearthed on my hard drive. [more inside]
Just playing my new banjo in the dark at 2:30am.
How come no one takes randomly detuned extemporaneous banjo music seriously anymore? [more inside]
OK, this is a shitty mix, I freely admit, but I need to draw a line under it for the moment. Features an underwhelming banjo solo -- in fact the only thing I can play on the banjo as yet -- and a bunch of notes I really can't hit, but I still like it for the way it kicks off at about 1'45, and in particular the lift at 2'20. It's a hell of a lot of fun to play live too. [more inside]
A very short and simple ode to my dog who I love. [more inside]
A short song about the positive and then the negative male relationships in my life. Features classical guitar, reverbed out bowed banjo, auto-tuning, synth, french doors slamming. This is the latest in a string of versions of this song, having trouble finishing it. [more inside]
Latest dispatch in über-short traditional clawhammer banjo songs. [more inside]
After writing/arranging, recording, and mixing the first five sections of The Wasteland, I found myself a bit spent, and struggling with the final movement, so I took a few days off to back away from it. I finally returned to it tonight, and, renewed, even managed to squeeze an extra track from it. Thus concludes the tour. Enjoy! [more inside]
My first recording to share: this is the old-time banjo tune Spotted Pony, played on my new (to me) Bart Reiter fretless banjo, equipped with NylGut strings. Tuning is double-C.
LYRICS: Well, our country's kind of shitty, But we love it anyway (We have no basis of comparison!) This is Anthemic. [more inside]
Stroke style arrangement of an old minstrel tune, taken from "Briggs' Banjo Instructor" book of 1855. Tackhead banjo and tambourine.
Sometimes with you, I forget myself and laugh! (headphones recommended) [more inside]
Another quick rendition of a traditional tune on the banjo.