Red Henry

Yesterday afternoon we had a real good picking session. The participants were what made it work. Besides Murphy, Chris, and myself, we had a teenage banjo player, a forest ranger, a deaf banjo player, a singer converted from hip-hop, and an out-of-work bass player. A well-matched group, huh?

Okay. I guess you are wondering who these people were and why they fit together so well musically. Well, the teenage banjo player was Murphy's student Logan, a good student and up-and-coming player whom she's blogged about before. And the party was for Logan's 18th birthday. The forest ranger was local guitar picker and singer Gerald C., who happens to be Logan's scoutmaster. The deaf banjo player was our Cousin David, about whom you've heard before. (Just kidding about the "deaf" part.) The convert from hip-hip was our friend Chris L., a new Stanley Brothers/Flatt & Scruggs/Reno & Smiley freak who used to be in a rock band with our Chris. (The band was called, appropriately enough, The Bends.) And the bass player was Murphy's long-time student Bob V., a fine picker and witty person.

So why did we fit together so well? Well, aside from Murphy's formidable skill at leading a jam session (as amply demonstrated on our Slow Jam and More Slow Jam DVDs), it was because everybody knew a lot of the same material or could pick up on it well. You do find jam sessions where the players all have their own favorite songs but can't really play anyone else's. In this case, everybody picked up on what everyone else was doing, and it worked out fine.

Sometimes you find the strangest combinations of folks in jam sessions... and the music still works!