Recording a New DVD: Banjo Backup for Fiddle Tunes

Casey Henry

We’ve spent the last two days filming a new DVD, which you all are going to be pretty excited about, I think. It’s on banjo backup for fiddle tunes, that is, banjo/fiddle duet style. Think Earl Scruggs and Paul Warren. Funnily enough, this is not the first time we’ve taped this particular video. About eight years ago Murphy got together with the great Chattanooga fiddle player Fletcher Bright and recorded almost all of a project on banjo backup for fiddle tunes, but we never released it. When last year’s Fancy Banjo Backup DVD sold so well and got such good reactions I had a hankering to go back and revisit this project and see if we could resurrect it.

Red pulled the footage that they had taped way back when off of the VHS tape backup, which was apparently the only surviving copy. He burned me DVDs and I watched it through, taking copious notes. Since this was the backup copy (no telling what happened to the first camera tapes…), it had run continuously, so not only did it have all the playing and teaching, it also had Murphy and Fletcher sitting and watching the playback of what they had just played and commenting on how good they sounded! Totally cute.

Although the content of that footage was great, the quality wasn’t quite up to modern-day standards, especially since it was filmed onto VHS and now everything is digital. For that reason we decided to re-record it rather than editing the older tape.

We called in my great friend and most excellent fiddle player and teacher Megan Lynch, who kindly consented to drive up to Winchester from Nashville (ten hours) to film with us. In two days we got the whole project in the can, and for the most part filming went really smoothly. Before we even got started we had some banjo technical difficulties (I’ll leave those to Murphy to relate…) but once we got rolling (no pun intended there) the material went down really easily.

We teach backup for four songs: "Sally Goodwin," "Turkey in the Straw," "Old Joe Clark," and "Leather Britches." Then we demonstrate (NOT teach) a few more, just to give you a chance to hear some more free-form backup (not necessarily using just the licks that we teach): "Sugar in the Gourd," "Grey Eagle," "Cherokee Shuffle," and "Paddy on the Turnpike."

We’re looking at a fall release for this one, so it will be a little while before you can get your hands on it, but I think you’ll really, really like it when you do!

5 thoughts on “Recording a New DVD: Banjo Backup for Fiddle Tunes

  1. Red Henry

    From the video production crew’s standpoint (me), recording this DVD was a lot of fun. Murphy, Casey, and Megan put down a whole bunch of excellent music. And the teaching, as always, was done the Murphy Method way. If you’re a banjo player and would like to learn how to back up a fiddle, this DVD will teach you! — Red.

  2. Martin Bacon

    Put me down for a copy and send as soon as it is out. Also thank Red for some really fine blogs.

  3. Tam

    It just a pity about the original film. I would loved to have seen Murphy and Fletcher playing together. Any chance you might post a short clip on YouTube Casey?

  4. martha carlton

    I would love to see that old tape with Murphy and Fletcher talking. That would be such fun.

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