Two Things On My Mind: Fiddling and Banjo Camp

Murphy Henry

You’ve probably noticed that I don’t blog much anymore. Standard excuses apply (grandson, book, teaching, square dancing, dealing with my dad’s estate, and cataract surgery!) But, truth to tell, now that everybody’s doing it, I don’t feel as compelled. Nevertheless, sometimes things happen that just have to be blogged about. This is one of them!


This past weekend Red and Casey and Dalton and I went up to Davis, West Virginia, for the wedding of my first-cousin-once-removed. (My cousin’s son. I’m from the South. I like all that “once-removed” stuff!) We played A LOT of music the night before, just jamming, at the chicken barbecue. I played mostly banjo but also some fiddle (!) because Red and Mike (my bro-in-law and banjo-neck builder) and I were playing a triple-fiddle version of “Maiden’s Prayer” at the wedding the next day. (We sounded wonderful!)


Anyhow, while Red was doing his grandfatherly duties and holding Dalton, Mike and I were playing fiddles as someone we had just met accompanied us on guitar. We did a couple of easy fiddle tunes, “Soldier’s Joy” and “Liberty,” and then were asked to play “Whiskey Before Breakfast” (a fairly complex fiddle tune both chord-wise and melody-wise.) Being the affable people that we are, Mike and I were game. We had a couple of false starts, but we finally got the tune off the ground. At the end of our rendition, the guitar player, bless his heart, says to me, “Have you just learned that tune?” I said, “No, I just play it badly!”


Bada bing! And, yes, I did fumble, grumble, and stumble, but in true Murphy Method fashion, I KEPT GOING!


And, hey, while I’m here (I know, I know, blogs are supposed to be short but...)


Casey and I are getting excited about our Beginning Banjo Camp, October 26-28. We are hoping for excellent weather—last year it snowed and we lost electricity for seven hours! Our camps are becoming known for the amount of time the students spend PLAYING THE BANJO! You will play and play and play! It will always be in a group setting so you will be surrounded by other beginning banjo players. We stick to three main tunes: Cripple Creek, Banjo in the Hollow, and Boil Them Cabbage Down. And we play VERY SLOWLY.


Once again, we are very near downtown Winchester, this time with a Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins right around the corner. Literally. (Coffee and donuts for the teachers always appreciated!)


We keep our camps small so you get lots of individual attention from Casey and me. And we do have a few more slots open [4, as of this writing]. So email Casey at if you want to join in the fun!


Bonus activities: There is that concert Friday night by Casey’s new band, the Gooseneck Rockers, with Tom Adams on guitar and Marshall Wilborn (2012 IBMA Bass Player of the Year!!) on bass. They are tight!


Then Saturday night Murphy’s Misfits (current crop!) will perform and then they will all join together for a “demo” jam session. We want you to see that “real” jamming can happen even at the beginner level. These are all students--just like you--who have learned to play the Murphy Method way and are now enjoying the pleasures of jamming!


Hope to see you there!

3 thoughts on “Two Things On My Mind: Fiddling and Banjo Camp

  1. Steve (in Japan)

    Casey teams up with famous folks alright! Marshall Wilborn played with Longview. The best version of Little Annie ever, in my opinion, is on their High Lonesome album.

  2. Tam

    Hi Murphy…
    It would be great if you recorded the jam session and put it on your blog for your virtual student’s to play along..

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