Tip Jar Jam #15: You Light Up My Life

Murphy Henry

Today's blog title comes to you courtesy of Ben, Kasey's dad. (Ben and Kasey both take lessons from my Casey.) Last night we were playing Lonesome Road Blues, a tune we've been working on almost every week of the jam. Ben and Kasey already knew the high break and Casey had recently taught them the low break. Their task tonight was to put the two pieces together. Kasey volunteered to start the tune off so she could set the pace. (You know how it is when the tune goes around the jam: it always speeds up.) So, she kicked it off with her new low break and then moved flawlessly into the high break in perfect time. I looked over at Ben who was sitting next to her and he was positively beaming! I thought his face would break in half his smile was so wide. It was obvious he was SO proud of his daughter. And with good reason. She is turning into quite the banjo player. Look out Kristin Scott Benson!


You might have noticed that there was no Tip Jar blog last week. That's because we got about a foot of snow early Wednesday morning. Ben offered to come over and clear the drive and the sidewalks but I figured most folks would not want to be out driving that night even if most of the snow melted off the roads, which it did. I really missed jamming and I think the students did too.


This blog will be a little shorter (I hope!) since I am getting ready to leave for our big square dance convention in Alexandria, Va. My grip is not quite packed to travel but it will be shortly. My attire will include three great big poofy petticoats to go with my short square dancing outfits. My mother, looking down on me from above, must be doubled over with laughter since I've always HATED wearing what we called "stand-out slips." And I had sworn years ago that I would never, ever wear a dress again in my life. Well, well, well. Just goes to show you never know.


Our Tip Jar Jammers were smaller in number last night because Janet and Kenney, my square dancing friends, were getting ready to go to this same convention. They will be taking their instruments (guitar and bass) and we will be performing as well as jamming. Whoo hoo! But the folks who were there--Bob V., Kathy (making her second appearance), Bob Mc., Ben, Kasey, and Zac--played really well. Nobody completely scrambled any eggs although my pulling Cumberland Gap out of the hat (we almost never play that) resulted in a few misplaced notes.


All the students who were there will also be attending our upcoming Intermediate Banjo Camp. Zac will be one of our guitar players as will Bob Van and both of them will play in the student portion of our nightly concerts. (Oh, did I forget to mention that to you, Zac? My bad!)


We will be jamming again next Wednesday night--everyone is welcome--and then on Thursday we will be having a special pre-camp Tip Jar Jam for our early-arriving campers. If you've been reading these blogs, you know what to expect! Looking forward to seeing you. And I hope you are looking forward to meeting some of our Tip Jar Jammers that you've been reading about. They are regular folks just like you and are textbook examples of how playing with other people is essential to becoming a real, live banjo player. (No pressure, folks!)


And now......off to square dance!