Tip Jar Jam #30: “You Sounded Just Like Lester!”

Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

So right after Scott finished singing the Flatt and Scruggs' song Down The Road, which he had kicked off on the banjo, Bob A says, "You sounded just like Lester!"


And Scott said, "But not like Earl??? I was going for Earl!"


Bob, realizing that his large and heart-felt compliment had misfired, immediately started back-pedaling, saying, "But you always sound like Earl," which even Scott recognized as....well, let's just say the comparison was a bit overdrawn. But Bob meant well and everybody loves Bob so we all had a good laugh and I got a good blog title.


We were 13 strong for our 30th jam in 2013--I like all those 3's. And I'm really liking the way everyone's singing is coming along. So many of the pickers are now singing lead. Here's a list of what everyone one sang last night:


Kathy H: Circle, I'll Fly Away

Kasey: I Saw the Light

Ben: Keeper of the Door

Scott: Down the Road, Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms, Long Gone (after the jam was over!)

Bob V: Blue Ridge Cabin Home, Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms

Barbara: Glendale Train

Bob A: Beulah Land (a Do Lord clone)

Me: Somebody Touched Me, Mountain Dew


I'm also happy that we now have a mandolin player in the group. Kristina takes her mandolin lesson before the jam and we had worked hard on her new song, I'll Fly Away, in the Key of C. She pretty much had it (one tiny glitch in the last line) so I showed her how to switch a couple of breaks she already could play in G (Worried Man and I Saw the Light) to the Key of C so she could take a mandolin break when one of the women sings these songs. Moving these breaks to C is primarily a "concept" thing, and I was pretty sure Kristina could grasp the concept. The basic idea is that your break stays the same, you just shift it over a string. For instance, if the G break starts on the D string, then you start the C break on the G string and then play the same "pattern" from then on. (It's much easier to comprehend with a mandolin in your hand and me showing it to you!) There is the small problem of what to do about the pickup notes (which were on the G string to start with and you can't get any lower than that!) so I told Kristina to eliminate them and start her break on the down beat on the G string. After hearing me play it once she understood what I meant and was able to do it pretty quickly. I was extremely impressed. All those piano lessons years ago are paying off, Kristina!


All the above was a preface to saying that Kristina was able to kick off I'll Fly Away when Kathy sang it in the Key of C. Yeah, there was still that one tiny  glitch, but, as all Murphy Method Tip Jar Jammers do, she kept going! Which is what matters! With so many women in the jam now, it's important to be able to play in the Key of C, which is where so many women sing. (A lot of women also sing in D and E, but we haven't progressed that far! We'll get there!)


With so many women taking lessons now and attending the Tip Jar Jam, I thought it would be fun for us to get together and work up a few numbers to play in concert at our upcoming Women's Banjo Camp. (July 19-20; still a few spaces, ladies!). So we will hold our first (and only) band practice tomorrow! I'm sure I'll be telling you more about that, and this blog is long enough already.


Casey and Dalton are over visiting for the Fourth of July and I'm looking forward to spending some time with them. Dalton really likes songs and already today I've sung:


"Goober Cheese" (a take off on "Goober Peas," which I sing when Dalton eats his cheese slice!)


"Spinning Wheel" (by Blood, Sweat, and Tears; "What goes up / must come down /spinning wheel / got to go round..."; I sing this while Dalton whirls around and around and then falls down!)


"Green, Green, It's Green They Say..." (for the color green)


"Dem Bones Gonna Rise Again" (his favorite verse is "Satan round that tree he slunk..and at Miss Eve his eye he wunk!")




"Going To Georgia" as his granddaddy (Red) pulled out of the driveway in the van, heading for.....Georgia!
I've also read him "The Walrus and the Carpenter," "The Jabberwocky," and "The Story of Augustus Who Would Not Eat His Soup." We have had a busy morning!


Hello! I just got a text from Casey saying, "Am getting hungry. Will need lunch soon!"


So I guess you know where I am going!


Happy 4th of July to you all! "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal...." I love the United States, flaws and all, and I'm proud to be an American!