Tip Jar Jam: And I Did It Very Well!

Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

After a week at IBMA, which I thoroughly enjoyed, it was good to get back to teaching and the Tip Jar Jam. I missed yall! Wednesday's jam featured SIX banjo players and three guitar players counting me. Actually for a while there were only five banjos as Kathy H honed her rhythm guitar skills on the Big Three for the late night jams at our upcoming Beginning Banjo Camp.

The blog title was handed to me on a silver platter about halfway through the jam, when Dan arrived, fresh and glowing, from the Bible study class he is teaching at the Presbyterian Church. I don't normally divulge so much personal information but his life's work--minister--makes the quote WAY funnier.

We were up in the key of C, for some womyn singing, when Dan walked in and strapped on his banjo just in time to take a break on Will The Circle Be Unbroken. Since Chuck was gone, Diane had her old song back! We missed you Chuck! We did several other songs in C--I'll Fly Away (Kathy G), I Saw The Light (Kathy H), Katy Daly (moi)--and then I asked Bob A to sing East Virginia Blues because C is his key for that and Dan has been working hard on a break for the song from one of Casey's Custom Lessons. (Note to Marty: You might try to sing EVB yourself in that key.) Everyone else (except David) was going to do the Roly Polys, which goes to show you how far they have all come in this area because East Virginia Blues has a long and slightly complicated chord pattern. [Editor's note: It's exactly the same as Lonesome Road Blues.]

So Bob kicked it off with the guitar and gave us a good rendering of all eight verses (sung in pairs) and the Roly Poliers made me proud with all their different variations. Then after the song was over Kathy H said, "Well, we all did pretty well but Dan was the only one who played a real break!" To which Dan replied immediately, "And I did it very well!" Which brought down the house. Of course we all knew exactly where Dan was coming from and we were proud of him and proud for him. And we knew he wasn't bragging, he was just excited to have nailed that break. As we all are on the rare instance when that happens! (The fact that he muttered "Where's the humility?" made it even funnier to me.)

Bob Mc was also in rare form last night. Bob is usually pretty quiet so I forget that he can really pack a humorous wallop when he wants to. It happened like this: we are playing Foggy Mountain Breakdown which Gregg kicks off. David follows and it's a little fast for him so he gets a "do over." Which is when I stop the song and he gets to start it over. This doesn't work either so I nod to Bob Mc, who is next in line, and say, "Go ahead, Bob." I want Bob to start the song over from the beginning and I figured he would know this. But he has been well trained to keep the song going so, instead, he comes in on the E minor which is where we would have been if we hadn't stopped. Unfortunately, this doesn't work, so again I stop the song and say, "Bob, after ten years of knowing each other I thought you could read my mind." Quick as lightning he replies, "I tried. It was blank!"

The room positively erupted in laughter! "He got you, Murphy!" and "Good one, Bob!" were just a few of the  comments I remember. And they were totally right: he got me good! All I could say in response was, "I miss Bob Van Metre!" Which I did. As did everyone. Hurry back, Bobby!

I could write more, but Casey and Dalton are here and Dalton wants me to come back out and play! The three of us have already had an imaginary tea party in the back of the Windstar. Guests included Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeeyore, Tigger, Miss Mousie, Uncle Chris and Granddaddy, the latter two suggested by Dalton himself! Then since it was lunch time Dalton suggested a picnic, so we fixed sandwiches and ate out on the front lawn!

Casey and Dalton picnicking.

Casey and Dalton picnicking.

Following lunch, we had a round of playing "exploding" Easter Eggs. For this long-time favorite game, Casey puts a doo-dad inside an Easter Egg and then Dalton throws the plastic eggs down on the driveway to see if they come apart.

Exploded Easter Eggs

Exploded Easter Eggs

In this particular version he wanted me to RUN with him when he went to get the eggs. Well. That lasted for about four eggs and then Gran was done with exploding eggs. I went inside to write this blog. But then Dalton came in shortly thereafter to see if I would come back out and play when I got finished. How could I refuse??? My grandson wants me to come out and play. Oh frabjous day, callooh, callay! Chortle, chortle, chortle! (Jabberwocky, Lewis Carroll.) I just hope I don't have to do much running!

One thought on “Tip Jar Jam: And I Did It Very Well!

  1. John kearney

    Really enjoy your blog!
    And am learning a lot from your DVDs!
    Would love to come to your banjo camp but not sure I can get away that weekend?
    Have been playing the banjo only about 2 years and absolutely love it and hooked
    Have played guitar for years off and on and now just love bluegrass, country , and gospel!
    Have attended banjo camps with Ross Nickerson who has become my friend (nova scotia, and Africa), but I have to say learning and memorizing songs with your method is much easier for me than trying to memorize tabs playing hundreds of times over and over!
    Will continue to jam with you and Casey on your DVDs!!
    Wish you were a little closer !
    Am thinking about talking to you about privat lessons .
    Thanks for sharing your blog and your enthusiasm for bluegrass and your teaching method!
    John kearney

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