Ten years ago when Casey and Chris were living in Nashville, struggling along as musicians without much ready cash, they decided to record a Christmas album for their family. After a couple of practices to decide which songs to include, the two of them gathered around Chris's computer in the living room of his apartment and laid down eight tradtional Christmas carols (instrumentals) and one Stanley Brothers' Christmas song with Chris on guitar and Casey on banjo.
The relatives loved it. (Murphy got tears in her eyes.) There were no plans to ever release this album commercially. Except for family and friends, no one has heard it. Every Christmas when Murphy first listens to it she calls both Casey and Chris to tell them how much she likes it and how good it is. (And she still gets choked up!)
When trying to think of a present for our customers we remembered this album. It has never been sold. The ONLY way to get this CD is as part of this free gift promotion. We thought it would be the perfect way to say "Thank You" to our students for sticking with us and keeping us in business all these years!
Every order this week (Dec 7-13, 2014) will include a free copy of the Casey and Chris Christmas album. Physical orders will get a CD in the package. Download orders will receive an email with the audio files.
We did a lot of great jamming last night but the funniest part of the jam was when two of our doctors started talking about hip replacement surgery. I'm sure I'll get the details wrong (and you docs can laugh) but I think the conversation centered on the trendy new anterior approach--in which you only have to split the muscle--and the old-fashioned posterior approach in which the muscle is actually cut. Then, mercifully, the topic morphed into music and medicine when one of the doctors said he had recently played my M and M Blues CD in the "OR" (doc-speak for Operating Room). From there the conversation took a nose-dive into "songs you don't want to hear played in the OR," such as "I Saw The Light" or "Bury Me Beneath The Willow." Maybe you had to be there but was really funny at the time. I said, "Keep it coming, folks, it's all fodder for the blog."
We had a nicely balanced jam last night with three guitars and three banjos, three womyn (Kathy G, Steph, and moi) and three men (David, Gregg, and Chuck). There were also three lead singers. And--I just realized this--it was the third of December. (Which brings to mind that classic opening line to Ode To Billy Joe: "It was the third of June another sleepy, dusty Delta day....") But I digress. ...continue reading
Recently David Morris wrote an article for the online magazine Bluegrass Today suggesting rather strongly that Hazel Dickens should be in the IBMA Hall of Fame. Since Hazel, and her singing partner Alice Gerrard, are both featured in a chapter of Murphy's book, Pretty Good For A Girl, that topic is right down Murphy's alley. So, as soon as she remembered her user name and password (which involved getting a new user name and password!), she posted a comment. You can read the article and all the comments here.
[Betty Fisher, a Tip Jar Jam regular, was kind enough to blog about her recent jamming experience. Betty has been having some problems with bats in her house, hence the blog title. She is also a very, very good sport!]
My friend and neighbor Stephanie is a beginning guitar student of Murphy’s. She and I have been threatening--or rather promising--to get together and jam as Murphy has suggested. Finally on Sunday we were able to do that.
We sat out on Stephanie’s beautiful new stone patio in the shade with a nice breeze blowing. Steph warned me that she had not practiced for a couple of weeks. She had also let Murphy know that things would be on hold for a short while, then she would get back in gear with her lessons. ...continue reading
(Casey's students, Ben and Kasey, who are also regular Tip Jar Jammers, recently attended the Augusta Heritage Bluegrass Week in Elkins, W.Va. I asked Ben to write a little about their experience. So, heeeeeeeere's Ben!)
Told ya I'd write a blog on our Augusta experience and I didn't want to let you down so here goes.
First off I need to touch on what got us to attending Augusta. Last year after Casey's return from Augusta she had mentioned that it might be a good fit for my Kasey. Especially since there are more young people there versus our local jams. That got things started. So over the course of the winter I did some research and read up on it to try to get some understanding about this event. Since Kasey definitely wouldn't do this by herself that meant I needed to be going. So I thought it would be best for me to take the bass course and her to do the banjo stuff. This would allow her to start to separate herself from me a little. What you have to understand is that it's a little nerve racking especially since we both have been under the wings of our banjo and bass bosses. (Murphy and Casey) When things go wrong they're always there to bail us out and mostly in a kind way! Unless you're me and you play Fireball Mail when you're not supposed to! ...continue reading
Here's the list of new custom lessons I've been churning out for the last month. As always, these can be ordered over on my website.
- Golden Slippers (in G) (I) Watch clip. - I've played this tune forever and I really do like it. I'm kind of surprised it took someone this long to request a lesson on it.
- Grandma's Feather Bed (in C) (I) Watch clip. - This is an arrangement designed to play while you sing it.
- Peace In The Valley (in C) (I) Watch clip. - This one was tricky. It's slow, plus it's in waltz time. I opted just to play the melody with very few fill-in notes.
- Randall Collins (I) Watch clip. - This is a Norman Blake song and boy, oh boy, were the chords tricky! Break is not so bad, though.
- Sally Ann (Low Break) (NOT Earl's arrangement!) (I) Watch clip. - This arrangement goes along with the sung version of this tune (NOT Earl's instrumental arrangement of it!!).
- Sittin' On Top Of The World (with minor chord) (I) Watch clip. - This old bluegrass standard is sometimes played with an E-minor chord, sometimes not. This version has the minor.
- White Freightliner Kickoff Break (I) Watch clip. 2nd Break Watch clip. - I really, really enjoyed learning these two breaks and teaching them. Classic Crowe all the way.
Due to circumstances beyond our control, Murphy will NOT be speaking in Decatur, IL on Saturday, April 12th. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.
Trying to help Murphy again on these blogs so here goes. At 12:30 campers began checking in and picking up their name tags. After looking around I could tell that some of these faces I had seen before. Yep I was right!! Returning campers from last year's intermediate camp. Going around the room listening to introductions I noticed that some folks did a great deal of traveling. Maine, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, and Southern Virginia. Plus I noticed that most of our heads were grey/white except for one teenager, the gentleman from Maine, and one Banjo instructor. The other instructor's hair has been altered. [Ha, ha!] I would say the average age for this Camp would be probably around 55. Where are all the young people? We've all gotta do better job of getting the youth involved. How many of us wish we wouldn't have waited so long to start playing? Encourage the young! ...continue reading
Yep, that's right folks, the Thursday night Jam was held at the Courtyard Marriott to help accommodate the Murphy Method Intermediate campers who are living there the next few days while attending camp. So....that makes a big house. Bigger than mine anyhow!
Oh yeah, I'm blogging, not Murphy, trying to help her out cause she is busy with the camp. Since we had so many folks there last night I won't get into names. But here's my take!
Once we got the room set up and everyone got in the circle we were ready to jam. I missed the first song due to Murphy forcing me to drive to her studio and get the bass. But I rushed and that was the only song I missed. [It was a 15 minute version of Banjo in the Hollow!] ...continue reading