We've just crossed into summer, so we thought it would be an appropriate time to direct you to this Summer Reading List over on Banjo Cafe. Murphy's book "Pretty Good For A Girl" graces it, along with three other banjo-centric books, and one about the Louvin Brothers.
How time does fly! The three months since our last post here have been filled with camps, swimming, a new mandolin DVD release, the IBMA convention, and one huge award for Murphy. The IBMA honored her with a Distinguished Achievement Award recognizing her groundbreaking work writing the history of women playing bluegrass: Pretty Good For A Girl: Women in Bluegrass. They give out five each year and her co-recipients this year were Pete "Brother Oswald" Kirby, Alison Brown, Steve Martin, and the International Bluegrass Music Museum.
Murphy Henry hugging Missy Raines as she goes to accept her Distinguished Achievement Award. Photo by Ted Lehman.
Missy Raines made the award presentation with a fabulous speech. I knew she would do an amazing job, but I was still blown away by how over-the-top amazing it was.
After the ceremony Murphy got introduced to Steve Martin by Alison Brown (who sits on the board for his Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo) and they got a picture of all three with their awards.
Murphy Henry, Steve Martin, and Alison Brown with their Distinguished Achievement Awards plaques.
...and their shoes!
Here is the entire presentation by Missy and Murphy's acceptance speech following. It is a great overview of Murphy's life and career. Her acceptance starts around the 9:00 mark. Thanks to Kathy Holiday for the video work!
I've been trying to write this blog about the Wednesday night jam--which turned out to be all women--for two days, but it's just not happening. As Jim Croce sings, "Every time I try to tell you, the words just come out wrong..." [Confession: I thought that was an Elton John song. Google set me straight!]
So, ladies--Kathy H, Kristina, Diane, and Steph--we laughed a lot, we picked a lot, we had some great three-part harmony, and we tried out some new songs: Gentle On My Mind; a gender-flipped version of Dooley (no reason a woman can't be a moonshiner!), and Paul and Silas Bound In Jail All Night Long. These are probably keepers, so heads up all you Jammers! And we mentioned Mae West. There. That's it in a tiny nutshell. ...continue reading →
I have a bunch of new custom lesson I've added to my list and here they are:
Big Country (Bela Fleck)(A)Watch clip. - This is a great tune of Bela's. Definitely advanced, but on the scale of all of Bela's tunes, not that hard.
Cattle In The Cane(A)Watch clip. - This is a fiddle tune, and it really gave me a time working out an arrangement. There is NO way to play it scruggs style. It ended up being a mixture of melodic and single string.
Daisy A Day(B) Watch clip. - Easy strumming arrangement to sing along with.
Greensleeves(B) Watch clip. (Single note melody version.) - This tune is also on the Casey's Christmas Collection DVD, but that version is much harder than this. Here I just teach the meldoy, one note at a time. Also the guy who ordered it stiffed me, so I'd appreciate it if some of y'all ordered it...
Gum Tree Canoe (High Break)(I) Watch clip. - I already have the low break to this on the list. The high break is much harder, but really fun in a kind of ridiculous way. I'll include both breaks when you order this song.
In The Gravelyard(I)Watch clip. - A Blue Highway hit. This is Jason Burleson's kickoff break.
Rockwood Deer Chase (Don Stover) (A)Watch clip. - A really, really cool tune in D tuning. Jim Mills also recorded it.
You Are My Sunshine(I)Watch clip. - Nice, familiar tune that lays out well on the banjo. This is an intermediate arrangement.
When I heard about the forthcoming CD project from Patuxent Music featuring Washington D.C./Baltimore/Northern Virginia-area banjo players I got super excited. The list of participants includes both legendary players and up-and-comers, bluegrass and old-time. Here, to whet your appetite, is a partial list: Tom Adams, Eddie Adcock, Paul Brown, Donnie Bryant, Bill Emerson, Cathy Fink, Joe Herrmann, Pete Kuykendall, Reed Martin, Doug McKelway, David McLaughlin, Mike Munford, Bill Runkel, Mark Schatz, Dick Smith, Roni Stoneman, Steven Wade, and Chris Warner.
I first heard of the project when my mom and I were both asked to participate. Co-produced by ace picker Mark Delaney (who plays with Danny Paisley and the Southern Grass) and Randy Barrett (president of the DC Bluegrass Union) the as-yet untitled project [now titled The Patuxent Banjo Project] will be released in the Spring 2014. ...continue reading →
Murphy and Casey appeared at the after-lunch roundup during Bluegrass Week at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, WV, July 29, 2014. "Lonesome Road Blues" was the first tune ever recorded by a woman playing Scruggs-style banjo. That woman as Roni Stoneman.
Tuesday evening during Bluegrass Week all the female instructors played a set at the evening concert. What a fun show! Here is "Banjo Pickin' Girl". Murphy and Casey Henry (banjos), Kathy Kallick (guitar), Mary Burdette (bass), Laurie Lewis and Tammy Rogers (fiddles), Sharon Gilchrist (mandolin).