By Casey

Casey Henry

Update October 1: Missy made her goal and is working hard on the new album, which is sure to be awesome. Thanks to everyone who helped out!

I just want to pop in briefly (while the baby is napping) to let you know that our great friend, bass player Missy Raines, is making a new album, "New Frontier," which they are funding with a Kickstarter campaign. I have pre-ordered my own copy of it (at the $25 level---which comes with a signed picture of Missy and her cats...that's her actual cats I think, not the cool cats in her band...and a pre-release digital download of the album). Missy's music is new and different. Pretty much no banjo (just a warning), but lots of cool grooviness, nonetheless.

Missy RainesKickstarter is a great trend in the new music marketplace. It is frequently misunderstood as bands asking for "donations," but it is more of a marketing vehicle where you can buy products (in this case music) directly from the artist and they get the money when they need it--when they're making the album. Buying the album early gets you perks you couldn't otherwise get (like the aforementioned picture, or, if you want to jump into the deep end, a pan of Missy's family-recipe homemade fudge, which, I can tell you, is totally worth the entire $300 pledge---but it comes with a bunch of other stuff, too; and just because I can I'm going to add another clause here, because I think this sentence needs to be longer). I always make a point of buying music from the artist when I can, and Kickstarter lets me do that in a way that helps them a little extra.

So if you're into supporting independent artists I encourage you to back Missy Raines and the New Hip. They're fanTAStic!

Go HERE to back them.

I'm a little late in getting it up, but the half-price DVD special (just $14.98) for this month is:

Slow Jam Cover

If you'd like the download version just use the coupon code HALFPRICE to get 50% off at checkout.

Casey Henry

Here is my occasional update on what's new on the custom lesson list lately:


  • Banjo Signal (A) Watch clip. - A Don Reno classic. Granted my version is kinda Scruggsy, because everything I play is kinda Scruggsy, but I did throw in some single string Reno licks for you.
  • Blue River Waltz (I) Watch clip. - This is a pretty little Steve Martin tune.
  • Ernest T. Grass (A) Watch clip. - This is Sammy Shelor's hit tune. I've heard it played at more than one jam session.
  • The Great Remember (I) Watch clip.  - Another Steve Martin tune. In double C tuning. He plays it clawhammer, but I arranged it for three-finger. I think I capture a bit of the feel of the original.
  • Here I Am Lord (A) Watch clip. - A slow Christian ballad.
  • Kids' Songs (Skip to Lou, Polly Wolly Doodle, ABC Song, and more. Singing and strumming.) (B) Watch clip.
    - Someone read in Banjo Newsletter how I was contemplating doing a DVD on kids songs for the banjo, but he didn't want to wait that long, so he requested a custom lesson on some of them.
  • Knee Deep In Bluegrass (I) Watch clip. - A Terry Baucom tune. In the key of B. Of Course.
  • Shady Grove (B) Watch clip. - This version is based on Doc Watson's. It's in E-minor. An easy beginner arrangement.

Casey Henry

Does it mean that the banjo is mainstream now that it had appeared in a Honda magazine ad on a list of things to do before having kids? (Click picture to embiggen)

Honda Ad

On a side note, I have an outfit pretty much like that one, though I've never played the banjo while wearing it. I wore it to my 30th birthday picking party!

Casey Henry

My pace for getting these custom lessons done has slowed to two a week. As a consequence my waiting list is at least three and a half months long!! Sorry everyone! I'm going as fast as I can...

But still, only two a week does add up over time, so here are my most recent additions to the list. As always these can be ordered off of my website.


  • Ashoken Farewell (A) Watch clip. - This version is based on Tom Adams's playing, but it's simplified.
  • Black Muddy River (I) Watch clip. - a Grateful Dead tune.
  • Cryin' Holy (I) Watch clip. - Most people play J. D. Crowe's break to this, but this is based on Earl's earlier version, played on a Martha White television show.
  • Hand Me Down My Walkin' Cane (Backup) (I) Watch clip. - This is just the backup!
  • Hard Times (By Gillian Welch - clawhammer) (A) Watch clip. - My first attempt at a clawhammer custom lesson. It was a real challenge.
  • Jambalaya (B) Watch clip. - A nice beginner version of this Hank Williams classic.
  • Nashville Blues (I) Watch clip. - I've always loved this tune but had never sat down and learned it. This is Earl's version.
  • Nashville Skyline Rag (A) Watch clip. - A Bob Dylan tune that Flatt and Scruggs recorded. This break is the one that Earl recorded later with the Scruggs Revue.
  • St. Anne's Reel (I) Watch clip. - A solid intermediate break for this popular fiddle tune.
  • Sweet Appalachia (I) Watch clip. - A Del McCoury Band song from one of their recent albums.

Casey Henry

It's been a while since we've mentioned our digital downloads. We were a bit slow to get the new products digitized, but they're ready now! The newest batch of downloads is ready to go. You can now download these fine DVDs (in addition to all the others already in the catalog):

Harmony Singing Made Easy

Banjo Backup for Fiddle Tunes

Jam Session Standards

Advanced Earl

More Advanced Earl - [Side note: WHAT am I wearing?!! And WHO let that hideous outfit be captured for all posterity?]

Ralph Stanley Style Banjo - [Side note: This was filmed during my blonde phase. Argh!! What was I thinking??!]

Casey's Christmas Collection - Since this contains my homemade lessons it is only available directly from The Murphy Method, not through other retailers who carry our digital products.

Also, Leaping Brain (our downloads partner) has been busy improving their video player. You can now put your videos on all your different computers. You can play your downloads on all Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or stream it on Apple TV). The player also now features a looping function so you can play one lick over and over. AND you can SLOW DOWN or SPEED UP the video, without changing the pitch, which is especially helpful for the slow and fast jam DVDs if we play them too fast or two slow to suit you.

We have a new demo movie that explains all these functions. You can watch it right here.

Or you can go straight to the catalog and start shopping!

Now, we don't usually do trailers for our DVDs, but for Harmony Singing Made Easy, since it's our first foray into vocal instruction, we thought we should do something special:

Casey Henry

We received this picture from one of our students, Todd Chisum, who was just finishing up his deployment to eastern Afghanistan. We thought it was cool so we're sharing it with you. We have quite a few students in the military overseas. (I do Skype lessons with one of them! Eight a.m. here is three p.m. where he is.) If any of you who in the military want to send shots of you with your banjo (or guitar, or mandolin, or what have you) we'd be glad to share them so the Murphy Method community can see our students around the world!

Todd Chisum

Todd Chisum with his banjo in Afghanistan. Looks like he's playing a mean version of "Banjo in the Hollow"!

Casey Henry

I was looking back at past blog posts and I realized it has been seven months since I updated you on what new custom lesson I've done lately. (Coincidentally, my son is now seven months old. Hmmm....) The rate I can get these done has decreased dramatically--to about one lesson per week, good grief! But I am working my way down my list very slowly. Here's what's new since the beginning of the year:

Of course, all these can be ordered straight from my website.

Casey Henry

Apparently my list has now grown so long that the blog refuses to update it. So instead of putting the entire list here, I will link you to the list on my website. This has two up-sides: 1) I no longer have to update this list as well as the one on my site, and 2) You will conveniently already be on the page where you can place an order. So click the link below:

See The Complete List on My Website.