As the White Rabbit said as he ran by Alice, looking at his watch, "I'm late, I'm late for a very important date!" (From memory, so not verbatim!) I do believe he prefaced it with "Oh, my ears and whiskers" but I, having no whiskers, didn't readily remember that part!
Anyhow, I'm sure you all are as busy as I am all the time, so I'll just say "better late than never."
Today's quote comes, not from the jam, but from a lesson before the jam. In an on-the-spot effort to help Kathy hear the chords in John Hardy, I had her play guitar (which she does well) while I played banjo. To me, that's one of the best ways to learn to hear chord changes. That's what helps me the most. When I am hearing a new song for the first time, I often think, "How would I chord this on the guitar?"
In fact, in one of my early articles for Banjo Newsletter I wrote that, if I had my way, everyone who wanted to play banjo would start with guitar first. Of course, that won't happen! But it's a great way to get a handle on hearing chord changes.
So Kathy was rhythm playing guitar and I was playing banjo. She was kinda hunting and pecking for the chords to begin with and it took her a few tries to stay in D long enough but soon she had it down. And she kept excellent time. So, although I had started off playing the banjo in a simple fashion, using the same arrangement as on the DVD, after she had a good grip on the chords, I started ratcheting it up a notch. I played up the neck. When she followed that, I went further up the neck. Then I threw in some off-beat fancy stuff like I used on the Stelling Banjo Anthology CD. And Kathy kept hanging in there. She understood that after you get the basic chord pattern down, it doesn't make any difference what anybody plays, all you have to do is keep playing those same G, C, and D chords in that same order. Once you get the pattern down, it's a piece of cake. (Of course, there is that whole "how to play really good bluegrass rhythm" thing but that's another story!)
When I finally stopped playing and ended the song Kathy said, "Do you want to pay me? Because you're having so much fun!"
And it's true. I was! And I wrote it down for the blog!
The jam was fun, too, although it's been so long now that my mind is a blank!
Here are the things I remember:
Ben came in shorts. So did Bob A.
Kasey was wearing hot pink capris. (What we used to call "pedal-pushers.") She later told me that these were her pink pants with the legs partially rolled up!
Bob Van Metre had on a nice short-sleeved shirt.
Bob Mc came in late, and the only chair left was right in the middle of the semi-circle. Bob Van told him that the middle was a "safe" spot because he wouldn't have to start any tunes or end any tunes. So naturally, I made Bob Mc start a tune or two, just to rag on Bob Van and prove that I still run the show.
Barbara took her first lead solo on the guitar, playing Old Joe Clark. Like everyone else who has ever played that tune in a jam for the first time she said, "I played it better at home!" Don't we all???
Scott is really hammering I'm Riding on That Midnight Train now--both the picking and the singing. And he picks standing up!
Zac is hammering everything! I gave him a special thanks for changing his work schedule to come play banjo at my book signing. Thanks again, Zac! He was joined by David McLaughlin on two-finger, David-style, open-back banjo, and Chris Lovelace and me on guitars. We rocked! The singing went great and so did the signing--they ran out of books! (Don't you love that juxtaposition: singing and signing??)
And that's all you get for a nickel, as they say here in the Shenandoah Valley!
Don't forget The Longest Day Jam this Friday, June 21, 9 am- 9pm. Actually, we'll stopping jamming a little before 8 (but will keep some sort of music going....) so the Gooseneck Rockers can play a set from 8-9. The address for the jam is 23 South Stewart Street in Winchester, VA.
See you real soon!