Tag Archives: custom lessons

Casey Henry

Here's what's new lately on the custom lesson front. Some really interesting tunes I think. These can be ordered from my website, of course.

  • City of New Orleans (I) - Steve Goodman song recorded by many, many people. Watch clip.
  • Daddy's Dream (A) - One of Sammy Shelor's banjo tunes. Watch clip.
  • Double Banjo Blues (A) - the Don Reno classic. These breaks can also be used on "Foggy Mountain Special." Watch clip.
  • Fox on the Run (Alternate Version) (I) - Two breaks here (verse and chorus). This is DIFFERENT from the Bill Emerson version I taught earlier. Simpler. From a recording sent to my by a student. Watch clip.
  • Grandfather's Clock (I) - My own arrangement of this. It's a fun one to play. Watch clip.
  • I Know You're Married (Kickoff only) (A) - Another Reno classic. This kickoff is legendary. Hard, but legendary! Watch clip.
  • I'll Be There for You (Bon Jovi song) (A) - Backup for the entire song. Watch clip.
  • Imagine (A) - My own solo-banjo arrangement of this John Lennon song. Watch clip.
  • Lonesome Fiddle Blues (A)- A rather Scruggsy break to this fiddle tune, which most people play melodically. It's easier this way, though you don't get as much of the melody. Watch clip.
  • Never Say Goodbye (Bon Jovi song) (A) - Again, backup for the entire song. Watch clip.
  • Northern White Clouds (A) - Scruggsy break to this Bill Monroe tune, recently popularized by Michael Cleveland. Watch clip.
  • Spanish Pipedream (I) - John Prine! I love John Prine and I love this tune, which I always think of as "Blow up your T.V." Watch clip.
  • Sunny Side of the Mountain (I) - A Jimmy Martin classic. This break is from JD Crowe playing it with the Grascals on YouTube. Watch clip.
  • Walk the Way the Wind Blows Backup in D (I) - Good, solid 1-4-5 backup in the key of D. Watch clip.
  • Why You Been Gone So Long (A) Watch clip.

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

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

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.

Casey Henry

As I count the days past my due date (just two days overdue at this point...) I'm keeping busy doing the custom lessons that I warned people I may not have time to do if the baby arrived early or on time. Lucky for these people the baby seems like he's pretty comfortable right where he is, so I might have time to get those last five songs on my list finished...

  • Beautiful Star of Bethlehem (I) Watch clip. - This is one of my favorite bluegrass Christmas tunes and very possibly the first one of a second volume of Christmas custom lessons.
  • Fox on The Run (I) Watch clip. - I'm pretty surprised it took so long for someone to ask me to do this popular song. In the lesson I give you what Bill Emerson played on the Country Gentlemen's recoding of it.
  • Glendale Train (Backup in D) (A) Watch clip. - People are always wanting more backup stuff. So here's some backup in the key of D. It's not easy, but if you're ready for it, it's really useful.
  • Long Skinny Lanky Sarah Jane (I) Watch clip. - This is such a funny song that Ralph Stanley recorded. The break is very straightforward Stanley style.
  • Lorena (A) Watch clip. - One of John Hartford's signature songs. He didn't write it, he just played it a lot. This is what he played on the "Gum Tree Canoe" album.
  • Love is A Rose (I) Watch clip. - The second Linda Ronstadt song to be added to the list. There's a banjo on her recording of it and this is what he plays.
  • Mole in The Gound (I) Watch clip. - This is an old-time tune I was only passingly familiar with until Marty Bacon asked for this lesson. Played in drop-C tuning it has a nice drive to it.
  • These Thousand Hills (I) Watch clip. - This is from a Christian band called Third Day. Goes quite well on the banjo, even though their recording is all electric guitars and drums and stuff.

All these can be ordered from my website. $30 each.

Casey Henry

Here is my periodic update of the new additions to the custom lessons list. These are the ones I've gotten done in the last two or three weeks. Some interesting songs here. "Gentle On My Mind" is a challenge because the melody mostly consists of only two notes. "Ring of Fire" is Earl's break from when he recorded it not too many years back on that CD called "Earl Scruggs and Friends." Billy Bob Thornton is singing lead on this cut. Not one of my favorite versions of the song, but Earl's break is dead-on and it was fun for me to sit down and figure it out because I haven't studied that much of his later period stuff. Very syncopated.

These lessons can be ordered from my website here.

The complete list of all the lessons available is here.

Also, I added guitar practice tracks for the following tunes:

Dear Old Dixie
Wabash Cannonball in G
Bells of St. Mary's
Clinch Mountain Backstep in A

And if you don't know what the deal is with these guitar tracks you can read about it here.

Casey Henry

It has been so long since I've posted a Custom Lesson update that I have a TON of new songs to add to the list. It's much harder for me to find the time to record these lessons during the summer since I'm away from home so much, but I still think this is a pretty respectable list for two months of work. All of these can be ordered from my website.

(The complete list can be seen here.)

Here's a funny custom lesson story. The wife of one of my semi-regular students ordered him a couple of custom lessons for his birthday. One of these lessons was "Jerusalem Ridge," which is a really hard, really long tune. I burned the lessons to a disc, sent them off and thought no more about it. A couple weeks later Clay emails me to say:

"You must have sent me an unedited version because about 2 minutes into the lesson you lost your place, muttered something evil sounding, and ....well, you should watch it for yourself!  I'm still laughing hysterically - even made Cindy come upstairs to see this."

So I went back and watched the lesson and when I was playing the song through slowly I mess up and practically growl at the camera, then give myself a countdown and start over. Whoops! That certainly wasn't supposed to end up in the final version!

I wrote Clay back and said "Oh My Gosh!! I can't believe that I let that slip in there. And furthermore I can't believe that the person I recorded it for didn't tell me about that!! I'm just glad it wasn't a long string of profanity, which I'm sure it would have been by the end of that particular very long lesson."

I think over all the lessons I've recorded that's the only outtake that has made it in by mistake...at least the only one that I know of at the moment! (I've edited it out now, so don't be thinking you can order the lesson and see it!)

Casey Henry

I'm busy this morning updating the complete list of custom lessons that I have available with the ones that I've done in the last couple of weeks and I realized that I haven't done a separate post announcing additions since March--and there have been a bunch of them. On the list now is my fiddle-backup lesson for "Sally Goodwin." (That's banjo backup to play behind fiddle tunes a la Earl Scruggs and Paul Warren.) Also Earl's backup for the song "Blue Ridge Cabin Home." There are three modern country songs now ("Without You" from Keith Urban, "If I Die Young" from The Band Perry, and "Landslide" from the Dixie Chicks). They're not exactly my taste, but they sure are getting a lot of comments over on YouTube.

Completely new are some guitar rhythm tracks someone requested that I do. Info and ordering for those is over at my website.

As always, to order, just email me what you want. Or now you can order directly from my website.

So, here's what's new:

Casey Henry

I've been kind of slow at getting my custom lessons taped in the last month due to a lot a factors, but, slowly, surely I've been chipping away at the huge list. I've started posting clips of me playing the arrangements on You Tube so that people can listen before buying. Don't know why I didn't think of doing that before...

Also, I finally got it set up so that you can order these lessons directly from my website: caseyhenry.net/lessons.html. (Just scroll down the page a little.) All you have to do is type in the title of the song you want and click "Add to Cart" and, voila!

Here are the ones I've gotten done in the last month or so:

Country Roads - yes, the John Denver song. This is a beginner version that consists mostly of rolling through the (many) chords.

I Run For Life - Melissa Etheridge's inspirational song about living with breast cancer. All profits from the sale of this break will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Watch clip.

Red-Haired Boy - This fiddle tune is notoriously hard to play on the banjo, but I've come up with a nice Scruggs-style arrangement. Watch clip.

Welcome to New York - One of Bill Emerson's banjo tunes. This made me finally break down and get the Amazing Slow-Downer because I'm a stickler for playing every note exactly like it is on the recording, especially if I'm teaching it to someone else.  Watch clip.

Sally Ann - One of Earl's classic tunes. I teach it just like he played it. Watch clip.

Molly and Tenbrooks - A straightforward break to this popular singing song. Watch clip.

Roadrunner Theme song - This is maybe the quirkiest lesson request I've ever gotten. The Roadrunner cartoons had a theme song and the student sent it to me, wanting a break to it. Unless you already know the song, I'm not sure it sounds like the song, but many banjo breaks are like that!  Watch clip.

You'll see that in this batch are a couple lessons I recorded in my den instead of in my office. I'm getting my house re-wired so I had to temporarily re-locate so as to be out of the way. You still might hear a few stray hammering and drilling noises on those two lessons!