Tag Archives: DVDs

Red HenryWell, folks, if you're on our Murphy Method email list, you know what's on my mind today: Our new DVD, Easy Songs for Banjo! This great new DVD has been setting sales records ever since we first introduced it a few weeks ago, and with our email newsletter that Casey just sent out, we've got more and more orders coming in. I can tell you that it's keeping me busy, downloading orders from our website and filling them as fast as I can.

Lots of folks are ordering our other new banjo DVDs too: Vamping (Beginning Banjo Backup); Soldier's Joy and Other Traditional Favorites; and Capos, Chords, and Theory. These (along with all our Murphy Method products) are here just waiting for you, so order yourself up some fun learning and playing with Murphy and Casey!

That's all for now! I have to get back to the orders! Good picking to everybody--

Murphy Henry(And yes, I am a big fan of Larry the Cable Guy!)

This past weekend Casey made the long haul from Nashville to Winchester to record our new banjo DVD, tentatively titled More Easy Tunes.

Working as fast as I’ve ever seen anyone and doing a superb job of teaching, Casey taught six songs in one long session on Friday. I sat by, mostly in awe, but was also in charge of making sure Casey’s bangs looked okay! Saturday I joined her on camera to play guitar and sing as we added the slow and fast versions of each song. Many times we ended up laughing ourselves silly over some small mishap. We both actually had tears of laughter running down our faces at times. Some of those moments should show up in the Bloopers.

During the shooting, we remembered to capture a few still moments to share with you on this blog. Here they are:

Casey Henry

Casey tuning up and getting ready to teach. She was not satisfied with her own tuner, so she asked for one of mine. Then she uttered these profound words: “I’ll just keep trying different tuners till one agrees with me!”

Red Henry

Red, our chief engineer, taking a brief moment of respite from his excellent camera work. Notice the Arrandem Music sign behind him. Get it? Arr-and-em. R and M. Red and Murphy.

Casey\'s banjo picture

One of Casey’s early works of art, which now hangs in our studio.

Casey and Murphy Henry watching playback.

Casey and Murphy watching what they’ve just recorded.

Casey\'s Banjo

We’re all done. Casey has left the building.

These are the tunes we recorded:

"The Old Home Place"
"Nine Pound Hammer"

Up-the-neck break to "Blue Ridge Cabin Home" (which also fits numerous other songs with this same chord progression as we mention)

"Salty Dog" (simpler version than Earl’s)

"Amazing Grace" (two versions, both simpler than the one on our Gospel Banjo DVD)

"Ballad of Jed Clampett" (after many requests!)

Murphy HenryNews flash: This weekend Casey is coming home and we’ll be recording a BRAND NEW DVD of more easy songs for banjo. (Not sure of the exact title yet, but that’s the gist of it.) Casey will be doing the teaching, and I’ll be accompanying her on guitar. Songs that are slated to be taught include: "Ballad Of Jed Clampett"(after many requests!), "Old Home Place", "Nine Pound Hammer", "Bury Me Beneath the Willow", simple up-the-neck breaks to "Blue Ridge Cabin Home" (which we’ve been teaching at camps for years) and "Salty Dog", and maybe a really easy version of "Amazing Grace". (The version on the Amazing Grace DVD is good, but it is really hard! As you may have found out.) So hopefully we’ll be blogging about that.

I now send you onto the blog I first wrote, before I remembered to mention the DVD!

Not Much Bluegrass Content

Good morning, folks! Sorry if you tuned in early and found no new blog. Entirely my fault. I was down in Georgia this weekend with my folks and didn’t get back till late. (Well, it was 8 o’clock, which after nine hours on the road felt late.) And then I had to send my weekend report to my sisters (we call it a “hotwash”) and I got carried away talking about how cute Mama and Daddy both are. (As you may recall my mentioning, they both have Alzheimer’s.) Mama, however, can still play Scrabble (although she does sometimes come up with unique spellings!), so we played three games in a row on Saturday and two more before I left on Sunday morning. I love spending time with her like this. Saturday night we all settled down on the couch in the TV room to watch a DVD of “Arsenic and Old Lace” with Cary Grant. What a weird movie! I’m sorta glad I watched it as I’d heard the title forever, but I certainly wouldn’t watch it again. I didn’t mind the dead bodies so much, but there was entirely too much yelling!

And then, too, after I got home last night, I had to watch the Academy Awards. (With Hugh Jackman!) I didn’t make it to the end, and I missed the first hour, but what I saw, I enjoyed. For some reason I really enjoyed seeing Joel Gray (who helped present Best Supporting Actor). I love him, not from Cabaret, but from the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer! (He played a very bad man....er...demon. And did a fabulous job.)

So, this morning I am headed over to Bluegrass Unlimited to write my monthly column, “The General Store.” If you’re not yet a subscriber to this fine publication, it’s still the Bible of bluegrass as it’s been for over 40 years! Great articles (Casey often writes for them), great record reviews, and even ads provide a wealth of information about festivals, instruments, strings, and other accessories. Many of you probably discovered The Murphy Method in the pages of BU.

And with that, I’m off. Hope you have a most excellent Monday. Don’t forget: Wednesday is Ralph Stanley’s birthday! And my sister Argen’s. And Pete Wernick’s. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ALL Y’ALL!

Red HenryMany, many of you write to us, inquiring when your favorite Murphy Method video is going to be available as a DVD. Well, we have 28 DVDs now, and we're planning 10 more for this year. The new DVDs planned for 2009 are:

1. Easy Songs for Banjo (an all-new project taught by Casey)

2. Soldier's Joy and Other Favorites (was "Playing in C Vol. 2")

3. More Advanced Earl

4. Rawhide and Other Favorites

5. Great Banjo Tunes (was "Advanced Banjo")

6. Vamping: Beginning Banjo Backup

7. Slap Bass

8. Intermediate Mandolin Vol. 2 (Which just arrived and is available!)

9. Bluegrass Rhythm Guitar Vol. 2

10. Clawhammer Banjo Vol. 2

We hope to release all these DVDs by the middle of 2009. The time involved is really out of our control, since we have to wait until each song's publisher sends us permission. But we’ll release each of these as soon as we have the paperwork!

Casey HenryToday we have for you some pictures of the filming of our DVD Picking Up The Pace: More Slow Jamming with Murphy and Casey. We filmed back in August and it seems like ages ago. Here is what took place in our Winchester, VA studio on the first day of filming:

Murphy and Casey

Murphy and Casey's wardrobe and makeup test.

David, Casey, Murphy tuning

David McLaughlin, Casey and Murphy tuning, which is a very important part of filming!

David McLaughlin

Before we even started the first tune, David broke a string. This is him changing it.


Literally behind the scenes..this is Red running the camera, which is what we look at the whole time you think we're smiling happily at you!

Murphy and Murphy

And last but not least, this is Murphy, and yes she is watching her own video! She carefully reviews the breaks to the songs before filming to make sure she plays them the same way that she taught them.

high breaks and backup coverWe now have yet another of our videos available on DVD: High Breaks and Backup. This disc is a great introduction to playing up the neck. It teaches five breaks to songs (Mountain Dew, Two Dollar Bill, Worried Man, Do Lord, I Saw The Light) and shows you how to use some fancy Scruggs-style backup licks to boot. Most of these songs are on our two Slow Jam DVDs (1 and 2), so you'll have a great practice tool to play along with!

Picking up the PaceYou asked for it and we delivered! More slow jamming fun in your living room can be had for only $29.95! Murphy and Casey are joined by David McLaughlin and Malia Furdado for two hours of play-along goodness. Order Picking Up The Pace: More Slow Jamming with Murphy and Casey now!

Casey HenryLast weekend we filmed the majority of the new Slow Jam DVD (to be titled Picking Up The Pace: More Slow Jamming with Murphy and Casey) in Winchester. Over the course of two days we recorded eighteen or so songs at tempos ranging from slowish to mediumish (those are the technical terms...). We always mean to prepare more in advance, but the night before found Murphy finalizing the song list, and the morning of the taping found us donning different outfits to see which ones looked best in front of the camera.

David McLaughlin joined us for the first day of taping. The first song always goes the slowest as we try to work out lights, sound, and camera shots. We were rolling along, knocking out song after song in G. When we decided to move to A we ran into a host of equipment problems, which I'm sure Murphy will tell you about tomorrow.

David, Murphy, and Casey

David McLaughlin, Murphy Henry, and Casey Henry on the first day of filming. Photo by Red Henry.

As we worked out each song, the process went something like this: First we'd play the song through a couple of times to make sure we were all on the same page. Then we'd do the arrangement, which was usually banjo kick, verse/chorus, mandolin, verse/chorus, hole for the student to play their break in, verse/chorus, another hole, chorus and out. Or if there were enough verses we'd have two banjo and mandolin breaks as well. We played the arrangement correctly on all but one song, and I'll let you try and figure out which one that is!

On the second day of taping we were joined by Malia Furtado on fiddle, who also played on our first Slow Jam DVD. She was fresh from winning third place in the fiddle contest at the Galax Fiddler's Convention. With Malia we did mostly instrumentals: "Liberty," "Soldier's Joy," "Amazing Grace," "Arkansas Traveler." She has amazing tone and played wonderful simple arrangements of the tunes that will be easy to pick-up even if you haven't learned the songs off of our fiddle videos.

The first song of the day, true to form, was the hardest to get. When we were in the middle of the first take I realized that I had propped my feet on a higher rung of my stool than the day before and that you could now see my bare feet on camera. Murphy thought it was okay, but Red ardently disagreed, so we re-shot the song, with mes pieds again out of the frame.

There are still some things left to shoot, like the introduction for the beginning of the DVD and the guitar left hand, which Murphy will do, for the picture-in-picture, but we got the majority of it done. Red will edit and assemble the footage and we will have them available in time for Christmas!

Murphy HenryTwas the night before the slow jam shoot and all through the house....No, I’m not even going to attempt to finish that parody! Suffice it to say that we start shooting our new slow jam DVD tomorrow! Casey and her banjo have arrived safely in Winchester from Nashville, traveling the highway home in her Ford Ranger with the license plate that says “OJNAB” and bumper stickers that read “Real Women Drive Trucks,” “Women in Bluegrass,” and “Hot Yoga.” We just finished looking over the clothes she brought with her, trying to decide what might look best on screen and what might blend in with the limited selection of choices in my own closet! And like Miggie and Polly and Janis Lewis, we both want to wear something we haven’t worn on screen before. (The Lewis Family sisters keep a record of which dresses they wear at every festival and show they play so they never repeat an outfit. That’s only one of the reasons I admire those women so much!)

As you may or may not know, we’ve always used our own Arrandem Studio to record our Murphy Method projects, including our cassettes and our videos. (Anybody still got any of our cassettes? There was some really good stuff there that hasn’t yet made it to DVD. Like Earl’s second and third breaks to “Earl’s Breakdown.”) Having our own studio makes it extremely convenient to record. We can set our own schedule, work at our own pace, and take as much time as we need. Of course, once we get the camera rolling (after working out all the initial bugs about sound and microphone placement and lightening and does my hair look funny), I like to keep shooting because I think I do better when I get up a full head of steam. So we usually do all the recording in one or two days. Then Red takes a few more days to do all the editing. (He’s also the person behind the camera, the one who says, “Do it over.” And “I think you left out a note.” And “Just start playing.” And “I can cut to a shot of your hands.” And “What you said was ‘The second phrase starts with a slide on the fourth string.’” He’s a very helpful husband to have around!)

So, in short, if all goes as expected, we should have our new DVD “Picking Up the Pace: More Slow Jamming with Murphy and Casey” in not too long a time. We’ll keep you posted!