Tag Archives: Lynn Morris

Casey Henry

I know y'all have been waiting for a report on Lynn's show on Sunday. Sorry it's taken me so long to write about it. I had to drive back to Nashville all day on Monday, and then yesterday was largely taken up by teaching and writing my Banjo Newsletter article for June (which will also be about Lynn's show, BTW). So now, before I leave the house to go down to my part-time day job (working at a dentist office), I finally have time to tell you how great Lynn did.

The crowd fairly buzzed with anticipation prior to her set. She played at 4:00, the next-to-the-last set of the festival. I got the feeling that most of the crowd was just there to see Lynn. (And I didn't envy the Boxcars, who had to play after Lynn...to the 15% of the crowd that remained.)

The Lynn Morris Band on Stage

The Lynn Morris Band on stage: Jesse Brock, Tom Adams (hidden), Lynn, Marshall Wilborn (behind Lynn), Ron Stewart. I was truly sorry that I forgot my camera so all I have are poor-quality iPhone pictures. See the links at the bottom of the post for some better shots!

When the emcee introduced the band, the crowd gave them a standing ovation. They kicked off the set with a fast banjo instrumental, just as in days of old. But the audience was really waiting for Lynn to sing. The next tune, "I Wish It Would Rain," gave them what they wanted. Lynn and Marshall start with a duet on the chorus and after the first line, applause erupted. Everyone was SO HAPPY to hear Lynn sing again!

The rest of the set was a classic LMB show:


Gonna Have Love

Mama's Hand - Lynn dedicated this song to Hazel Dickens, who wrote it. Hazel passed away last month. "Good woman. Great spirit. This song's for her," Lynn said.

Old Rip - Lynn pulled out the clawhammer banjo for this original tune. Her right side was quite damaged by her stroke and I could tell that she'd been working really hard on her banjo playing. She even started to tell the story that goes along with the song. "I lived in Texas," she said. "They have horny toads, and I like 'em!" Marshall finished out the tale, which tells of the horny toad for whom the song is named, who supposedly lived for 80 years in the corner stone of a small-town courthouse in Texas. Before she kicked off the tune Lynn said "Slow!" and indeed it was slower than she used to play it, but it sounded great at that speed. Jesse Brock gave Lynn a great big hug after it was over and it was a feel-good moment for everyone!

It Rains Everywhere I Go

If Teardrops Were Pennies

Sweet Dixie - Bill Emerson, one of the truly great banjo players in bluegrass, got up to play one of his original tunes. For the last couple of years Lynn has been running sound at Bill's shows. "He's my boss," she said.

Spay Your Pet - This is a very cute, quite funny public service announcement the band did for the SPAY/USA. You can hear it here (scroll down to the middle of the page and you'll see a little blue box with the player right above it) and order a copy here.

Black Pony

Wrong Road Again - This was their last song and before it Lynn said, "You know I had a stroke, but I'm LIVIN'!" and affirmed what we could all see, which was that even though she's not, and may never be, back to where she was pre-stroke, playing music is something she still loves to do and it makes her happy.

Can't Stop Me From Dreaming - This encore song is a banjo and bass duet. Earl Scruggs recorded it years ago, and Marshall recorded it on his Root 5 album. It was great to hear it again.

Overall the show was truly great. It takes real courage to get up and perform in front of a big crowd that expects a lot, especially when you can't execute everything to your previous level of perfection. But Lynn has always been strong and determined and those same qualities have carried her through her stroke recovery.

Here are some links to other media coverage of the show, with better pictures than mine!

Northern Virginia Daily - This is a good article and has several great pictures of Lynn, Marshall, and a couple of their cats.

The Bluegrass Blog - Nice little article and some good pictures from the show.

John Rosenberger, the executive director of the Apple Blossom Festival, said that he thought Lynn's return to the stage was "incredibly moving," according to the Winchester Star.

Bluegrass Virginia Blog - Also with some nice pictures from the show.

Lynn Morris Band Facebook page - in case you want to drop Lynn a note.

Lynn's Clawhammer Banjo DVD (Vol. 1) - Because everybody should have one!

Casey Henry

I'll be the first to admit I've been terrible about blogging lately! I've had so much going on that sitting down to write about banjo teaching keeps slipping my mind. But I really wanted to make sure you all knew that our The Murphy Method's favorite clawhammer banjo teacher, Lynn Morris, will be playing a set at the Apple Blossom Bluegrass Festival this weekend!!

She's playing a special one-time only reunion appearance with members of her old band: Marshall Wilborn (of course!), Jesse Brock, Ron Stewart, and Tom Adams. She hasn't played publicly in years (since suffering a stroke several years back) so this really is a chance you shouldn't miss. She'll do one set at 4:00, but you'll probably want to come and watch all the bands, which include Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, the Boxcars, and Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice.

To give you some idea about how excited I am about this: I'm driving to Winchester to see her play. That's ten hours each way, and that's the ONLY reason I'm going! (It's just a bonus that I'll get to catch the new season of Doctor Who on BBC America on my parents TV Saturday night!)

Hope to see you there!

Casey Henry

Last week at the International Bluegrass Music Association conference our favorite clawhammer banjo instructor Lynn Morris received a Distinguished Achievement Award from the organization in recognition for her illustrious career in the bluegrass music business. From her early days in the City Limits Bluegrass Band through Whetstone Run and her own Lynn Morris Band, Lynn has always striven for perfection. That dedication paid off when she was the first woman to win the National Banjo Championship at Winfield, Kansas, and again a few years later when she was the first person ever to take the title twice. She was named IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year three times and her band put out five superlative albums. She was at the height of her career when she suffered a stroke, which robbed her of her ability to speak and play. Since then she has worked tirelessly, with tremendous strength and determination, to recover what she lost. She has regained so much ground; we are so proud of her. Currently Lynn works as the sound engineer on the road with Bill Emerson and Sweet Dixie.

This video is of most of her acceptance speech at the Special Awards Ceremony at IBMA on September 30, 2010. I missed the first bit. (Sorry!)

Our friends over at the Bluegrass Blog have posted a lovely conversation with Lynn Morris, who teaches our Clawhammer Banjo Volume 1 and Volume 2.  It catches up with what she's doing these days, a question we get asked often. So if you've been wondering that yourself, click here and read the article.

Red HenryFolks, there's good news today from the Murphy Method: Our Clawhammer Banjo Vol. 2 DVDs have come in! This excellent DVD is taught by Lynn Morris, and she explains complex techniques including double-thumbing in our trademark note-by-note, step-by-step style.

Here are the lessons on this DVD, all taught in the double-thumbing style:

1. Old Molly Hare

2. Melody to "The Black Pony"

3. Soldier's Joy

4. Yellow Rose of Texas

5. Turkey in the Straw

These lessons are a fun challenge to those of you who've gone through Lynn's Clawhammer Volume 1! As always, Lynn explains everything completely and leaves NOTHING to chance. More info about this brand-new DVD is here.

For those of you who made advance orders, your DVDs were shipped out today! for everyone else, we have them available now!

See you at the festivals!

At Thursday night's awards show one of our favorite banjo players took home the award for Banjo Player of the year: Kristin Scott Benson. Kristin plays with the Larry Stephenson Band and is the second woman to take home the title, the first being Alison Brown in 1991. The other nominees in the category---Earl Scruggs, J. D. Crowe, Jimmy Mills, Ron Stewart--- were unbelievably stiff competition.

Kristin Scott Benson

Kristin was modest enough to think that it was a fluke that she was nominated at all, so when she won, she was very surprised. She gave a great speech, giving lots of credit and thanks to her parents, who were in attendance that night because her husband, Wayne Benson, was taking care of their son Hogan.

Dale Ann Bradley took home Female Vocalist of the Year for the second time in a row.

Dale Ann Bradley

Kristin and Dale Ann were the only women to take home awards this year, although Gillian Welch and David Rawlings's song "By The Mark" won Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year.

The before and after parties were great fun. This is FiddleStar/Murphy Method Camp co-host Megan Lynch and myself:

megan lynch, casey henry

And here is Lynn Morris and Bass Player of the Year nominee Marshall Wilborn, who presented the awards for Vocal Group and Album of the Year:

lynn, marshall, casey

The dress I'm wearing was made by my grandmother for my mom's Junior-Senior prom. It was a pretty big hit, I have to say. Last but not least, here is me with my brother and fellow TMM instructor Chris Henry:

casey and chris