Misfit Jam

Murphy HenryWe had four folks who braved this nasty, rainy weather to come out and jam: Susan and Mark on banjos, Ellen on guitar, and Bob Van on bass. Bob Mc couldn’t make it because he was at a hospital meeting trying to figure out what to do if the swine flu epidemic hits Frederick County, Virginia.

We warmed up this week by having the banjos play the lead together on The Big Three: “Banjo in the Hollow,” “Cripple Creek,” and “Boil Them Cabbage.”

Then, having limbered the fingers up, we continued on with:

Foggy Mountain Breakdown
I Saw the Light
Lonesome Road Blues (with Bob and me singing)
John Hardy
Blue Ridge Cabin Home
Old Joe Clark

Coming in from the vamp to the lead in OJC is still giving the students fits. The entrance is particularly hard to catch because those first two notes are, in fact, pickup notes. I suggested that they try playing along with the last few licks in the break beforehand to get oriented. Then Mark figured out it made more sense to him to come in just on the four fill-in notes, so he showed Susan how to do that which proved to be a big help!

Mark is going great guns with his improvising! He had a major breakthrough at an Apple Blossom Festival picking party that Bob Mc hosted on Saturday. Somehow, something just clicked—that basic idea of licks against chords—and he was off and running. He improvised a break to “Lonesome Road Blues” right on the spot! And maybe one to “Two Dollar Bill,” if memory serves. Tonight he added some improv licks to “I Saw The Light.” You go, Mark!

Susan, also, is taking her first steps toward improv with “Blue Ridge Cabin Home.” She came through with flying colors tonight—not perfect, but good enough! And, as she said, “At least I didn’t faint!”

So once again a fine time was had by all. I do hope you notice that we continue to play the SAME SONGS over and over and over. This is the value of a jam session. Pretty soon you learn to play the darn songs just by dint of having played them so much!