Quote of the night, from Bob Van: “Are you going to blog about this?” And by “this” he meant anything and everything that was said or done. I told him I was going to blog about him asking if I was going to blog.
Folks present: Logan, Bob Van, Susan, Mark, Ellen, Bill
We had a bit of a different configuration tonight—TWO BASSES! Bill and Susan have recently purchased a half-size bass (and a Beginning Bass DVD by the fabulous Marshall Wilborn), and tonight was Bill’s first night to howl on the new instrument. He accompanied us on two songs, the ever-popular “Blue Ridge Cabin Home” and “I Saw The Light.” He then sat down and gave his recovering shoulder a rest. (Rotator cuff.)
We carried on without him playing:
Lonesome Road Blues
Old Joe Clark
Little Cabin Home on the Hill
Wagon Wheel (from Old Crow Medicine Show)
On “Lonesome Road Blues,” the banjoists were having a little trouble coming back in from the vamp, so after we’d finished playing, I got out the banjo and we revisited how to play the down-the-neck tag lick, hit the fifth string, do that long second-string slide into the start of LRB, put in another fifth string for fill, and pop those two first-string notes to start the song on the downbeat. (Much easier done than said!)
Also on LRB, Logan, who has just learned “Kansas City Railroad Blues” from our DVD, played the entrance to the up-the-neck break exactly like the beginning of “Kansas City.” The lick came out rolling out of Logan’s hands completely unbidden! It startled the starch out of me (as my mother might say) and I think it surprised Logan, too. We both looked at each other with “What the heck?” faces. Amazing!
Logan was again playing a lot of guitar. I’d showed him some runs at his lesson, and he was beginning to put those in. I’d also showed him the F chord, which he tried for the first time in “Old Joe Clark.” He said he was going to leave out lots of the G chording in order to have time to set up for the F. How’d that work out for you, Logan? Looked to me like it was easier said than done!
“Little Cabin Home on the Hill” was a first at the jam, and Bob made Logan kick it off, ignoring his protest that he didn’t know it. (Of course he knew it. I think he just wanted to be begged.) Susan, who truly didn’t know the song, took an improvised break, using the “Boil Them Cabbage” high break rolls and chord positions as a guide. Nice!
Mark kicked us off on “Wagon Wheel” and Ellen and I sang what has become one of our favorite songs. Then it was “John Hardy” for a closer and we were done.
Of course there was still jawboning to be done, and Bob had to explain to Logan who George Shuffler was. (Only one of the greatest bluegrass lead guitar players to come down the pike.) Bob promised to bring a CD next week for Logan’s further edification. Truly, it takes a village to raise a child, and a jam session to raise a young banjo picker. We think Logan is coming along nicely....
(And we’ll look forward to seeing you, Zachery, when you learn a couple more songs!)