Misfit Jam

Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

We had a new guitar student join the jam tonight which was fun. Cody is a delightful young man, age 20, who lives near me and has been taking lessons for about four or five months. (If you read my General Store column in Bluegrass Unlimited you will have seen a reference to his father, Elvis, who plows our driveway in the winter. What did we ever do without him?)

Cody was welcomed heartily by Mark, Ellen, Bob Mc, and Bob Van. Susan had to cancel at the last minute and was missed, and Logan was absent for the second week in a row and is now on probation!

In deference to Cody, I tried to choose songs that had easy chord patterns. (So, no “Banjo in the Hollow,” no “Cripple Creek,” and no “Old Joe Clark”!) Our set list was as follows:

Foggy Mountain Breakdown

Blue Ridge Cabin Home

I Saw the Light

John Hardy

Lonesome Road Blues

I’ll Fly Away

Then we did one of the songs Cody has been working on, “Folsom Prison Blues” in the key of E. (He’s a big Johnny Cash fan. He also wants to learn “A Country Boy Can Survive” by Hank Jr., but I’ll have to learn that one first, myself.) We’ve never done anything in the key of E at the jam, so I quickly went over the vamping (move all the basic Key of G vamps backwards three frets) and told Ellen to capo up four and play out of C position. (Also known as “four C” to many bluegrass players.) Bob Van was really slapping the bass in the Johnny Cash style, which added a lot of pizzazz and authenticity to the song.

We closed out, as always, with “Wagon Wheel” which, unfortunately, has really quick chord changes. But, hey, it’s our theme song, so what could I do?

At one point in the proceedings, Cody asked if there were any flatpicks that were easier to grip, since he almost dropped his. (I told him that was pretty normal.) Bob Van whipped out a pick with a hole in the middle for Cody to try. At the end of the evening, Cody said he liked the pick pretty well and he guessed he’d go home and drill a hole in the pick he had. Got to admire a man who is comfortable with power tools!

There was much laughter all through the jam and a good time was had by all. And, perhaps best of all, Cody said he’d be back. We didn’t scare him off! We must be getting better!

2 thoughts on “Misfit Jam

  1. Steve (in Japan)

    I enjoy reading and learning about good times such as the Misfit Jam described above. That night’s “set list” is a convenient one too to keep in mind.

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