Misfit Jam

Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

It was a cold and rainy night here in the Shenandoah Valley, still and yet, four Misfits braved the elements to come pick and grin. Mark and Susan were on banjos, while Ellen played guitar, and Logan alternated between guitar and banjo. With me on the guitar, we sometimes had three guitars going which, as Mark noted, was kinda nice.

Our song list was:

Cripple Creek

Banjo in the Hollow

Foggy Mountain Breakdown

Earl’s Breakdown (solo by Logan)

Foggy Mountain Special (ditto)

Old Joe Clark

John Hardy

Salt Creek

Lonesome Road Blues

And, of course, “Wagon Wheel.” I spent part of my trip down to Georgia last weekend listening to Old Crow Medicine Show and trying to memorize the plethora of words, and tonight I was flying solo for the first time. Fortunately, Ellen knows most of the lyrics so when I faltered I looked at her to see what shapes her mouth was forming. We made it through in fine fettle! Then, wonder of wonders, Mark asked me if I could play the fiddle to “Wagon Wheel.” I said I could! Then Ellen asked if I could play the fiddle and sing at the same time and I said I could do that too! (Actually I’m not sure that I can, but having been ASKED to play the fiddle I wasn’t about to admit any weakness for fear of having the invitation rescinded.)

When Logan was playing his solo tune “Foggy Mountain Special,” at Ellen’s request, I was accompanying him on guitar. In the middle of the song he looks at me and says, “Take a break.” Well, I thought he was just being nice so I shook my head “no.” Then he said “please” with such a pleading look that I went right into Lester’s G run and tried as best I could to echo a few notes of Lester Flatt’s classic and perfect break. Mine was considerably less than perfect but the spirit was there!

As you might have noticed from the song list, we didn’t do any vocals. That was due to Bob Van’s absence. He did, however, call in with an excuse early this morning. I’m a little embarrassed to confess that I was just crawling out of bed when the phone rang at 8 a.m. I made the mistake of admitting as much to Bobby who said, “[Expletive deleted] It’s lunch time!” (I was trying to catch up on my rest after 20 hours of solo driving this weekend—that’s a little bit of an excuse, isn’t it? Plus that, I’m a musician!) But your bass playing was sorely missed, Bobby, along with your general redneck joie de vivre. (Yeah, I had to look the spelling of that one up, and have no idea how to pronounce it, but I knew it was the phrase I was looking for! What does it mean? Look it up yourself! I can’t be doing all the work here!)

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