Tip Jar Jam: G! G! G!

Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

Okay, just a short blog about last night's jam. We started out with five guitar players and two banjo players. The balance might not have been so skewed but, Kathy, who normally plays banjo, was practicing her guitar chops for our upcoming Intermediate Banjo Camp where she will be one of our accompanists. Bobby, ever the team player, noticing the plethora of guitars volunteered to get out Kenney's bass (which Kenney leaves there for anyone to play). To me, that's like "taking one for the team" so I thank you for that, Bobby. However, you know that good deeds never go unpunished!

So, we're playing Old Joe Clark. I was giving Tammie, a new guitar student and jammer, a quick review of the chords. Since we were playing it in the key of A and were capoed up two frets, I was telling her the chord positions, as if we were playing in the key of G. I said the A part had two chords, G and D, and the B part had three chords, G, F, and D. Tammie totally got it and started practicing her F chord.

I line up the order of the breaks, getting Scott on banjo to start and off we go. Everything is going fine till we get to the B part and I hear this totally funky sound coming from the bass. I look over at Bobby and, while I can't tell for sure what he's doing, I can see he's nowhere near the open G chord. I give him the evil eye. He knows this song. He has played Old Joe Clark many times on the bass, he plays it on guitar. What the heck is going on?

We move on to Bob's guitar break. He executes well through the two A parts but he doesn't play the B part for the second time and instead goes back into the A part. While I'm dealing with that crisis (by playing the B part loudly on my guitar so Dan can hear where to come in), I again hear those funky bass notes. Arrrrrrgh! Too much going on! I see from the corner of my eye that Scott has said something to Bobby. Whatever it was, it didn't help. I can see that Bobby knows something is wrong but is clueless about how to fix it. So, during Dan's B part, I fix my eye on Bobby and say, "G! G! G!" The light bulb goes on and like magic, we have the correct chord. I say, "Praise the Lord!" And I meant it!

After the song was over, we deconstructed what had happened. Bobby, listening with only one ear, had heard me tell Tammie that the off chord was F. So he was playing an F! He was totally forgetting that she was capoed and he wasn't! (I'm sure you feel his pain, Kenney!) So, we all had a good laugh about that. Usually when I'm talking about the chords with the jammers I try to remember to tell Kenney, on bass, to "close your ears."

Casey and I are looking forward to our Intermediate Banjo Camp which is fast approaching on March 28-30. Geoff Stelling will be there on Saturday to talk about banjo setup and David McLaughlin and Steve Spence will be joining us both Friday and Saturday nights for our concert and the hour-long instructor-led jam. (Late night jamming led by Bobby and Kathy will follow after Casey and I leave.) On Saturday night, our special guest performer will be Kasey Smelser, our Tip Jar Jam Fashionista! (Have you picked out your outfit yet, Kasey? And BTW, no texting during the performance!) And I will be hosting a Tip Jar Jam AT THE HOTEL the Thursday before camp starts, March 27, from 7-9. Campers and other Tip Jar Jammers are welcome. Looking forward to seeing all y'all!!!!