Tip Jar Jam: I Did Not Know What Was Going On!

Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

And what an appropriate title for the last Tip Jar Jam Blog of 2014!

We had a bodacious and Brobdingnagian crowd at the jam Wednesday night. As Kathy G said, "Just mention hooch and they will come!" Yes, we did have a small holiday party with adult beverages! The entire Campbell family showed up and as always it was good to see Drew (banjo) and Rhys (pronounced Reece, on fiddle). We have Drew to thank for the blog title!

Here's the story: I was looking for one more song to sing so Dan could continue to play in Open C. He'd already done well on Do Lord,  Circle, and I'll Fly Away, even playing some two-finger melody pinches on the latter ("when this life is o'er"; and "God's celestial shore"). The crowd was too big and too diverse to try Dooley or Long Black Veil or When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder, so I settled on I Saw The Light. I called for a volunteer to kick it off, and Drew stepped up to the plate. He was capoed up five frets as were most of the banjo players.

Drew was all excited about kicking off I Saw The Light because, as he said, "I want to play my new high break!" I told him gently but firmly (although it might have been just firmly....) that he had to kick the song off with the low break. However, nothing ever seems to dim Drew's enthusiasm, so he said, "Well, I'll play my high break second." I raised my eyebrows at his father, Jason, and said, "I don't think so" because with ten other pickers taking breaks I knew that Drew wouldn't get a second chance. This, too, did not make the slightest dint in his joy. Amazing kid. He was willing to hope for the best!

So Drew kicked off this jam favorite and I sang it. As I parceled out the breaks---Rhys, Kathy G, Dan, David, Bob A, Bob Mc, Diane, Gregg, Amber, and Jason---I realized that since I was the boss of the song I could actually give Drew a second break. I could see it in my mind's eye: I would nod at Drew and say "Merry Christmas!" while he took his high break. I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. (That could have been the hot chocolate Betty gave me. Best hot chocolate I have ever drunk, bar none!)

So, not realizing that the Universe might have other plans, but basking in my inner vision of benevolence, noblesse oblige, and the power to grant wishes (!), I started looking over at Drew to give him a heads up. Unfortunately Drew was not looking back at me. I think he was admiring his own vamping. And now time was running out. But his brother Rhys caught my eye and, amazingly for a man, read my mind. (Good trait to hang onto, Rhys!) So, he whacked Drew on the leg with his fiddle bow. This got Drew's attention and he looked up at Rhys as if to say, "What'd you do that for?" Rhys directed Drew's attention to me and by this time, the break was upon him. It was time to play.

But Drew, lost in the fog of whatever he was thinking, still didn't get it. So I said, as the rest of us continued playing rhythm, "Take your high break!" Finally Drew snapped to attention and tried to come in but that misfired. So I said, "We'll hold the G chord. Start again." Alas! Too much water under the dam, too much confusion, it was a train wreck. So, we sang a last chorus and ended the song.

"What happened, Drew?" I asked when the dust had settled. His forthright answer: "I did not know what was going on!" So I said, "What did you think when Rhys hit you with the fiddle bow?" He said, "He's always kicking me! I thought, 'What'd I do wrong?'" At that point we are all howling with laughter which only got louder when I reached for my pen and paper and said, "Thanks for the blog title!"

Those guys, Drew and Rhys, absolutely slay me. They are so talented, yet they are not a bit full of themselves. They just love to play. (I wish I could remember some of the jokes Rhys was telling while we were noshing. He's good at that too! And he loves to play my "canjo," the one-string instrument made out of a Fat Tire beer can that Kathy H made for me.)

I took a picture of the boys right after the jam ended. Rhys does not usually look so solemn.Drew and Rhys

Here's the other picture I took.

JasonDanChuckDavidYou've heard of an Ent Moot from Lord of the Rings? This is a "Guy Moot." Dan has just told everyone about the Amazing Slow Downer which Casey mentioned in our last Murphy Method Newsletter. The women (myself included) couldn't care less---we were heading back to the other room for more hot chocolate! But the guys immediately circled the wagons to guy-talk about this new gizmo. (Yes, I know I'm playing into stereotypes, but this struck me as funny. So 1950s: all the guys in one room, all the womyn in another! They eventually ambled on back to the food and drink.)

We all visited a while longer then everyone headed home. A great big THANK YOU to Gregg and Chuck for staying to help clean up. OMG! Chuck even took out the trash!

Hope you enjoy the rest of your December. I personally am looking forward to the Winter Solstice on December 21, the shortest day of the year. Then the days will start getting longer! Yea and hooray! And Chris is coming home for Christmas! Yea and hooray for that, too.

And in case I don't get around to blogging anymore this year, Happy New Year! Thanks for continuing to read these blogs. I really appreciate it.

We're looking forward to seeing you at our camps in 2015. Please help spread the word about our first-ever Young Women's Jam Camp in July. It's open to all young women ages 8-18 on any bluegrass instrument. You'll be hearing more about it all next year. Check it out here:


2 thoughts on “Tip Jar Jam: I Did Not Know What Was Going On!

  1. Ricky Gura , Chicopee,MA

    Hi Murphy…Great picture of the boys…wish that was me at that age…Merry Christmas/Happy New Year to you and your great family…..RickyG

  2. Betty Fisher

    Merry Christmas to all the tip jar jammers and,of course, Murphy. Hope you enjoy your raspberry pie.

Comments are closed.