Tag Archives: logan claytor

Murphy Henry

My long-time banjo student Logan graduated from high school last week and this past Saturday he had a picking party at his house to celebrate. Red and I attended as did my friend Janet (guitar picker and sometimes square dance partner), Logan’s Scout Master Gerald, also on guitar, and Chris Lovelace, high school buddy of our son Chris, who also plays guitar. Gerald and Chris both play some lead guitar, although not on the fast instrumentals. We played from about 4:30 till close to 8:30 and Logan was playing the best I had ever heard him! Go, Logan!

So, what did we play? Not in any particular order:

Lonesome Road Blues
Foggy Mountain Breakdown (which Logan still hates, but his dad wanted to hear it!)
Old Joe Clark
John Hardy
Wildwood Flower
Old Spinning Wheel
Clinch Mountain Backstep
When You and I Were Young, Maggie (instrumental)
Train 45
Little Bessie
Worried Man
East Virginia Blues
Old Country Church
Hit Parade of Love
Rolling on Rubber Wheels
Old Homeplace
White Dove
Will You Be Loving Another Man
Head Over Heels
Nine Pound Hammer
Take This Hammer and Carry It to the Captain
Over in the Gloryland
Foggy Mountain Special
Limehouse Blues (I was REALLY proud of Logan for remembering how to pick this one!)
Gold Rush
Shenandoah Breakdown
Wandering Boy
Shucking the Corn
Mountain Dew
Darling Say Won’t You Be Mine

As I mentioned, Logan was playing great. Most of these songs he knew already, but a few he’d never played before and he didn’t shy away from improvising. (Except when we played in the Key of D. Then he went to get something to eat! Guess what his next lesson is going to focus on??) I usually played my break before he took his (I was sitting right beside him) and it didn’t take me long to realize that he was COPYING my breaks! Not exactly note for note, but he’d steal licks and use them in his own break.

I said to him, “Dammit, Logan, you’re stealing my licks. Stop it! Make up your own licks.”

His immediate comeback was: “You stole them from Earl first.”

Touché, Logan!

Of course, I was only pretending to grouse because I LOVED IT!

And to be fair, I stole a lick from Logan which I now use in Lonesome Road Blues. He had learned part of Kansas City Railroad Blues (in C) from Casey’s Melodic Banjo Video [now retitled Blackberry Blossom on DVD], and somehow he ended up transferring one of those licks to Lonesome Road Blues. I liked it so well, I transferred it too!

As we were packing up to leave and saying goodbye, Robyn, Logan’s mother, was reminding me (and everybody else) that when she first inquired about lessons for Logan, who was 11 at the time, I told her no! I had a pretty full teaching schedule and I wasn’t very interested—at that time—in teaching kids. (I much prefer teaching someone who can carry on a conversation with me.) ANYHOW, I hooked him up with my excellent student Gina Furtado, who gave him his first lessons. Then somehow that wasn’t working anymore (too far to travel is what I remember), so Robyn asked again, and this time I said yes, with one huge caveat: if Logan ever showed any teenage "attitude” or surliness, he and I were through. Kaput. It would be over.

I don’t know if I scared him or it just wasn’t in his nature, but he never gave me one moment of trouble. (Okay, there was that time he thought he was right about the chords to some song and he was wrong and we made a bet and I won and became the Bluegrass Master....) This is not to say that we didn’t have some practice issues and some other banjo-related issues. For instance, sometimes he just HAD to do it his way and I just had to let him. Sometimes he was missing just one note in a song and I could NOT get him to fix it so I just had to let that go. (He did finally fix that one note in Clinch Mountain Backstep, I was pleased to see!) And there were timing issues early on. Once in a jam, we sat Logan by Bob Van Metre and his bass, so he (Logan) could, hopefully, stay in time better. But that was a failure because, at that point, Logan didn’t know how to even LISTEN to the bass to hear the beat. He learned though, and now has great timing.

And then somewhere along the way, Logan fell in love with the old, traditional bluegrass: Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, the Stanley Brothers, and Don Reno. (He also likes the new stuff like the Avett Brothers and some group called Noah and the Whale.) He started listening like crazy to the old stuff and started asking me to teach him songs like Limehouse Blues, When You and I Were Young Maggie, and Old Spinning Wheel. I was delighted to do so, especially because he could pick them up so quick, and, if he forgot what I showed him, he could make up stuff well enough to fill in the blanks.

I guess you can tell I’m pretty proud of Logan. He’ll be attending Virginia Tech in the fall and I’m proud of that too. And he did finally buckle down and become an Eagle Scout. And, I think I told you this before, but Logan chose a picture of him and me playing our banjos to go in his yearbook. I felt so honored.

I can’t really think of a good closing for what has turned into a tribute to Logan. But these words from Ferrol Sams, one of my favorite authors (Run With the Horsemen), come to mind: He’s a Good Boy, he’s been Raised Right, and is bound to Go Far. And my guess is he’ll be taking his banjo with him!

Murphy Henry

Logan, now a senior in high school, is going great guns on the banjo at the moment. He’s in that space where he is learning song after song after song. (I know you don’t want to hear that, Marty and Susan!) Lately we’ve learned Goldrush, Daybreak in Dixie, and Shenandoah Breakdown. All of these are starting to run together in his head, especially the beginnings (same pickup notes) so this week he asked for something different. Probably because Susan is working on it, I suggested Liberty, which is in D, but played out of the C position with the fourth string dropped to a C note (tuned down 2 frets). (And, no, Marty, this does not give you permission to start working on it!) So away we went!

The way Logan is learning right now is for me to show him as much of the song as he thinks he can retain right there in the lesson. I know with his busy senior schedule—school, church, job, girl, car, texting—that he is extremely unlikely to look at a DVD! So I started showing him Liberty which he picked up really fast. I was pretty impressed until he told me that he’d actually sorta learned it years ago (from me) but he didn’t really “get it” then. Whatever.

Since the learning process went so fast, we had extra time in the lesson to actually play the song together. I showed him those funky-sounding, up-the-neck drop C chords (he loves those sounds as much as I do) and we started trading breaks.

Well! (And here is the whole point of the blog.) Right at the beginning of the song, Logan was putting in an extra note-- an extra first string--and IT SOUNDED GREAT. (If I did tab I would show you but I don’t so I won’t. If I had a webcam I could film it for you, but ditto. Ask me when you see me!) For those of you who play my arrangement, that first string became a “bump” note/grace note to the downbeat on the fifth string. (I think!) In my mind, it did something spectacular to the rhythm and I just loved it. So naturally I stole it from Logan and started doing it myself. Thanks, Logan!

I told Logan his inventiveness reminded me of the new lick Casey added to Liberty. It’s a simple little lick, but the timing is exquisite. You can hear Casey and Lynn Morris, on clawhammer banjo, playing Liberty on Casey’s CD Real Women Drive Trucks. Killer version. And, of course, you can hear—and learn—Liberty on our DVD, Soldier’s Joy and Other Banjo Favorites.

And I will close with a slightly paraphrased bluegrass song, with apologies to Grandpa Jones, who wrote the original:

It’s raining, raining, raining here this morning
As I sit right here and type my blog away
I wish that I could follow all the raindrops
But it’s way too wet to play outside today.

A bit lame, but there you have it! Now, on to The Book

Murphy Henry

I thought I’d ease back into the blogging groove by trying to find some connection between my latest passion—square dancing (been at it a year now!)—and banjo playing.

We started a new square dancing class in Winchester last week (first two classes FREE! Y’all come!) and four of my students earned stars in their crowns by coming out for the event. Fiddle sister Sandy declined to get on the floor but gamely stayed for the whole two hours, watching us whirling and twirling. Thanks, Sandy. I felt supported.

Fiddle sister Robyn honored her promise of months ago (given under some duress while we were hiking) and came, thinking she too would sit out and talk to Sandy but I said, “No, no. That’s not what you promised. Saying you would come implied that you would come dance. If I tell you I’m going hiking with you that doesn’t mean I’m going to sit at the trailhead and watch you hike.” So, she danced. And had a good time. But she’s already told me she just can’t add one more activity to her already busy schedule. Maybe another time. Logan, beast that he is, did not come. But he was working his part-time job at Chick-Fil-A so he is somewhat forgiven. (Exciting news about Logan: he was nominated for Homecoming King at Winchester’s Handley High School! Go, Logan!)

Susan and Bill Morrison, banjo and bass students, also showed up and danced all night long. I was Bill’s “angel” [partner who already knows how to dance] and danced with him most of the night. Both he and Susan caught on quickly and they said they’d be back. They were surprised at how vigorous the dancing was and both thought it was good exercise.

And then there were Liesel (rhymes with “diesel” and “weasel” she says) and Lars (rhymes with “bars”), a twenty-something couple who showed up. I was in Chicos shopping one day and one of the sales clerks ask me how my square dancing was going. I said “Fine” and then Liesel, who was working the register, chimed in and said, “Square dancing? I’d love to learn to square dance!” (She had just gotten back from the big Clifftop Old-Time Music Festival and was smitten.) I immediately said, “There’s a class starting here in Winchester next month.” I gave her all the info and then said, “Give me your number and I’ll call and remind you.” Which I did. But she and her fiancé, Lars, had remembered all by themselves and were already planning to come. And they were SO enthusiastic. And adorable. And did I say young?

Then I found out that Lars is—can you believe it?—an old-time fiddle player. So, this Thursday he is going to bring his fiddle and I am going to bring my—guess what?—banjo and we are going to pick some in between dances. He told me he has a great love for “crooked” tunes (which usually means extra beats per measure when you’re not expecting them!). I told him I’d do my best to follow him. So we will see......

I realize this is a stretch, writing about square dancing and working banjo playing into the corners. But, hey, it’s a start!

Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

If there were a “graduation” from being a banjo student to being a banjo player, Logan would have gotten his diploma last night. He played a whole set on stage with Red and Chris and Jenny and me and did an outstanding job.

We were attending the wedding of a friend, Fiddle Sister Charlotte, and she had asked us to bring our instruments for a little picking after the ceremony. She had even provided a sound system. There was no specific time for us to start, so after supper we were all hanging loose, visiting old friends and the bartender.

Then, about 8 p.m., Charlotte comes over and says, “We’re losing the crowd. Would y’all start playing?”

I was ready. I turned to the troops and said, “Let’s hit it!” All of us, including Fiddle Sister Patty, headed for the stage where our instruments were resting contentedly in their cases.

We had never played together in this particular configuration before although Red and Chris and Jenny have been performing together a lot lately. Logan has exactly one band performance under his belt (along with a few guest appearances with us) and Patty pretty much plays only with the Fiddle Sisters. Still and yet, I had no worries. What amazed me, however, was how wonderfully well we worked together. For me it was almost a magical experience—we were clicking on all cylinders. And I include Logan in this.

We were working with only one microphone which in some ways that made it easier, but with six people playing lead instruments the choreography could have been disastrous. As it turned out, we moved in and out of the microphone area like well-rehearsed dancers. We were also bass-less. Luckily Chris, on guitar, knows how to compensate for the lack of a bass. I never felt like I had to carry the rhythm on the banjo, but could instead lean on him. He was solid.

And though both Red and Chris are completely capable of excellent emcee work, I undertook the job myself this time, partly because Charlotte is my fiddle sister (and hairdresser!) but mostly because I just like to be the boss. I decided we’d open the show with one of the numbers we often do at weddings: “Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms!” When I announced it to the band, there was no discussion, no asking what key or who would sing lead or who would take which break. I loved that. I kicked it off (in G) and there was Red, ready with the first words of the chorus as I knew he would be. Like a rock. I sang tenor, and Chris jumped in on baritone. When we came to the last chorus everyone had had a break except Logan. I was afraid Red might forget about him and end the song so during that chorus I’m going, “Roll in my sweet baby’s arms (Red! Don’t forget to give Logan a break!) / Roll in my sweet baby’s arms...” And as we finished singing, I looked over at Logan—who was fortunately looking back at me—gave him the nod and then the three singers pulled away from the mike and Logan slid in, smooth as glass, to take his break. Now that is professional!

Red picked out the next song, another good wedding number, “Will You Be Loving Another Man.” (We never did get around to doing our all-time favorite wedding song, “Rawhide”.)

I chose “Bury Me Beneath the Willow” as a twin-banjo instrumental, because Logan plays it so well. Patty and Jenny also played twin fiddles, something they’d never done before! Logan and I don’t have a specific arrangement worked up, we were just winging it. At one point, during someone else’s break, he had the good sense to motion to me, indicating by his hand position which break we were going to take next. Clever lad! And as our third and last turn came around, I leaned over to him and said, “Low, high, low.” And he knew what I meant! We took a low break, played a high one, and then ended after the second low break. Now, that is communication.

You may remember from reading this blog that Logan hates “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.” Naturally, I couldn’t resist telling the audience we were going to play FMB because Logan loved it so much. Logan gave me a dark look. I also purposely kicked it off as fast as I could, saying to Logan, “See if you can keep up with me!” He did. As I knew he would.

I sang “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” in the key of C (which I played open), and when it was time for Logan’s break there he was, stepping up to the mike with his capo on at the fifth fret. I called on Jenny to end our set with a fiddle tune and she chose “Salt Creek.” She started (and finished!) at a blistering pace and again Logan came through with flying colors.

In addition to his excellent playing, I was mightily impressed with Logan’s on-stage presence—his calmness and his readiness. There was no whining, no complaining, no “I can’t play this!” (the usual baloney he gives me during his lessons!) He simply did his job, performing as a competent side musician. I could not have been prouder. The next day, when we were talking about the show (as his mom Robyn and I were getting ready to hike the Appalachian Trail), Logan said, sort of wistfully, “Why was our set so short? I wish we could have played longer.” Spoken like a true bluegrass musician. I believe he has been bitten by the bug!

If I could hand Logan a diploma I think I might put these words on it. They come from a bumper sticker that Alan O’Bryant gave me many long years ago. The tattered shreds are still visible on my old banjo case: This is no dress rehearsal, we are professionals, this is the big time. Welcome, Logan!


Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

So, I woke up at 5:30 this morning and thought, “Whoops! I forgot to blog!” So here I am, an hour and a half later, sitting at my computer, before I have even had my morning cuppa.

Why did I forget something so crucial? Well, the Misfits jam is on hold for a while, although Logan did come in for his lesson (more on that later), but the big news here is that Red took his first solo flight yesterday—WHOO HOO!—and we went out to eat to celebrate. Of course when we came back I had to get in my obligatory episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and then I headed for my nest with no thoughts of blogging to disturb me. Till this morning.

So. About Logan’s lesson. He’s got a GIG coming up! And had his first practice for it last Sunday. Where, to his surprise, the singer/guitarist did a lot of songs in the key of E. To complicate things even further, the guy had his capo on at the SECOND fret. (He was playing out of the D position.) Logan was, to put it bluntly, totally lost. “I can’t play out of E!” he told me. “Yes, you can!” I replied. “No, I can’t!” he said. Then I said, “Let me pretend I’m Bob Van Metre for a minute: !@##%, yes you can, now shut up or I’m going to get the duct tape!”

That gained me a moment of silence, in which I said, “Get your capo.” Of course, Logan had forgotten his capo, so I gave him one of mine. “Put it on at the FOURTH fret. We’re going to play out of C position. And that will make it come out in the Key of E.”

“Ooooooooh,” said Logan. He actually got it.

So we messed around with “I’ll Fly Away” for a while in E. He actually had a decent break, although as he pointed out, it didn’t have much melody, so I showed him some ways to get the melody with two-finger pinches on the first and second strings. (Ask Casey for your own, personal DVD lesson!)

Then he showed me what he’d learned for his lesson, which was the entire break to “Amazing Grace” from the Gospel DVD—which is not, IMHO, an easy task. I’d also showed him some clever embellishments (which I’m not sure are on the DVD, but they might be!) which he was including with ease. As I was sitting there listening to him play, I was thinking, “He doesn’t sound like a student, he sounds like a real live banjo player!” I can’t tell you how proud I was of him.

We then moved on to “Rawhide,” which was another song that he was going to have to do for his gig. He knew the first part, which is nothing but “Lonesome Road Blues,” so I showed him Rudy Lyle’s way cool bridge, which is basically the same backward roll played across the four chords of the bridge, E, A, D, G. But since “Rawhide” is played in C, we were capoed up five frets and playing out of G, C, and D positions (in other words, thinking in the key of G), so these weirdo chords come out LOOKING like B, E, A, D. Position-wise, I mean. You can see what a mess the whole thing is.

Logan said, “I need to learn about all this stuff.” “Yes, you do,” I said, “but not right now. Right now you just need to learn to play this bridge, so the best thing to do is just to find these positions on the neck and memorize where they are.” (They’re in an easy pattern.)

He did that, and, I swear, within five minutes (maybe less) he was flat-out playing the bridge, and hooking it into the rest of the song. Again: Proud was I!

I told him after the bridge was over, that was the end of his break, but he should be ready to jump into the A part again, just in case the next person faltered or failed to come in. On stage, you’ve gotta be prepared.

We still have one more lesson to get him ready for the gig. He says the guy is singing a lot of Mac Wiseman songs, so I told him to email me the list and we’d work on them. I’ll keep you posted. I’m hoping to get Logan (or maybe Bobby Van) to blog about the gig. I wonder what kind of bribe I’ll have to offer Logan to get him to do that.....I’ll think of something!

Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

Just got the last dish put into the dishwasher after Red’s birthday party this afternoon. It was a picking party, of course. We don’t know how to have any other kind! What do you do at a party if you don’t play music? I played banjo all afternoon and one of my fiddle sisters, Charlotte, said several times that it sure was nice to hear me picking banjo for a change! (I took that as a compliment on my banjo playing and not a reflection on my fiddling!)

Our friend Scott Brannon came over and I had the BEST time singing with him. He also plays a rock-solid guitar which makes it really fun to play banjo. He’s a very genial kind of guy and most often lets me pick the songs for us to sing. So, naturally, I suggest as much Stanley Brothers as I can think of!

We did Riding On That Midnight Train, How Mountain Girls Can Love, If I Lose, and Hey, Hey, Hey. Then since those weren’t morbid enough Bobby Van and I did Sweeter Than The Flowers. Along with the non-Stanley and not quite as pitiful Mary Dear.

Other tunes we did included I’ll Go Drifting With The Tide, Kentucky Girl, I Want To Be Loved But Only By You, Pain In My Heart, Little Girl In Tennessee, I’ll Never Shed Another Tear, and East Virginia Blues, which Red and I did as a duet with Pete Kuykendall (General Manager of Bluegrass Unlimited) adding the baritone part, which he does so well. Instrumentals included Salt Creek, John Hardy, Wildwood Flower, and Foggy Mountain Special.

Logan was in on the picking, too, and he did great. We played some of the tunes--Shucking the Corn, Bluegrass Breakdown, and Old Joe Clark—fast as all get out and he hung right in there. He also took break after break to tunes he’d never heard before. But was he satisfied? No, he was not. He said, “All my breaks sound alike.” I said, “What did I tell you, Logan? You need to start learning to pick out more melody, then your breaks will all sound different.” “But I can’t do that,” he whined. “Yes you can,” I replied. “No, I can’t,” he insisted. “Get the duct tape,” said Bobby.

The only thing that irritated me was that I could NOT get my banjo to stay in tune. In fact, after we played through Shucking the Corn, Scott told me, in the nicest way possible, that I was about half a fret off! HALF A FRET! Luckily, Scott and I have a long-time playing and tuning relationship and I know he hates it when our third strings don’t match perfectly, so I didn’t mind one bit his saying that. And since my ear was apparently not as keen as his was today, he helped me tune it by saying “sharp” or “flat” or “close enough” while I eased the strings up and down. Those wires are deader than a doornail, deader than Scrooge’s partner Marley (to use a timely metaphor) and they will be coming off soon.

David McLaughlin came in later on and he and Scott teamed up to do some duets such as Don’t Cheat In Our Home Town, Talk Of The Town, and several others whose names escape me at present. David is one of my favorite lead guitar players and I could have sat there a long time just listening to him and Scott. Then for some reason David wanted to pick Lamp Lighting Time In The Valley as an instrumental—in D—so we did that. It sounded pretty good!

Then Scott had to leave so we closed out with an excellent rendition of “When The Saints Go Marching In.” I think our version is patterned after Reno and Smiley’s so in one line of the chorus we have echoes after almost every word: Saints (saints), go (go), march (march), ing (ing) in......That is so much fun! I nodded at Logan to take a break and he nodded back with a terrified look “No!” and I said, “Yes, yes, yes!” and he took a fine break.

We still had birthday cake to eat and more food to nibble on, but the picking part was over. Years ago we might have picked till after midnight, but as the poem says:

Mary swallowed a little watch

Now the watch is gone

Mary walks along the street

Time marches on!

Indeed it does!

Happy Birthday, Red!

Murphy Henry

Murphy Henry

Well, we really missed Bobby Vee tonight. No bass. We were baseless. Nevertheless, we—Mark, Ellen, Susan, Logan, and I--tried to carry on as best we could. (Am I laying it on too thick, Bobby?)

Since Bobby wasn’t here, however, Logan felt free to entertain us by sharing the disparaging thoughts he (Logan) used to have about the bass. You see, when Logan was younger, he had some timing problems on the banjo. So, we'd make him sit beside Bobby and the bass, hoping the steady thunk-thunk would help keep him on track. It did not. We know now, from what he said tonight, that he totally didn’t get it, that he thought the bass was a useless instrument since it didn’t play any leads!

Thank goodness Logan grew out of that! He now has excellent taste in bluegrass and tonight made me very happy when, at his lesson, he asked if I’d ever heard of the Vern Williams Band. Yes, indeedy. Logan had heard them on some computer music program (Pandora?) and liked them. I was able to go to my CD shelf and pull out a Vern Williams CD for him to listen to. I was also boastful of the fact that I knew Keith Little, who played banjo on the disc. This did not seem to impress Logan as it should have. Perhaps after he listens to the music....

The program tonight was as follows:

Cripple Creek (unison, then with breaks)

Boil Them Cabbage (unison)

Bury Me Beneath the Willow (Logan playing solo lead)

Bury Me Beneath the Willow (the group playing)

Old Joe Clark

John Hardy

Wagon Wheel

We did “Willow” twice to give Logan a chance to show off his fancy (and fast) version, learned from the Stelling Anthology CD. Logan volunteered that this number was a “break through” for him, because it was the first song he tried to learn—mostly on his own--from a CD. In fact, if memory serves me correctly, when he initially told me he wanted to learn “Willow” off the CD I told him no. I thought it was way too complicated. But when he came into the next lesson with part of it learnt, I had to relent. And he was off and running.

We finished with our theme song, “Wagon Wheel,” singing it with much gusto, and I declared that Old Crow Medicine Show would have certainly gotten Ellen and me up to sing with them if we’d been able to stay till the end of the concert. But, alas, we were too worried about staying awake on the two-hour ride home so we left early to avoid the traffic. Mark said that they were waiting for us to leave so they could safely do the song without us singing! (Ha, ha Mark!) And then we said that one day maybe Logan would be performing on that very stage, and that we would go see him, and that Ellen and I would be down front dancing. And then somebody said that that would embarrass Logan, and I said, yes, that would be the point.

And then we digressed into talking about a recent study that shows that drinking beer (in moderation, of course) helps to prevent osteoporosis. And then we segued into a discussion about whether it was ethical to put a sticker from a security company on your house if you didn’t actually pay for their services. But we decided we needed to save that talk for a time when we were building strong bones. See what all you missed, Bobby? And Bob. That’ll teach you to go on vacation!

Murphy HenryJust back in from playing at a high school graduation party with a couple of the Misfits, Bob Van Metre and Logan Claytor. The party was for Logan’s lovely sister Hannah who is now college bound. Son Chris was kind enough to join us for a set and I must say, with him on the mandolin, we sounded mighty fine! All that practice we’ve been getting at the Wednesday night jam stood us in good stead.

Logan was sounding particularly strong on banjo, probably the best I’ve heard him play. He was playing Dalton Brill’s old RB-250 (possibly an RB-800), as you can see from the picture. (Chris calls that banjo Wildcat #1 after Dalton’s old group the Wildcats.)

Logan Clator

Logan Claytor

Bob Van Metre (also pictured) did himself (and us) proud on the bass, even if I did throw him for a loop by calling for “Salt Creek” in A, when we usually do it in G during the jam.

Bob Van Metre

Bob Van Metre

A partial song list includes most of the songs we normally do on Wednesday nights plus:

I’m On My Way Back To the Old Home
East Virginia Blues
You Go To Your Church And I’ll Go To Mine
Foggy Mountain Special
Salty Dog (Logan’s request)
Hazel Creek (Ditto, as Logan had just learned it. Sorta.)
Down Yonder
Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms
Wildwood Flower

I had to laugh after we did our first tune because, while people had been milling around on the porch and telling us how much they were looking forward to our playing, as soon as we started, they all left and went inside the house. Where the food was! Just one of those weird party things. Eventually they came back, causing Chris to refer to them as the “prodigal crowd.”

After we finished (with a rousing two-banjo version of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown”), Bob and I headed over to Cork Street Tavern for a “sasparilla,” as Marshall Wilborn is wont to refer to golden nectar in long-neck bottles. (And which I just found out is spelled “sarsaparilla,” thanks to Google. Who would have thunk it?) We had a fine time solving all the problems in the world while declaring things were much better in the good ol’ days. As we were getting ready to go, the perfect ending for this Blog landed in my lap, so to speak. A man walked in with one of those T-shirts that said, “Paddle Faster. I hear banjo music!” And there you have it!