Tag Archives: michael martin murphey

Casey HenryI'm fresh back from my trip to Lexington, KY, to play on the Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour with Michael Martin Murphey. A mere hop, skip, and a jump from Nashville, the three-hour drive was made less fun by rain, sleet, and snow in a slow but constant pace. Troy Engle (fiddle) and I rode up with Pat Flynn (guitar) while Mike Bub (bass), Ryan Murphey (guitar), and MMM each drove up separately. The show is in the Kentucky Theater in downtown Lexington. I'd played it once before in August of 2002 with Uncle Earl, but we, apparently were in the larger of the two theaters in the building, so nothing looked familiar. I took my camera, meaning to get some pictures, but did I remember to? No.

The show is very laid-back in feel, but sticks to a rigid format. The host Michael Jonathon does the opening song, then the first guest (MMM) does two songs, separated by a short interview, then the second guest (Tom Rush) does two songs, again separated by an interview. The second half repeats this order, minus the host's song.  We played "Lone Cowboy," "Carolina in the Pines," "What Am I Doing Hanging Around," and "Fiddlin Man." Mike Bub had never played with MMM before, and had just made chord charts for all the songs on the CD the night before. Despite the fact that we didn't even run through all the songs before the show, he nailed everything like a true pro.

I'd never heard of Tom Rush, but I really liked his songs. Especially one called "The Remember Song," which is really big on YouTube. They fed us a nice meal before the show, and afterwards Troy, Pat, Michael, his road manager Charles, and I went out for a drink with Michael Jonathon. The show put us up at a nice bed and breakfast and we drove home this morning, incredibly, after seeing it snow! In April!

Woodsongs is syndicated to nearly 500 radio stations, a good many PBS TV stations, and it is even shown on a big movie screen once a month in New York City. The show is archived here, so you can go listen to it or watch it any time!

Murphy HenryI was there. In the audience. At the Grand Ole Opry. Cheering wildly. Because my daughter was playing banjo on stage. With Michael Martin Murphey. What a thrill!

Casey Henry on the Grand Ole OpryCasey looked poised and wonderful, attired in a new wine-colored top with black pants and white Doc Marten boots with pink flowers, and she played as if she’d been born with a banjo in her hands. The group did two songs on the first Opry show, “Lone Cowboy” and “Carolina in the Pines,” and two on the second, “What Am I Doing Hanging Around?” and “Fiddlin’ Man,” and Casey was accorded long banjo breaks on each number. Breaks which she nailed to the wall with her fancy Kel Kroyden banjo.

After her first break I applauded and yelled frenetically as did the guy sitting next to me. When the song was over he turned to me and said proudly, “I take banjo lessons from her.” And I said, even more proudly, “I’m her mother!”

Perched next to me on the other side was my oldest friend in the whole wide world Sharon Ramsey. Casey’s father and brother, Red and Chris, were booked at a festival in Florida that day and couldn’t make Casey’s show so I called up Sharon and said casually, “Wanna go to the Grand Old Opry Saturday night to hear Casey play?” Her answer? A resounding (and extremely satisfying), “YES!” Sharon and I grew up in the same neighborhood in Clarkesville, Georgia, and went through high school together. We were a little like Mutt and Jeff. And still are. She is tall and blonde, I am short and dark haired. (It is still mostly dark!) She was almost as excited about Casey’s Opry appearance as I was. In fact, when we made the obligatory pass through the gift shop before the show she bought Casey a coffee mug with a picture of the Opry house on it and the name “Casey” emblazoned across the top.

Casey Henry, Jake and Michael Martin MurpheyWe couldn’t stay for the second show as we had to hit the road back to Chattanooga, where Sharon lives on top of Lookout Mountain and where I was spending the night. By 12:15 a.m., after picking up my car in the Wal-Mart parking lot, we had just about reached Sharon’s house. We were both listening to the Opry on the radio and Michael Martin Murphey had just taken the stage. Sharon was leading the way and without any prompting from me she pulled over in the empty parking lot of a school. I came up alongside of her and rolled my glass down. Through her own open window she said, “I was afraid we’d lose the signal by the time we got to the house.” So we sat there, side-by-side in our cars, and listened to Casey play. And twice we heard these melifulous words coming over the airwaves. Coming from the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. Coming out of the mouth of Michael Martin Murphey. “Folks, that’s Casey Henry on the banjo!” And sitting there on top of Lookout Mountain were two old friends, grinning from ear to ear.

Casey HenryI have to blog fast, as here in Nashville we're in the middle of a long line of big thunderstorms, lots of lightning, and I'm taking advantage of a short lull to write and post this. Don't want my computer to get zapped! So, it appears that the Opry this Saturday night will NOT be broadcast live on GAC television network. They're showing some Keith Urban special concert thing instead. Pshaw! Who wants to watch him instead of old country stars anyway? I'm assuming they will tape it for broadcast at a later date, but that's only speculation on my part. I'll let you know if we find out anything about when it will air. Of course, you can always listen to it on the radio (WSM 650AM) or online. I'll be on the 8:00 and 11:00 spots (that's 9:00 and 12:00 eastern time) playing banjo with Michael Martin Murphey. I should have some pictures to post after the fact and I'll Twitter about it as I go along.

I think I forgot to mention this in my post Wednesday, wait let me check. Yep. I forgot. We're playing on the Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour on Monday, April 6th. You can catch it on your local NPR station if they have it, or you can watch it streaming online. It starts at 6:55 p.m. eastern time.

Quite a music-filled few days!

Casey HenryYes, that's right, folks. You read that headline right. I get to play on the Grand Ole Opry, for the first time ever, this Saturday, April 4th. I'll be playing banjo with Michael Martin Murphey. We're doing two spots, one on each show. We're definitely playing on the televised spot, which is 8:00 central/9:00 eastern. The second show we're on at 11:00 central/12:00 a.m. eastern. The full lineup and schedule is posted on opry.com. We're also playing on the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree after the Opry.

You can tune it all in on WSM 650AM or listen online at opry.com. The TV portion comes on the GAC network.

I'll be playing my Casey Henry model Kel Kroydon banjo. (I mention this because I've already been asked once and I know all you banjo-y people want to know.)

We'll be doing songs from his new CD Buckaroo Blue Grass, two songs on each spot, and both the songs, incidentally, do have banjo breaks in them.

I hope you can tune in!

Casey Henry...and listen to the music in the air. So goes the classic John Hartford song. This weekend, Saturday night to be specific, if you turn your radio on to 650 AM (or log onto wsmonline.com) at midnight Eastern Time, you can hear myself (Casey) playing banjo on the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree with Michael Martin Murphey. The show is an hour long, and I don't know how much of that time we'll spend playing, because there is a lot of advertising that goes on--maybe five or six songs throughout the hour. But it will be nice to know there are some friendly ears out there listening! [And I do realize the show is technically on Sunday morning as it is after midnight...but not here in Nashville!!]