Happy February! Only 24 more days till Ralph Stanley’s birthday!
Today, I’m gonna let Martha C. toot the improvising horn again:
I cannot emphasize how thankful I am that I had you to get me started on the banjo. I was a really hopeless case until I started using your teaching methods. I simply could not get away from my classical and traditional music background of reading notes. As I type this email, I am looking at a poster which I bought when I went to the Maryland Banjo Academy in Buckeystown, Maryland in 2000. You and Casey were both there. What I remember most about that experience was that the improvising skills that I had learned from your tape finally clicked. One day, you asked me to try to play a song that I had not played before, using the techniques that you had taught on the improvising tape. I was shocked and thrilled beyond words that I could do it!!! This was real eureka moment for me because I realized that the whole world of improvising was now open to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
You’re welcome, you’re welcome, you’re welcome!
PS: Just back from a trip into the Cit-tay (Washington, D.C.) with Robyn and Logan to see a one-man play about the Catholic monk Thomas Merton. Bluegrass connection: We listened to Reno and Smiley CDs all the way down. Well, Logan and I listened. Robyn tolerated. She’s not quite there yet. The Gusto label has just reissued the 4-CD set of all the Reno and Smiley King Label stuff (with Gary Reid’s fine liner notes) and it is wonderful! I can’t tell you how much fun it is to have Logan into Reno and Smiley! And I only wish that I had studied more Reno so I could show him some stuff. Oh, Casey........