Me and a friend of mine did Folsom and Ring of Fire at our first gig in 1968 at the Grange Hall about a mile from here. These are good songs to know,Catfisher.My dad taught me a lot of Country songs and I love 'em. For a nice slow one,learn "I Overlooked an Orchid". Your lucky to have that barber...learn all you can from him.
This is what I love about a lot of old country songs, there wasn't banjo in them. But the sound of the banjo fits them beautifully. Leaving the door wide open for you to imagine in your mind what would sound good, and then find it with your hands.
I just heard a Clyde Moody album, "A Country Tribute To Fred Rose", and it had banjo on it. Older style country, with drums, fiddle, steel guitar, electric guitar, etc. Unfortunately the banjo was barely noticeable, and only played backup.
Earl Scruggs did a version of Ring of Fire on the album "I Saw the Light With a Little Help From My Friends," and again on "Earl Scruggs and Friends." And of course, Flatt and Scruggs did Cash's "I Still Miss Someone." I'm pretty sure all those are available on iTunes.
Click on the links above.... do you like this type of picking?
Ive read a few of your post and am trying to help you and since you asked for names of people to listen to.....
I will tell you my favorite banjo player...Earl Scruggs (the man in the second video.. the black and white one.). He is really good to listen to if you like finger picking style banjo like you hear on the Beverly Hillbillies show and in the videos above.
The man playing banjo on the song in the first video is named Dana Cupp. The actual song they are playing was wrote by Earl Scruggs though. Dana is a good banjo player who plays for Bobby Osborne and The Rocky Top Xpress.
Other good 3 finger picking banjo players to listen to..
Ralph Stanley Jim Mills (he plays with Ricky Skaggs band.) Terry Baucom Sonny Osborne Bill Emerson
look up some of these names on you tube and you should find some picking by them.
Other players that play Clawhammer style banjo (where you brush the strings downwards instead of finger picking) are....
Leroy Troy ( I really like to hear Leroy play) Uncle Dave Macon Mark Johnson Mary Cox
type in these names on youtube and you should find some videos to watch of their picking also.
There most definatley is all kinds of ways to play country music like Johnny Cash played, on a banjo.
If your barber is going to help you get started then listen to him carefully, and try to learn what he shows you.
And you always have here where you can ask questions.
How does your barber play the banjo? Just describe what he is doing... is he strumming/brushing? or picking with 3 fingers? This will let us know what picking style he is playing in... and will help us to help you out with your questions.
Justin, it's definitely alright to play a little johnny Cash stuff. Shoot, man, like Dean indicated, that just begs for a banjo, especially the train songs. You can get that thing a rolling, ringing the bell by plucking the fifth string pretty often (in rhythmn of course) and bring that ol' engine on down the track.
Don't be afraid to plunge in and learn the chords and the time and then just get with it. You can learn the right ways to play with the help of the Hangout men and good books, and listening to others play...on cd's, or personally. It'll come, if you're hungry to learn, it'll come.
Justin, let me tell you a little story that addresses your question, perhaps. Can a banjopicker play Johnny Cash music?? Friday, May 08, 2009 @2:12:58 PM "Do that again!" My guitar picking friend exclaimed these words with a look of wonder in his eyes..."I like it!" We had been playing each Tuesday for several weeks. "Together" would be a rather loose word applied to our joint efforts. We really hadn't clicked but felt sort of bound together for no one else was interested in playing with either one of us. My friend, Tom, was thoroughly wrapped up with the music of the late great Johnny Cash. He knew every song ol' John ever played...by heart. He would sing with a deep gravelly voice similar to J. C.'s after a night after, and then he would pause for a moment for one of those grand bass runs of Luther Perkins. Time meant nothing to Tom, just get that guitar run in. Like me he didn't know music, just the songs of John Cash, and these he "rearranged" with his attempts to work in the runs of ol' Luther. I don't suppose I have to tell you that a pretty new banjo picker, though thoroughly familar with Cash music, was left in the woods with the vagrancies of Tom's timing, or left out on the limb while he piddled with the familiar runs. Then one day we clicked. Tom broke out with the "I hear a train a coming..." line of "Folsom Prison Blues" when he noticed the train sounds of my banjo. He didn't know it but I had been working on "special effects" with my Gold Tone. I had the galluping sounds of that old steamer. One could picture it and hear the movements of the connecting rods and the clanging of its bell, as I slapped that 5th string with my trusty thumb while doing an assortment of pull offs and hammer ons in and around the 2nd fret. When we wrapped the thing up, Tom had a new admiration in his eye. "Let's do that again, John," he said. Well after an evening of "The Wreck of the ol' Ninety Seven" and "Wabash Cannon Ball," we were clicking together. Can a banjo picker play that ol' Johnny Cash music? Probably not...unless he throws out some of the nonsense he has been taught and learns them train songs. And don't forget the 5th string, men...whang it a lot...in time of course!