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Playing Since: 1964
Experience Level: Purty Good
dbrooks has made 55 recent additions to Banjo Hangout
[Teaching] [Jamming] [Helping]
Occupation: Systems Manager
Vega Longneck (1927 pot and 1967 neck) purchased in 1969 from Thom Haile, Haskell Haile's brother. Tom was a stringed-instrument repair expert at Shackleton's, a Louisville music store landmark.
John C. Haynes Bay State Model 300 A-scale banjo and Bay State Model 318 banjo (both 1890s).
Bart Reiter Regent A-scale (2001)
Laura P. Schulman
Brendan Doyle and Maxine Gerber (on Mark Simos' CDs)
Reel Time Travelers
Highwoods String Band
Flat Mountain Girls
Mississippi John Hurt
Old Crow Medicine Show
more to come
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Visible to: Public
Last Visit 6/18/2013
I grew up in Bardstown, KY, the location of My Old Kentucky Home and the Stephen Foster Story, an outdoor summer musical drama. I was lucky enough to meet Mike Lawrence, the banjo player for "the drama' in 1964 or so, and spent much of that summer with him. He taught me to fingerpick the guitar (Saturday Night Shuffle and Freight Train) and to play a little Bluegrass banjo (Ballad of Jed Clampett and Cripple Creek). We spent many afternoons in front of My Old Kentucky Home where I played guitar back-up to his banjo playing. Thank you, Mike, for those life-long gifts.
Fifteen years later, I returned from college to play the banjo for the Stephen Foster Story. I was even in a black-face minstrel show with E.P. Christy, Mr. Tambo and Mr. Bones in the Stephen Foster Story -- a claim that cannot be made by many.
I played guitar and banjo through high school and college (the Vietnam years) and met some wonderful folks. In graduate school, I started a family and spent less time with the instruments. This finally led to a 15-20 year period where I played maybe 2-3 times a year.
About 4-5 years ago, I got the neck reset and refretted on my Martin 00-17, and my guitar playing was revived. While waiting for the guitar work to be done, I picked up my Vega and clearly heard it ask me to play it clawhammer style. I found a Ken Perlman book I had bought years ago for this very day, and the journey began. I slowly learned the clawhammer technique and began to pick up tunes.
In 2004, I had a hallway conversation with Dan Levenson at the IBMA meeting in Louisville that led to two summer workshops with him and some degree of reengineering of my clawhammer technique. I derive daily satisfaction from my playing and from the learning I still experience and enjoy.