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 Playing Advice: Clawhammer and Old-Time Styles
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: TOTW 2/1/13 - Newt Payne's Tune


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/255172

EggerRidgeBoy - Posted - 02/01/2013:  16:06:33



Today's Tune of the Week is Newt Payne's Tune, which comes to us from, not surprisingly, Tennessee fiddler Newt Payne. The most zealous TOTW enthusiasts among you here on the Hangout - those of you who collect TOTW Trading Cards and attend TOTW Conventions dressed as your favorite tune title - might recognize that Newt Payne's Tune was, very briefly, a Tune of the Week almost exactly a year ago, on February 3, 2012.  J-Walk, the coordinator at the time, asked for an emergency TOTW post due to the unexpected inability of that week's volunteer to post a tune, and I submitted Newt Payne's Tune at almost exactly the same time that MtnGoat posted Jenny Get Around.  The latter tune quickly engendered a good deal more discussion than my choice and after a couple of hours I deleted my thread so that we could concentrate on one tune that week.  But I've enjoyed learning and playing Newt Payne's Tune during the ensuing year, and since I had this regularly scheduled turn coming up on February 1, it seemed an opportune time to give it another go as the Tune of the Week.



 



I first came across the tune when, while browsing through YouTube looking for banjo/fiddle duets, I came across this video of Adam Hurt and Stephanie Coleman playing it at the 2010 Sore Fingers Festival in the UK: youtube.com/watch?v=sOD8f3BiL_U



I immediately added it to my "to learn" list, and began researching both the tune and Newt himself.



Newt Payne was born in 1904 on South Pittsburg Mountain, just north of the town of South Pittsburg, Tennessee.  He spent much of his adult life working as a miner in the nearby town of Orme, Tennessee, and died in 1977.  A glance at the map shows that South Pittsburg and Orme are just a few miles from the spot where Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama meet, and Newt is indeed sometimes referred to as a "Georgia fiddler".  He came from a musical family and played fiddle and banjo throughout his life but never recorded commercially, nor did he become well-known outside his local community.  That we know of his music today is due primarily to the efforts of another Tennessee fiddler, Bob Townsend, to preserve and pass on the fiddle tunes of his home region, the South Cumberland Plateau.  In 2003 Bob released a CD entitled "Old Time Fiddlin' Tunes From the South Cumberland", which included Newt Payne's Tune as one of its 22 tracks.  In an email to me, Bob wrote that he "grew up with several of Newt's grandchildren, nieces and nephews. We played football in his yard. He played fiddle and rapped (clawhammer) banjo. I have a few home recordings which a son and grandson gave me with Newt on fiddle and Mose Cantrell from Alabama on banjo, rapping and some up picking two finger style mixed in. These recordings are the only source of Newt Payne's tune(s) that I know of."



Bob learned the tune from those recordings, and it is he that gave the piece its name.  As he explains "The name Newt Payne's Tune is what I called it because it needed a name; most of the other tunes on the recordings I recognized. I talked with some family members and some musicians he played with but nobody knew the name. One of the musicians, Glen Payne (no relation by the way) said 'It was a tune he (Newt) played at dances, something he learned from some of his people.'  So my conclusion is it was an old family tune but not something they would have called Newt Payne's Tune."



All of the more recent versions of the tune come from that 2003 "South Cumberland" CD, or directly from Bob himself.  For instance, Bob introduced it to Rhys Jones, who taught it to Stephanie Coleman, who brought it to her collaboration with Adam Hurt.  It seems to have gained a bit in popularity just since I first submitted it as a TOTW in 2012 - several of the videos I found this week had not yet been posted online when I researched the tune last year.



Here are some of those videos:



 



A banjo/fiddle duet from the 2010 Rockbridge Festival, featuring John Herrmann on banjo and the aforementioned Rhys Jones on fiddle: youtube.com/watch?v=in3ZLaHX80k



John and Rhys are members of the band Bigfoot, along with Cleek Shrey (fiddle), Susie Goehring (guitar), and Meredith McIntosh (bass). They included Newt Payne's Tune on their first CD, "I've Got a Bulldog", released last year: youtube.com/watch?v=zQhwnrI1YCA .



 



The tune was evidently featured at the 2012 Portland Stringband Class, where it was taught by Maggie Lind (banjo), Sophie Vitells (fiddle), and Patrick Lind (guitar).  Three videos from those classes are available online:



youtube.com/watch?v=ykpEohdba0Q  (solo fiddle)



youtube.com/watch?v=DjLHhU1vAwY (solo banjo)



youtube.com/watch?v=GqigPUImc3k (banjo, fiddle, guitar)



 



Colorado-based fiddler Katie Davis Henderson learned and posted Newt Payne's Tune as part of her 'New Tune a Day' project: youtube.com/watch?v=azM8ZMbR2dk



 



And for those of you who want to hear the tune in its "natural environment", here it is played by the South City Serenaders at a square dance in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, complete with calls: youtube.com/watch?v=czfV8m7q3k8



 



There is one MP3 of the tune on the FiddleHangout, posted by David Allen: hangoutstorage.com/jukebox.asp...ID%3D8356



 



Banjo tablature for Newt Payne's Tune by Maya Whitmont is available on the Mossy Oaks site: stringband.mossyroof.com/Newt_..._Tune.png



 



I can't end this TOTW write-up without thanking Bob Townsend, both for responding to my email asking for biographical information on Newt, and, more importantly, for recording and releasing his "South Cumberland" project.  I greatly appreciate all those who take the time to learn and preserve the music of their own local community, and then make the effort to share it with the wider old-time world.  Just reading the track list of Bob's CD evokes the rich musical heritage he grew up with and the older generation of musicians who helped to create it - "Bryson Higgins' Tune", "Oscar's Piece #11", "John Cooper's Tune", and so on.  That is a heritage that might well have been lost without Bob's efforts, since, unlike the more well-trodden musical terrain in the mountains of North Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, etc., the corner of southern Tennessee that produced Newt Payne and his fellow musicians has not been extensively documented.  So, thanks Bob!




 


 




 

 







Edited by - EggerRidgeBoy on 02/01/2013 16:12:21

janolov - Posted - 02/02/2013:  07:11:42



I remember the tune since last year. I started to play it and then everything ran out. I am glad the tune is back.


aeroweenie - Posted - 02/02/2013:  10:04:01



I remember last year's thread too, glad to see it back as TOTW.   ERBoy, nice write up and fantastic links - these will make the tune pretty easy to learn.  This is a very catchy tune, I really like it and started to work on it last year but then forgot about it.  I don't know if its actually crooked, but the 1st part definitely has some unexpected phrasing, if thats the right term, at least to my ears.  I'll work on it today.


camcumberland - Posted - 02/03/2013:  09:17:45


Here's my attempt at this tune, I stayed pretty true to the tab provided, although I spiced it it up with a few of my own mistakes and bum notes! Turned out ok though.


Edited by - camcumberland on 02/03/2013 09:19:00



VIDEO: Newt Payne's Tune
(click to view)

   

fiddlemike - Posted - 02/03/2013:  12:42:07



Is it possible to also post tabs for TOTW? I like to have tab to follow along with the videos.



 



EDIT: I saw the tab provided. Old eyes!



Edited by - fiddlemike on 02/03/2013 12:44:59

mojo_monk - Posted - 02/03/2013:  13:17:56



quote:


Originally posted by camcumberland




Here's my attempt at this tune, I stayed pretty true to the tab provided, although I spiced it it up with a few of my own mistakes and bum notes! Turned out ok though.






Well played, Cam. Thanks for sharing big



 



-Sean


camcumberland - Posted - 02/03/2013:  13:23:12


Thanks Sean.

Mtngoat - Posted - 02/03/2013:  14:22:10



I'm really into the music of the Cumberland Plateau and Townsend's South Cumberland CD has been a favorite for years.  As you point out more field work needs to be done in that area.  I'm sure there are many home recordings just waiting to be discovered in the region stretching from south central Kentucky to north eastern Alabama.  I might point out that "Old Chattanooga" from two weeks ago comes from  that region too. 



Great pick!  


aeroweenie - Posted - 02/03/2013:  17:43:23



Good job camcum.   Here is my take on the tune, needs some work but it is a fun tune to play.




Newt Payne's Tune

   

EggerRidgeBoy - Posted - 02/03/2013:  18:47:08



quote:


Originally posted by janolov




I remember the tune since last year. I started to play it and then everything ran out. I am glad the tune is back.






 I didn't actually think anybody would remember its three-hour stint as the TOTW last year. I'm glad you are enjoying the tune!


EggerRidgeBoy - Posted - 02/03/2013:  18:54:14



quote:


Originally posted by aeroweenie




I remember last year's thread too, glad to see it back as TOTW.   ERBoy, nice write up and fantastic links - these will make the tune pretty easy to learn.  This is a very catchy tune, I really like it and started to work on it last year but then forgot about it.  I don't know if its actually crooked, but the 1st part definitely has some unexpected phrasing, if thats the right term, at least to my ears.  I'll work on it today.






Glad you like the tune.  I was happy to come across those slow versions from the Portland class; they are a big help to people (like me) who are not too skilled at picking things up by ear.  It is not too often somebody conveniently posts such videos for a tune I am writing up!   



I found it to be a very catchy tune as well, which I guess is why I wanted to learn it and do it as a TOTW.  Any time I find myself humming a tune after one or two listens online, I figure it is a good tune to add to my repertoire.


EggerRidgeBoy - Posted - 02/03/2013:  18:56:37



quote:


Originally posted by camcumberland




Here's my attempt at this tune, I stayed pretty true to the tab provided, although I spiced it it up with a few of my own mistakes and bum notes! Turned out ok though.






Thanks Cam - I enjoyed that.  And the more versions the better, especially with a relatively unknown tune like this one.



Edited by - EggerRidgeBoy on 02/03/2013 18:59:33

EggerRidgeBoy - Posted - 02/03/2013:  19:09:18



quote:


Originally posted by Mtngoat




I'm really into the music of the Cumberland Plateau and Townsend's South Cumberland CD has been a favorite for years.  As you point out more field work needs to be done in that area.  I'm sure there are many home recordings just waiting to be discovered in the region stretching from south central Kentucky to north eastern Alabama.  I might point out that "Old Chattanooga" from two weeks ago comes from  that region too. 



Great pick!  






Thanks Mtngoat - glad you like the tune.



I did indeed note two weeks ago that Old Chattanooga, your recent TOTW, was from the same relatively unexplored region as the tune I was working on at the time.  I actually meant to make reference to that there at the end of my Newt Payne write-up, but forgot to do so.



I hope there are lots of South Cumberland home recordings out there that will surface some day, just as I hope there are some from central and  southern Ohio, my home territory.  Actually, I have a lot of family just south of Nashville, and some in Chattanooga as well, so I was happy to come across Bob's South Cumberland CD and learn some tunes from that area.


EggerRidgeBoy - Posted - 02/03/2013:  19:10:06



quote:


Originally posted by aeroweenie




Good job camcum.   Here is my take on the tune, needs some work but it is a fun tune to play.






Thanks Paul - nice job.  Glad you find it fun to play.


YorkshireWannabeOldTimer - Posted - 02/04/2013:  01:56:24



Great TOTW choice. I've long loved that Herrman/Jones version on Youtube, in particular, but there's a host of excellent takes on the tune in the original post. Really like the versions posted by Cam and Aero too. I've had a go as well:



 



Dominic




Newt Payne's Tune

   

EggerRidgeBoy - Posted - 02/04/2013:  19:33:33



quote:


Originally posted by YorkshireWannabeOldTimer




Great TOTW choice. I've long loved that Herrman/Jones version on Youtube, in particular, but there's a host of excellent takes on the tune in the original post. Really like the versions posted by Cam and Aero too. I've had a go as well:



 



Dominic






Thanks for adding your take on the tune, Dominic.


whyteman - Posted - 02/04/2013:  21:13:07


Thank you for the Rhys Jones links. One of the outstanding fiddlers of his generation. Great tune.

EggerRidgeBoy - Posted - 02/06/2013:  15:00:07



quote:


Originally posted by whyteman




Thank you for the Rhys Jones links. One of the outstanding fiddlers of his generation. Great tune.






Glad you enjoyed it.  I wasn't really familiar with Rhys until last year at Clifftop, when I spent a good bit of time watching the Bigfoot CD release "show".  As is so often the case, once I discover someone, I start finding them everywhere.  A few weeks ago I bought a bunch of CDs from my banjo teacher, one of which was "All I've Got's Done Gone", by Rhys Jones, Jeff Miller, and Jim Miller.  It's a great recording.


whyteman - Posted - 02/08/2013:  22:08:16


I was listening to "Done Gone" today. I've learned many tunes off of that recording. I saw Rhys perform with his exwife, Christine Wheeler a few years back. They were joined by Jim Nelson on guitar, and Rhys played some fine banjo as well.

JanetB - Posted - 02/09/2013:  17:35:19



Here's one more for the dance floor!  I sure enjoyed seeing Bigfoot play this at a casual workshop this summer.  John Herrmann is a favorite picker of mine and hearing Rhys Jones is an experience not forgotten.



youtube.com/watch?v=HoJ4QDsOHw...=youtu.be


EggerRidgeBoy - Posted - 02/09/2013:  18:17:41



quote:


Originally posted by whyteman




I was listening to "Done Gone" today. I've learned many tunes off of that recording. I saw Rhys perform with his exwife, Christine Wheeler a few years back. They were joined by Jim Nelson on guitar, and Rhys played some fine banjo as well.






That is something I would like to hear and see - Rhys playing the banjo.



(And I see now that I mistakenly typed "Jim Miller" in my above post, when I meant "Jim Nelson". )


EggerRidgeBoy - Posted - 02/09/2013:  18:19:37



quote:


Originally posted by JanetB




Here's one more for the dance floor!  I sure enjoyed seeing Bigfoot play this at a casual workshop this summer.  John Herrmann is a favorite picker of mine and hearing Rhys Jones is an experience not forgotten.



youtube.com/watch?v=HoJ4QDsOHw...=youtu.be






Thanks for posting, Janet - it's neat to hear the tune on that gourd banjo.



 


Mtngoat - Posted - 02/09/2013:  18:46:50



Janet, that's great!  I put the tune on my "to learn" list when it was posted on Friday but I hadn't gotten around to actually trying it..  After watching your post twice I had a reasonable rendition in hand.  Thanks. 


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