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Gourd Banjos, and our culture

Posted by John Herrington on Friday, February 13, 2009

Now, how's that for an officious title? I rather doubt that this will be an earth shaking disertation. I confess that no monumental discoveries have been made to link that style of banjo to the ancient Cave Man cultures or whatever, but I just wanted to say a couple of things about these things.

One thing is I like them. There is a link in my heart to simple things, perhaps taking me back to Trimmer's Creek in the Hill Country of central Texas and a barefoot boy having to pick the "stickers" out of those same bare feet that carried him to the far reaches of our little ranch. Times were hard, but they were simple. My world was a small one, but there was much to explore in that ol' creek bottom. I don't think I ever found all the marvels there. Didn't have enough time.

I wish I would have possessed one of these marvelous instruments when I was that boy...it would have fit into my life well, simple with a touch of mystery about it. I might have truly learned to play the banjo if one of those old primative gourds with a stick run through it had been my companion.

And here, 65 years later, I have the joy of building these things, for my pleasure. The old adage, "Too soon old, too late smart" perhaps describes me. This barefoot boy from the hill country of central Texas, has sunk most of his life in the magnificent country of the Rockies on the great steppes of Wyoming, preaching the gospel, and building long rifles and gourd banjos. Still, the simple life!

By the way I'm opening the gourd for my sixth banjo this afternoon. Who is it for? We shall see...

Old John on the Big Horn



1 comment on “Gourd Banjos, and our culture”

mgoers Says:
Thursday, February 19, 2009 @6:17:54 AM

Nice blog!  I would like to have a gourd banjo at some point myself.  I played one owned by Scott Ainsle that was very cool.  They just seem to have a unique soulful character that reaches something primal.

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