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Harry Smith Frolic 2009

Posted by clawhammertim on Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Went the the Harry Smith Frolic in Greenfield, Mass. this past weekend. Had more fun than should be legal.  Experienced an entire range of musical stuff.  Played with really great musicians who knew how to listen and respond- creating a real music conversation.  On the other end of the scale encountered some giant ego-driven nonsense.  One of the highlights was playing in a small group with one fiddle and two other banjos.  Normally this would seem like a skunk had wandered into a garden party- but when the other two banjo players turned out to be Don Borchelt and  Ed Britt it became a religious music experience.  If you haven't listened to the really great recordings of these two great players I'd highly recommend spending some time on either one of their music pages here on Banjo Hangout.   Don plays in 3-finger style on custom made banjo where the first five frets are replaced with a brass plate allowing for super clean, expressive slides.  Ed plays on an Ome openback that he probably designed and plays clammer-style.  It was really great listening to how these two worked together.  They were also very generous in letting me play and then finding a voicing or pattern that would allow all three banjos to work together in a musical way.  During this session we only played five or ten tunes, but just a few of those moments made the whole night worthwhile and memorable.

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