A check-in on the Banjo versus TV project — J.R.'s ongoing plan to spend more time on his banjo than on TV. This post covers 11/15/2009 through 11/21/2009.
It didn't all go exactly like this...
...but I had a pretty musical week while attending G2E at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
When planning my trip I'd searched the web for a jam and found Mrs. Hyatt's Legendary Old-Time and Bluegrass Jam, Tuesday nights at the Lorna J. Kesterson Valley View Recreation Center in Henderson NV. It was about an hour away from the Las Vegas strip by bus. (I got a lot of use out of my three-day bus and monorail passes.)
The jamming was wonderful. There were about 20 people in a traditional song circle playing guitars (~9), fiddles (2), banjos (~5), mandolin, spoons, harmonica and Dobro for two hours.
That night's set list (or about 80% of it; I missed writing down a few) was:
Cry Baby Cry in G
Maryanne in A
One Day at a Time in D
Eagle's Already Gone
She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain in G
Viva Las Vegas in G
This Old House in G
Will the Circle Be Unbroken in G
Rocky Top in G
Take Me in a Lifeboat
Where the Soul of Man Never Dies
No Place Like Home in D
Kentucky Waltz in G
I Don't Want Her in G
Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
Folsom Prison Blues in E
Go Tell It on the Mountain in G
Good Old Mountain Dew in G
Let It Be Lord
Hey Good Lookin' in G
Goodnight, Irene in G
Who's Gonna Miss Me
Viva Las Vegas and Good Old Mountain Dew were mine. My Viva Las Vegas was a little weak, but it was my jamming debut for the song. I got big praise for my Good Old Mountain Dew. I sang an opening verse and a closing verse and called out people to sing the all the one's in between. Passing the singing duties around worked well for the song and gave it a lot of energy. One of the banjo players (who sang the "Roosevelt" verse) said he thought it was the best Good Old Mountain Dew that the group had done.
If you're ever in the neighborhood of Henderson, NV on a Tuesday night, look this group up!
Other places I played my banjo:
I played the Hyatt! Okay, I practiced in my room at the Hyatt.
I played the Rio! Okay, I practiced in the parking lot of the Rio for about an hour while waiting for the Penn & Teller show. As it turns out, I should have gone into the theater instead of waiting outside. For about an hour before the show begins there's a piano concert and they give audience members a chance to go onstage and check out some props.
I played (a little) at the Las Vegas McKarran International Airport in front of the magic money sign.
I decided to travel with my second-best banjo and followed the please-don't-bag-check-my-banjo-it's-only-got-this-gig-bag-to-protect-it philosophy of air travel. I think I prefer this to the bring-the-banjo-in-my-hard-case-because-it-might-get-bag-checked approach. It's certainly easier to walk and bus around town with the gig bag.