Posted by jrjenks on Monday, December 7, 2009
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 11/29/2009 through 12/05/2009.
I've had a busy week with several banjo-related events.
I saw the Dime Store String Band play at Uncommon Ground on Devon. My instructor, David, is usually the banjo player but he was out of town for this performance so DSSB founding banjo player Wavy Dave Burlingame filled in. The String Band is there every Sunday from 4pm to 6pm.
I joined the first-Tuesday-of-the-month jam at the Red Line Tap.
I followed up the jam with a late banjo lesson in which David and I discussed my newest project: Endings Month ("A study of finger-picking endings for the 5-string banjo"). I'll be sharing the bits of wisdom from that lesson throughout the month.
Thursday night I went to the open jam at The Old Town School of Folk Music, which happens every Thursday from 7pm to 10pm.
I returned to The Old Town School of Folk Music the next day for I went to First Friday. You get a great evening for your $5. First Friday has a community song, dancing, several different jams and a concert. There's always more things to do than I can get to. This time I focussed on jamming.
I started with Jason McInnes' Gather-All. This is an all-ages jam that draws a lot of kids and a handful of adults. These songs are always slow and easy so I used this as an opportunity to practice my backup licks and chord inversions. This particular Gather-All marked the one-year anniversary of Jason's Gather-All, which is something that Old Town School Founder Win Stracke started years ago and which Jason restarted in 2008.
Then I hit the Song Circle with Cathy Norden, which is a more adult-focused jam. I was the only banjo in the circle so Cathy called on me a lot. It's good to get thrown into a solo. I did better than I thought I would.
After the Song Circle I went to one of the trickier jams: Skip's Back Porch Jam. Skip Landy calls this an all-ages jam, but it favors the better players. I'm able to keep up with this jam and I look forward to the day when I can really stand out.
This month the ensemble classes performed on the main stage. Pictured above is the Old Crow Medicine Show Ensemble, taught by jug band enthusiast Jonas Friddle, who played Tear It Down and Down Home Girl.
The night wrapped up with a concert. Opening act Temple Schultz performed a few of her own songs, then Strictly Jug Nuts took the stage. The Jug Nuts, you'll recall, where the winners of Chicago's Second Annual Battle of the Jug Bands, beating out my band and four others. They performed:
I ended the week by attending Flatts & Sharpe's winter recital. I got my first banjo lessons at Flatts & Sharpe and have played at a couple of these recitals.
Also in the last week:
I watched my DVD of The Hee Haw Collection, vol 2 with guest stars Johnny Cash and Jean Shepard. I'll have more to say about Hee Haw in my endings month posts.
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