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Goal for the New Year.

Posted by iceburg on Sunday, January 2, 2011

One of my 2011New Year's Resolutions is to play my banjo in public at least 2-3 times this year.

I'm only a novice still and really only learning clawhammer since November when I went to the John C. Campbell Folk School for a class. But the class gave me a lot of confidence on the banjo and I am really enjoying playing clawhammer (and melodic).

I run a Logging History museum and present a large amoount of programs. One of the things that interests me in Michigan's lumber history is the music, stories and other folklore of the camps. Playing clawhammer enables me to play (and maybe sing) some of the logging songs like the shantyboys (lumberjacks) did. I am searching for some of thew likely songs that they may have played. Both logging specific and period correct popular songs. For many of our visitors (especially children), music is a great way to teach this history in an informal setting. I think that once I get 5 or 6 good songs together, I will present a coupole of programs this year.

Another thing I'd like to do is to bring my banjo to the local coffeehouse's monthly open mic night. This will likely happen sooner as I can stick with the songs I already know and not need to be so period specific. 

So, I never thought that I would be a performing musician, but why not start at age 41!

3 comments on “Goal for the New Year.”

Jane C Says:
Monday, January 3, 2011 @4:52:51 AM

Why not indeed!

banjowannabe Says:
Saturday, January 29, 2011 @5:01:24 AM

Where is the museum? My great grandfather was a fiddle player/lumberjack/engineer/ and whatever they used to call the guy who would walk the lots and estimate the lumber in them. He was responsible for harvesting the last unprotected stand of virgin white pine, and also had testimony submitted on the Pine River case that helped form the public commerce river laws in the US. Unfortunately no one else in the family ever played anything, so none of the songs got passed down. There is a national archive of songs somewhere on line. Not sure if it included any of the logging songs.

iceburg Says:
Sunday, March 6, 2011 @6:15:50 PM

Hey Banjowannabe. I've not been on the Hangout for sometime, so just now replying. The museum is the Hartwick Pines Logging Museum at Hartwick Pines State Park just northeast of Grayling, MI in the northern Lower Peninsula. The park contains the largest stand of old growth white pine in the Lower Peninsula.

The job of your great grandfather was that of a timber cruiser, who indeed did go out and estimate the boardfeet in the standing timber, to see if it was worthwhile to cut.

There are a few collections of logging songs around. John and Alan Lomax collected some in their various folk song serches in the 1920s and 30s. Earl Beck of Central Michigan University collected quite a few in the same time period as well. And thanks to the internet, there are now ways to find music from throughout all of the logging regions of Canada and the United States. It is amazing though that many songs migrated from one region to the next, with a few variations. Well, not amzing really. The only prblem is that I am still playing pretty mutch from tab, so some of these I can't play yet.

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