I don't consider myself much of a solo banjoist. Mind you, I am comfortable playing alone and can do so for hours if I had to, but I much prefer playing tunes with friends who enjoy the ensemble string band sound. You get a fiddle, banjo and guitar together, and everyone is in that groove, well, you can't beat that.
For that very reason, in the last 10 years, I have always sought out like-minded friends who want to do a little evangelizing with our old-time music. I am not talking about religion, but rather educating the lay public that there was string band music before bluegrass and that it was dance oriented.
So anyway, I have sought out and befriended great fiddle players and guitar players out of a selfish motivation, because I want to play tunes with them in a public forum. I've had a lot of fun, and believe it or not, made some money in the process.
Three of us once got $1,200 for a corporate gig, and last year we scored $900 for a museum gig, which is not bad. Most of the time, we play parties in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and will walk away with $100 each, which is nice when you are having fun.
And playing music with friends is always fun. Playing music with friends and getting paid, well, that is even more fun.
Our latest band configuration is called the Lone Star String Band and I would hope that one day we will go into a studio and cut an album. This Kickstarter thing looks interesting, although I kinda have guilt feelings about asking people for money before a product has been produced.
In the meantime, we will keep playing parties and events and making a little money on the side, as this ultimately is a hobby. Let's just say that I won't be quitting my day job anytime soon.
Take care and I'll see you down the road.
Dock Jekel Says:
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 @8:52:04 PM
I could have written this. Playing in a band or informal jammin' beats all. If you ever visit any old time functions in Nor Cal, give me a holler!
Thursday, June 20, 2013 @6:55:10 AM
Well, I ain't lost my amateur status yet...but my hat's off to you for makin' money pickin' a banjer...!!!!
Thursday, June 20, 2013 @11:16:41 AM
You have found a sweet spot, Dean. I am further down the food chain playing in a volunteer contra dance band, but the enjoyment (if not the pay) is quite similar.
Thursday, June 20, 2013 @2:58:43 PM
I'm more than happy to take in your videos and musings on your interesting ventures with your ensembles. Dean, I've heard so many new tunes from your videos and chuckle at the fact your have taken old time music where no else dared. Keep the flame burning.
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'Wideman Lion of Judah' 2 hrs
'Deeding Boston' 3 hrs
'harmony tenor banjo' 3 hrs