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Fall Online Old Time Banjo Festival

Monday, September 21, 2020 @4:11:45 PM

Weekend Pass $150, Workshops $30 each – Click to Purchase

Cathy Fink & Brad Kolodner are happy to present the Fall Online Old Time Banjo Festival. We have an awesome lineup of workshop instructors and performers. And of course, we want to create opportunities for the performers/instructors to make some income, but we offer everything on sliding scale in recognition of the reality that many people right now have no income. To inquire about the sliding scale, please contact info<at> All workshops archived for future viewing by paid registrants.

Concerts will be streamed worldwide via YouTube both nights.Pay what you can. Concerts will be streamed via Brad Kolodner’s YouTube page here:

8-10pm Eastern
Jake, Blount, Paul Brown, Cathy Fink, Aaron Jonah Lewis

8-10pm Eastern
Abigail Washburn, Nora Brown, Brad Kolodner, Hilarie Burhans

Jake Blount: Swing and Drive
12-1:30pm Eastern
Participants will use one simple tune to experiment with rhythmic accents and emphases, learning how to bring banjo skills to bear in jams and ensembles with different sounds and feels.  Participants should be familiar with drop thumbing.

Paul Brown: Old Time Finger Picking
2-3:30pm Eastern

This amazing class unlocks secrets of the universe, banishes worry about finger picking, and sets you free for unceasing intergalactic banjo adventures!  Learn basic techniques, tunings and approaches that will undergird your progress for years to come. Perfect for quarantine and beyond. The class is structured so that whatever your level, you’ll engage with interesting ideas and challenges.  Tune your banjo to Open G before class and we’ll go from there.

Cathy Fink: Music of Lily May & Cousin Emmy
4-5:30pm Eastern

Both of these stars of early recorded country music and radio played guitar, fiddle and banjo. Both focused on clawhammer style banjo. Cousin Emmy (Cynthia Mae Carver) was born in Barren County, KY. She taught Grandpa Jones to play the banjo. Her song, “Ruby, Are You Mad At Your Man” became a bluegrass standard when recorded by the Osborne Brothers. She recorded with Mike Seeger & The New Lost City Ramblers for Folkways, and performed on Pete Seeger’s Rainbow Quest television show. I never met Cousin Emmy, but Patsy Montana gifted me her Cousin Emmy doll that was a table centerpiece at a fundraiser for Cousin Emmy back in the 1970’s.

Lily May Ledford, from Powell County, KY, grew up playing fiddle and banjo. She performed with the Coon Creek Girls, one of the first all female stringbands on the radio. She too met patsy Montana as one of the stars of the WLS Barn Dance. She then moved to the Renfro Valley Barn Dance where I interviewed her for the Nashville Network’s “Fire on the Mountain” TV show. One of her signature songs was “Banjo Pickin’ Girl.” One of her songs we’ll work on is “Red Rocking Chair”, a unique version. Meantime, you can watch multiple outtakes of our “Fire on the Mountain” interview to your heart’s content!

We’ll learn music form both of these iconic women, along with a few stories.

Abigail Washburn: New Clawhammer Sounds and Textures
12-1:30pm Eastern

In this workshop, clawhammer banjo player Aibgail Washburn will help unlock the secrets to creating new sounds and textures through the adaptation of old time banjo playing traditions, handed down by those who have come before. From exploring the tuning traditions of Hop-High, Dead Man’s and Little Satchel, to picking styles ranging from clawhammer, 3-finger to 2-finger, attendees will learn to pull from traditons of the past to create our own voices here and now.

Brad Kolodner: Clawhammerify Fiddle Tunes/Learning by Ear
2-3:30pm Eastern

In this workshop geared towards players of all levels, discover the tools and methods to “clawhammerify” fiddle tunes and improving your ability to learn by ear. Many of the melodies we love in Old Time music ring through loud and clear on fiddle in jams or on recordings. However, it can be a challenge to learn how to adapt the melody for clawhammer. A tune will be taught on fiddle as a vehicle for understanding how to translate a fiddle tune into a banjo tune and how to improve your listening skills. Liberate yourself of tablature and gain the confidence you need to sit down in a jam and play along without knowing the tunes in advance!

Hilarie Burhans: Drive, Percussion and Dynamics
4-5:30pm Eastern

In this intermediate-level workshop, we’ll be working on adding the elusive quality called “drive” to your clawhammer banjo playing… the quality that makes people want to get up and dance!  We will work on dynamics, syncopation, and producing that distinctive percussive “cluck” sound that can cut through the sound of other instruments to help provide a rhythmic framework in a jam. While not a repertoire development workshop, we will learn a tune on which to demonstrate and practice this stuff, so tune your banjo (or capo it up) to A and get ready to make people tap their feet!

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