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Workshops or Playshops?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hello to all banjo enthusiasts far and wide--

I am speaking geographically, not physically!!  Although I believe I do tend to get a bit wider and heavier in the winter as I get a good bit less activity it seems.  Uncle Dave Macon,solved that by the way he did all his banjo-isometrics --spinning and whirling all the while playing or getting back to the strings just in time.  Warming up stretches for the hands and arms all always a good idea, especially in colder temperatures.   As spring is rolling in, I wish you all plenty of musical opportunities to "roll" or "claw" or "pick" away on your banjos this season.

In April, I will be at the Bear On The Square Festival in Dahlonega, Georgia with my buddy and great fiddler, James Bryan---- we will be playing on the main stage Sat. April 16th from 1-2 p.m....I also wanted to mention that Friday April15th James will conduct a fiddle workshop and I will host a banjo workshop during the early afternoon.  You can go to for more info.    It's usually a great week end music and weather wise, so check it out if you can. 

I'll close by saying, if you do decide to spin or flip your banjo make sure you have plenty of room between you and listeners as banjo wounds are often painful and rarely forgotten! 





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Wednesday, March 24, 2010 Add Comment

Newest Music

Genre: Folk
Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

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Playing Since: 1965
Experience Level: Purty Good

[Teaching] [Jamming] [Socializing] [Helping]

Occupation: musician

Gender: Male
Age: 67

My Instruments:
guitars-- one old 1940's Vega small arch-top for Delmore brother -esque songs(works great for lead playing) and a 1983 00-21-K Martin anniversary edition-Iplayed on Two Pictures-( the 1995 cd with James Bryan)
mandolin 1920 A-4
fiddle- an old French fiddle from the Mirecourte region says "Ferrin" inside
banjo a 1930-ish maybelle open back made by Slingerland with a dobson style
tone ring
ukulele-- a 1930s Martin soprano

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
The Delmore Brothers, Blue Sky Boys, The Carter Family, The Stanley Brothers, James Bryan, Norman and Nancy Blake, Kelli Jones, Asa Jones, Homer & Jethro, Sol Hoopii, John Williams, Hugh Prestwood, Kate Campbell, The Nashville Bluegrass Band, Bruce Greene, Don Pedi, and many others...

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Profile Info:
Visible to: Public
Created 3/24/2010
Last Visit 2/19/2012

Carl Jones - Bio I was bitten by the old time music "bug" in the 1970's while attending The University of North Alabama and traveling more and more to festivals around the southeast. During this time I played mandolin and sang in The Mud Road String Band; a local bluegrass group in Florence, Alabama. I bought a mandolin on the way up for my first day of school and befriended the band at orientation. Turns out their mandolin player was moving away and they had a bunch of gigs so I was quickly enlisted. Taking breaks in public on an unfamiliar instrument--- a sure fire way to improve quickly-- through repeated humiliation! At many of those early festivals I was enthralled by the graceful fiddling of James Bryan and the music he made with Norman and Nancy Blake. I remember arriving at the Horse Pens 40 Festival (in Alabama) very late on a week-end due to car trouble. So flustered and bent out of shape, I happened to wander over to a hill where James, Norman, and Nancy were warming up for a set soon to come. I never will forget how powerful their amazing, stately and mellow rendition of a slow air—Jameson’s Favorite was (mandolin, fiddle and cello). By the time they played the final notes I was happy and calm without a care in the world. That moment has always stayed with me. Their approach, respect and knowledge of the music they played inspired me greatly. Later, I was fortunate to tour with them as part of The Rising Fawn String Ensemble in the early 80's. Also while in college, I majored in a newly started, commercial music program that taught music publishing as well as studio recording techniques at several Muscle Shoals studios such as Fame (Rick Hall) and Wishbone (Terry Woodford and Clayton Ivey). As a songwriter it was very helpful to “hang “ out and hear and see great songwriters at work. Mac McAnally, Donny Lowery, Walt Aldridge, are Robert Byrne, are some names that come to mind. They may not be household names but you have likely heard many of their songs. It was also a privilege to hear Roy Orbison, Steve Goodman, and others record some great “tracks.” It showed me early on how songs are “crafted” with care and persistence but also that it is a loving art. I have continued to go to several old time fiddle festivals throughout the years and it turned out in the early part of 2000 that had also been the case for Beverly Smith—who played in the Heartbeats and later with Big Hoedown (Bruce Molsky, Rafe Stefanini). We found we had a lot of common musical interests and have been playing an old time duo ever since. We sing songs from the Carter family, Blue Sky Boys, Jimmy Rogers, Delmore Brothers, and others. We also love to play the old fiddle tunes on fiddle, banjo, mandolin and guitar. We have just released our third CD entitled, Glow (Dittyville003). Our other two recordings are: Moving Lightly Through This World and Somewhere Over Yonder. For more information on Beverly Smith’s music and our duo please visit I still get the opportunity to play with James Bryan (from Mentone, Alabama) on occasion. Two Pictures, an old poem from Annie D. Green which I set to music years ago, turned out to be the title of a recording he and I did in 1995 with encouragement and caring production from Wayne Martin(Raleigh, NC). It is still a big musical highlight for me and high on the list of many fiddlers Favorite recordings. Sometimes I am also lucky to be part of a trio with fiddler, Bruce Greene, and dulcimer player, Don Pedi (from western North Carolina).They sound like one instrument as they weave through all the old, crooked, tunes and seem to have an unlimited supply. . For over a decade now I have been teaching at many music camps around the country on various instruments as a self proclaimed "confusion enhancement specialist"-- I truly believe out of confusion comes clarity! Some say I am over-inspired. My favorite thing is letting music and words merge out of thin air as inspiration beckons. That moment never ceases to be miraculous to me. I am very fortunate that music and ideas come to call on a regular basis. My songs have been recorded by the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Rickie Simpkins, Kate Campbell, Mark Weems & Julee Glaub, and others. I wish that everyone who reads this finds more time for creativity in their life and letting things just happen.

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