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mike gregory replied to topic 'Antique parlor guitar/banjo goatskin conversion!' 11 hrs
mike gregory commented on a photo 'Last month the lady told me she plans to get a banjo and learn to play' 19 hrs
Playing Since: 1977
Experience Level: Purty Good
Occupation: graveyard shift
An old no-name, an old Bruno, and some I made.
Musicians who made me rethink music - Doc Watson, Dock Boggs, Ken Perlman, Clarence Ashley, New Lost City Ramblers, John Hammond, Guy Davis, Stringbean, John Prine, Pete and Mike Seeger, Gordon Lightfoot, Dougie McLean, Kevin Burke, Johnny and Phil Cunningham, countless banjo and harmonica players on old 78's, and my buddies Clyde, Dick, and Al.
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Last Visit 8/13/2014
My dad is a multi instrumentalist who focuses on piano. I play several instruments too, but the banjo, especially clawhammer, opened it all up to me in the late seventies. No longer was music found in "The Hits Of The Seventies" books or library or music store lesson room. Music made sense on the banjo. Less strings, less clutter, no more "major or minor" mindset. The modal world was like a new world. My dad had some buddies who jammed with their fiddles and banjos. Don, the banjoist, said "Why does a young guy like you wanna play this stuff?" They became my buddies, I pulled them out of retirement to play at concerts, festivals, jamborees and lots of other places. Then I heard a guy my age play "Frailing Style" (who later formed a band with me) back then and it was MAGIC. It still is. So he actually taught me the clawhammer move. In the early 80's we played all over mid Michigan with a vanful of old instruments. If people WEREN'T hollering and dancing on tables, we told ourselves we were doing something wrong. You haven't lived until you've provided the soundtrack for the barfights that start at midnight and you're playing Black Eyed Susie in high gear. I was in a bluegrass oriented band, a blues band playing slide, and a celtic band playing bouzouki and banjo. Here's a clip of that - http://michigantravel.tv/2003tallshipssarnia/tallships_sarniaqt.html Years later, and after making a few instruments, my little brothers grew up to play and my son and daughter did too. So now we have a pile of stuff like this - guitar, clawhammer banjo, fiddle, tenor banjo, minstrel banjo, concertina, washtub, harmonicas, mandolin, resonator guitar, and a bunch of other stuff. My little fiddlin' 6 year old niece shows up at gigs with her fiddlin' daddy and and steals the show!! It's a family and friends affair. My shy dulcimer playing wonderful wife encouraged me all along the way with her honesty. It comes in short phrases like, "That drags, that stinks, that's annoying, quit repeating that one part it's getting on my nerves, that's better, ya, that makes you wanna dance, you can almost see the mountains." Yup, she's my honest critic, fan, and part time roadie. Old time music is our life, not our jobs, just our life. The last few years I've been making some old wood rim styled banjos and gourd banjos. I never thought that gourds could be so much fun - and people love 'em.
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