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Girl from the North Country fair

Posted by MarkJohnson, written by Bob Dylan


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- Play count: 899

Size: 8,269kb, uploaded 10/27/2015 1:29:33 PM
Genre: Other / Playing Style: Other

Clawgrass Example - Using Clawhammer in a Bluegrass context. Playing Clawhammer in a Bluegrass setting requires the banjo player to understand all the complexities of playing in a Bluegrass Ensamble. You are playing as a "Unit" and everyone's job in the band is to do what ever it takes to make the featured soloist, be it a vocalist or someone taking a break on their instruments. It forces the clawhammer banjo player to play their banjo in several different ways instead of using just a right hand clawhammer pattern. Lead, Backup, Percsussive chopping, playing harmonies, counter melodies, Licks and tag licks, etc.etc. You have to live by the five "T's" Taste, Touch, Tone, Timing and Tuning and play with precision to get all the value from a note to get it to ring clean and clear. This can be accomplished with a banjo that is set up for this style of ensemble work like my Deering Clawgrass Model Banjos or like how Adam Hurt pulls his clean note playing and his great softer tone from his Enoch/Dobson old time banjos. The point is not how many notes that you put into a tune or song but making each note count for all the musical statement value you can get out of it. This tune is an old Bob Dylan tune that Emory Lester and I recorded about ten years ago on our Acoustic Rising Album. It is a good example of what I am talking about......and it is also an example of playing blues licks while playing in the relative minor key of C#minor against Emory's E major tuning using Double E tuning (Double C tuning capoed at the fourth fret) and playing out of the third fret above the capo to catch the C#Minor position. Enjoy!

7 comments on “Girl from the North Country fair”

Lew H Says:
Wednesday, October 28, 2015 @7:29:33 AM

Mark, I'm confused. I get the part (Ithink) about playing blues licks the 3rd fret above the capo. I use these kinds of licks in a couple of songs. However, I learned North Country by ear back when Dylan recorded it, but I didn't understand the chords, )and maybe still don't) so I just faked some them. In retrospect, I played it in open G tuning, maybe with the progression G, Bm, C, G in most lines of the melody. I looked online and found some examples like my progression, but one puts much of the song into a minor key. Are you playing this in D minor? What chord progression are you using? Again, I'm confused!

MarkJohnson Says:
Wednesday, October 28, 2015 @8:25:39 AM

Hello Lew my friend! I hope you have been well!
You know, I was in a rush when I wrote this blurb about playing "Girl from the north Country Fair"......sorry bout' that. My mind must have been else ware!
The song was done in "E" Major and I played my break using the Relative Minor of C#Minor against Emory's E major Key using the "double E Tuning" (Capo four frets in Double C Tuning) and catching the minor off the third fret position.
Thanks for catching this for me....

Lew H Says:
Wednesday, October 28, 2015 @9:24:46 AM

Mark, I should have said that it was a great post before I launched into my query. My apologies:It is a good post! I'd like to try some of your licks, but I may have to un-capo my longneck to get into double A tuning to sing and play this song using them. I use the double C bluesy third fret sting chokes on "The Thrill is Gone," and "Mojo Workin'," It took me 40 + years to figure out that double C doesn't always have to sound sweet.

I've just had surgery this month and have to use my light-weight banjo right now, but I'm registered and payed up for SBC next spring. Hope to see you there.

MarkJohnson Says:
Wednesday, October 28, 2015 @9:30:59 AM

Hey Lew, I hope you heal well! And thanks again for catching that mistake in my post. There is a whole new world out there playing relative minors against their major keys....especially when you use it surgically and at the right time in the arrangements.
Unfortunately, I have not been invited back this coming year turn to rotate out like the rest of the instructors. Say hey to everyone for me.

Lew H Says:
Wednesday, October 28, 2015 @11:06:04 AM

Darn! I've been trying to think up "Clawgrass" jokes for the open mic night! ; ) An effort wasted! Lew

Lew H Says:
Thursday, October 29, 2015 @6:57:58 PM

All kidding aside, I tried the song in double A, and it won't work for my vocal range. Thanks for all your help over the past years.

MarkJohnson Says:
Thursday, October 29, 2015 @7:18:35 PM

Always for you my friend, Mark

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