Genre: Old Time Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time Key: G Tuning: Sawmill (gDGCD) Difficulty: Intermediate
Posted by brownsdream, updated: 4/16/2020
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Notes: I was introduced to Wade Ward's masterful banjo playing on John Cohen's album High Atmosphere. The collection features an amazing cast of ballad singers and banjo pickers from Virginia and North Carolina. As a teenager, I learned my first two banjo pieces off of it. The first was Fred Cockerham's "Fortune," and the second tune was Wade Ward's "Shady Grove." Scroll down just a little bit more to listen to the latter. I highly recommend checking out the entire album, it's brilliant! Benjamin Wade Ward was born near Saddle Creek, Virginia on October 15, 1892. His parents both came from the area around Independence, Virginia. When Wade was ten, his father purchased a farm overlooking the Peachbottom Creek meadows, and moved the family there. Wade lived out his life on that farm. He died there, on his porch, at the age of 79 on May 29, 1971. Wade Ward's musical journey started on the banjo when he was eleven, and he added the fiddle at the age of sixteen. His father, Enoch, played fiddle, and his mother, Rosomund, was a ballad singer. Wade learned fiddle and banjo from his older brother, David Crockett Ward, who was twenty years his senior. The two brothers made a lot of music together, playing square dances at weddings, corn shuckings, and house raisings. Wade played with the Buck Mountain Band and the Grayson County Bog Trotters at public land sales, local Republican party meetings, Moose Lodge functions, and on the radio. Over the years, he also made music with his nephew (and Crockett's son) Fields Ward, as well as Uncle Charlie Higgins, Dale Poe, members of the legendary Lundy family, and Glen Smith.
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