Carolyn Faubel has come up with a nostalgic tune taught by a festival friend who passed on. She says the melody is partly reminiscent of Julieanne Johnson and has a lyric that is rather sad, referring to the slave trade, and other floating lyrics you'll recognize. Have a look at TOTW, 6/21/19, Trader Boatman.
Tunes that appear each week are unique surprises. This week the talented Adam Schwiegert posted a video skillfully playing the new tune both fast and slow. It can be soothing and hypnotic. So check out TOTW, 6/28/19, Will Davenport's Tune, learned from the banjo playing of his son, Clyde Davenport, now in his 90's.
I'm the presenter this week and have looked forward to exploring Snake River Reel. It's a tune that I learned from a tab out of Dan Levenson's Buzzard Banjo clawhammer book years ago. Recently I wrote to the composer, Peter Lippincott, to know more about it. Take a look and listen in our TOTW, 7/5/19, Snake River Reel.
Our new TOTW is an old tune presented and played by the talented Adam Kiesling. It appears to go back to the British Isles and goes by several titles, various timings, with or without lyrics, and was played by some great fiddlers such as Dwight Lamb, Bob Walters, and John Hartford. There's lots to learn in this TOTW, 7/12/19, The Woodpile Tune.
Once in a while there's international flavor on our old-time Tune of the Month from our far-off Swedish friend Jan Olov Sundqvist. We see that the folk songs and dances of other nations are easily adaptable on the banjo. It also reminds us of the European roots of our music, already having traveled here. Enjoy a traditional song from Sweden this week and find it's easy to play TOTW, 7/19/19, Domaredansen ("Judge's Dance"), either clawhammered or 2-finger picked.
Our veteran banjo player, Lew Hendrix, kindly gave us a song many of us have heard, popularized by the likes of Tommy Jarrell, Dirk Powell, Tim O'Brien, John Herrmann and Riley Baugus. Researching the song gave Lew more information than he had anticipated. See for yourself which history you think explains the song when you check out TOTW, 7/26/19, Raleigh and Spencer.
We're fortunate this week to be joined by musical instructor and tab expert David Brooks who has presented one of the tunes tabbed by Tommy Thompson, the Hollow Rock String Band clawhammer player of yesteryear. There is mention of BHO member Lew Stern's new books, Tommy Thompson, Old Timey String Band Musician, and He Could Surely Make a Banjo Talk: 109 Clawhammer Banjo Tabs by Tommy Thompson. The tune itself is not difficult and I look forward to exploring TOTW, 8/2/19, Henry Reed's Breakdown in A.
When generations of fiddlers and pickers pass on their tunes and we have personal ties to them, the tie we feel to the past is even more special. In this TOTW talented player and luthier Noah Cline introduces us to a fiddling relative, Israel Welch (b. 1912), who "performed for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dances in the upper Potomac Valley" of West Virginia. Here's a fun tune to learn in our TOTW, 8/9/19, By the Waterfall.
Musician extraordinaire Dan Levenson is sharing an original tune written at Mt. Airy by five banjo players in a neat tuning and includes a banjo joke to punctutate it. Dan provides tab and a slowed-down version to help you learn. For me this tune title relates to the gold rush region in Northern California. Enjoy TOTW, 8/23/19, Young Guns and Miners.
We're treated this week to an Irish jig from County Clare by the talented John D, clawhammer player from the Bay area. Clawhammer can work surprising well on jigs, as can 2 or 3-finger picking. It just takes a bit of effort and practice. So enjoy, try out and please share our TOTW, 8/30/19, The Old Favourite.
Veteran clawhammerist Carl Baron is sharing a Banjo Newsletter article he wrote in 1980 giving ideas how a person can take advantage of familiarity with guitar chords by using a Cumberland Gap tuning (f#BEAD, with varying 5th string tuning for different keys). He covers two songs with tabs, so let's do some studying this week for the TOTW, 9/6/19, Pastures of Plenty and Darling Nelly Gray.
A new tune for some of us is here, offered by the incredibly talented Pat Lyons from Bruce Greene's recordings of Kentucky fiddlers. Played by Glen Fannin (1901 - 1978), our tune references a bible story most of us do know and may even remind us the recent hurricane Dorian. Tune in to TOTW, 9/13/19, Jonah in the Windstorm and give it a go.
Our new tune this week is a good old tune, recorded by Al Hopkins and the Hillbillies in 1927. Cyndy knows how to select and play fun tunes like TOTW, 9/20/19, Johnson Boys. She includes links to provide favorite sources for Johnson Boys and one goes back to the likes of Virginia fiddler Albert Hash, so get ready for some down-home dance music!
I'm happy a volunteer stepped up today and posted a Tune of the Week when the original presenter couldn't make it. WVDreamin fiddler Billy Kearney has given us a tune with history going back to the American Revolution, including actual musical notation from a fifer at the time, William Morris. Take a look and listen at TOTW, Road to Boston, 9/27/19 and discover it's a simple tune to try out.
This week's Tune of the Week is a contemporary composition, but it grabbed me enough to give it a go and pursue the story of its composer, George Jackson, a talented fiddler from New Zealand who loves Appalachian music and whose bandmates are mega-talented players themselves. Tune in to TOTW, 10/4/19, Dorrigo and find out what the hub-bub's all about.
Bob Skinner has given us a popular old tune with rich history. He says that he included good links to hear the tune and a tab, but that the history of both the site and tune is something we can add to in the thread. Looking for the oldest source recording, it will be a learning journey for me to arrange TOTW, 10/25/19, Valley Forge.
Edited by - JanetB on 10/25/2019 11:26:53
We don't often hear of a five part tune, but this week's Tune of the Week combines two tunes with similar titles, though one of them sounds like John Brown's Dream. Billy Kearney has given us TOTW, 11/8/19, Little Rabbit/Little Rabbit, Where's Your Mammy? Hear him on the fiddle with his banjo playing friend with some simple lyrics.
Edited by - JanetB on 11/08/2019 13:46:41
The Gentleman from VA moniker belongs to Joshua Gilliland. It's also the title of his first TOTW, 11/15/19, Gentleman from Virginia. This will be a new tune for me, as is the source fiddler, Tommy Hunter, who was from North Carolina, not Virginia. So let's put our heads together and learn more about this catchy tune.
We have a beautiful, perhaps challenging tune, to try this week that most people are familiar with. Many know it from Ken Burn's Civil War series. If somebody new gives it a try, I'll be very happy. If you even comment on the Tune of the Week discussion thread I'll be happy! It's the TOTW, 11/29/19, Ashokan Farewell.
This week's Tune of the Week is real old. It was played by Turlough O'Carolan, blind Irish bard who lived between 1678 - 1730. Noah Cline is a remarkable player and luthier and it's great to include him in our volunteer presenter line-up. I can't wait to work on TOTW, 12/6/19, Carolan's Cup. (It's said that O'Carolan was very fond of his drink.)
'Spotted Pony clawhammer' 10 min
'(FF) More home made bread' 48 min
'Kyser finger picks' 1 hr
'Hitchhikers thumb pick' 2 hrs