I just had my RB4 refurbished and I'm again listening to and admiring Dave Hum, God bless his soul. My immediate and long term goal is to learn his tune/version of "Grasshopper Sitting on a Sweet Potato Vine." Along the way, I know I will learn many other things, techniques, styles and songs, but I put him at the top of my "most admired" list. (He lost his daughter Ashley to disease, then lost the full use of his right hand to a medical complication.) So, that is my goal. What's yours and why?
I really enjoyed Dave Hum's youtube videos of his busking sessions, especially when little kids in the audience would burst out into inventive, exuberant dances. That's a great goal, David.
I have the music to "Merchant's Lunch" on my banjo case, by Tommy Thompson and Mike Craver, as well as some helpful notes on chords and fingering from friends (such as David Brooks).
That's my "project" tune - or at least that's the "project" I have resting on top of the banjo case, as though that itself will make this a musical goal.
Here's the tune as rendered by the Red Clay Ramblers:
I'm hoping that I might get the first few bars down over the next ten years.
I also like learning from Dave Hum’s music, though I’ll clawhammer his pieces. Lately I’ve been working on learning tunes from the fiddling of Art Stamper and Clyde Davenport simply because the individual tunes are each like precious gems. Another project is to have back-up tunes for Tune of the Week, in case a volunteer can’t present. This gets me researching tunes I like that I think will interest other old-time players.
I do this all because it’s fun and artistically creative. Thanks for asking and sharing your project. I like Lew’s goal, relating to his recent labor on his Tommy Thompson biography (which I just finished).
My upcoming project is restringing and setting up my rarely-played Ramsey Woody with Nylguts. I have a suitable bridge and plenty of strings so next step is to get some welder-tip cleaners to work on the nut. If successful I will play it for awhile and then perhaps carefully consider pulling the first four or five frets to make it semi-fretted.
Well, since you asked. . .
I'm trying to learn to write simple clawhammer tabs. I posted a topic about it recently and got some great instruction. I will still struggle, but I think I'm on the right track.
As for music, I play alone. Not that I'm anti-social. Just don't know anyone else who plays an instrument and is inclined to get together. But I do have an occasional audience: my grandchildren. And so I've been working on putting together my cowboy music - for them and for me. Since singing songs is a lot more interesting to them than just playing the banjo (although little Jake did enjoy dancing to Boil Dem Cabbages Down) I have been leaning towards songs rather than just fiddle tunes.
I have also thought about experimenting with three song/tune medleys that have some common factor. For example, since we own ducks and have a lot of inside jokes about ducks, I'm thinking of learning and putting together Duck River, Ducks on a Mill Pond, and The Little White Duck. Or maybe a dog medley that would consist of Old Rattler, the Missouri Hound Dog Song, and Where Will I Shelter My Sheep Tonight (we traveled far, shepherd dog and I. . .). Or maybe Shelby's Mules aka Seneca Square Dance (Shelby being a Missouri confederate who was friends with the James Brothers), the Ballad of Jesse James, and then What a Friend We Have in Jesus - which happened to be Jesse James' favorite hymn [as Dave Barry says, I'm not making that up.]
I am very novice when it comes to banjo and unfortunately I feel like a slow learner. I recently decided to focus on claw hammer and for the last 6 months only on songs in double c. Its been pretty fun. Enjoying video YouTube lessons by Tom Collins. Has really helped my finger accuracy. Thanks Tom!
An American songwriter friend summers up here. It's his project: for me to accompany him on the songs he's just written. He doesn't use typical chord changes, so I have a lot of figuring out to do on the fly as we under-rehearse. It's also an exercise in listening as we're performing in front of an audience.
'Good Sunday Morning' 23 min
'The farmall cub' 6 hrs