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Dec 17, 2019 - 11:14:46 AM
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Players Union Member

schlange (Administrator)


5881 posts since 1/20/2003

Today as I was putting together a blog post about the 2020 Players Union shirt design I was reminded that we're approaching a big date... the Banjo Hangout's 20th anniversary!

I launched the site in January 2000. Of course, back then it was nothing like it is today. I certainly had no idea what it would turn into! I was just learning the banjo and thought I could help myself and some others by creating a sort of library of links and tabs, a central place for people to start their banjo learning. I built the initial site on a whim, snowed-in during a long Christmas break at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.

I didn't even buy a domain name for the site until April 2000... because I was a college student with barely two pennies to rub together. I remember when I checked the stats after a few months and realized we'd averaged 300 visitors per day. I was blown away. This must be almost every banjo player on the web!

Little did I know...

Three years after the site first launched, I gave into repeated requests and launched the discussion forums. And I'm so happy I did! This is when the site really took off, and you pickers and grinners have been sharing tips, stories, recipes, and encouragement ever since.

Today the site gets around 25,000 visits per day from banjo players all over the world.

Thanks everyone for being a part of it all, from the bottom of my heart. The Banjo Hangout has been a true blessing in my life--it has taught me so much about music, about social networks and online communities... and it has helped support my family. Heck, as I recall, the first shirt design we ever sold on this site ("I pick; therefore, I grin") essentially paid for the birth of our first child, Bella Grace!

Today Bella is a 16-year-old who got her driver's license and bought her first car just months ago. How time flies.

When I started the site I was a newly-married college student. This last June my wife and I celebrated our twenty-year anniversary. (We also had a son along the way--Noah is 13 years old.)

I hope the Banjo Hangout continues to serve banjo players well for many years to come. Here's to the next 20!

Here's a then and now photo of me and my family. The first shot is Monica and I dressed for our 70's-themed wedding reception in June 1999 (don't judge :-) and the second is us this past June at Bella's 16th.

Learn more about me by watching this interview with Craig Evans

Dec 17, 2019 - 11:39:45 AM
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13451 posts since 12/11/2003

Many thanks for your good work here. Happy Holidays to you and your family.

Dec 17, 2019 - 11:45:06 AM
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21 posts since 3/10/2009

congratulations and many thanks for your site which has helped me learn more tunes than i ever could have. Much success in the future. Merry Christmas and a better New Year.

Dec 17, 2019 - 12:50:52 PM
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9368 posts since 2/22/2007

Congrats, Eric, you created something great.

Dec 17, 2019 - 12:52:44 PM
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764 posts since 5/19/2018

Eric - Thank You for this spot on the web.

I only joined recently, but been lurking since the start. The amount of knowledge that I gained over the decades has been very much appreciated. The time spent here also has been enjoyable to say the least.

As before, Congratulations, Thank You and keep up the great work!

Dec 17, 2019 - 1:16:43 PM
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426 posts since 2/6/2018

You should be very proud of the international community you've built and the profound impact it has had. Good work and thank you for keeping the party going.

Dec 17, 2019 - 1:31:18 PM
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Players Union Member



9942 posts since 6/30/2015
Online Now

Thank you Eric, there are many people I would never have met if it weren't for this site. Congratulations, 5 more and it will be the silver anniversary.

Dec 17, 2019 - 1:32:05 PM
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3340 posts since 12/6/2009

Congratulations,....a song for you

"There Is A Time"
(originally by The Dillards)

There is a time for love and laughter
the days will pass like summer storms
the winter wind will follow after
but there is love and love is warm

There is a time for us to wander
when time is young and so are we
the woods are greener over yonder
the path is new the world is free

There is a time when leaves are falling
the woods are gray the paths are old
the snow will come when geese are callin'
you need a fire against the cold

There is a time for us to wander
when time is young and so are we
the woods are greener over yonder
the path is new the world is free

So do your roaming in the springtime
you'll find your love and summer sun
frost will come and bring a harvest
and you can sleep when the day is done

There is a time for us to wander
when time is young and so are we
the woods are greener over yonder
the path is new the world is free
the path is new the world is free

There is a time for us to wander
when time is young and so are we
the woods are greener over yonder
the path is new the world is free

Dec 17, 2019 - 1:57:22 PM
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53883 posts since 12/14/2005

I love to tell people about how, thanks to the HangOut, I heard Janna Kim's original, in RUSSIAN, of "Don't Forget Me, Baby".
E-mailed her through her HangOut contact info, told her that if she'd send me a rough English translation, I'd try re-write it so the English words matched the flow of her tune, and got the idea across.
Nearly two dozen e-mails later, she apologized for taking SOME ideas from ONE e-mail, and some from another.
To which I replied
"It's YOUR song. I'm just trying to get it across in English!"
And now, my name appears as the author of the English version.
That's what it says on the CD jacket.
When I was first on the HangOut, I had no idea where Uzbekistan WAS.

The Banjo HangOut has promoted me to "Internationally Published Lyricist!"

Mother would be SO proud!

And, of course, it was a STUNNER when the T-shirt design, "Love one woman, Many BANJOS " was first displayed, and SEVERAL people objected STRENUOUSLY to the LACK of the Squared Eel on it.
I had no idea I had ANY loyal fanatics promoting my Squared Eel.
And the design was CHANGED.

(See red pointer)


Dec 17, 2019 - 2:11:03 PM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)


23934 posts since 8/3/2003

Yes, Eric, thank you so much for starting (and continuing) the Hangout. It has helped so many new pickers throughout the last 20 years.

Dec 17, 2019 - 2:15:24 PM
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Players Union Member



1446 posts since 8/30/2014

Congratulations on twenty years, I've only been here for five, but gained a lifetime of knowledge about this wonderful instrument and the people who play it. Thank You !

Dec 17, 2019 - 2:19:17 PM
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2005 posts since 1/21/2003

Thanks Eric. I get a lot of enjoyment from this site and have met many online friends.

Edited by - rickhayes on 12/17/2019 14:27:29

Dec 17, 2019 - 2:20:13 PM
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9360 posts since 1/22/2003

Congratulations and thanks a lot…

Dec 17, 2019 - 2:22:45 PM
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3784 posts since 10/13/2005

I am so grateful to you and everyone on BHO – you have been my primary banjo teacher! You can learn more about banjos here in one year than a lifetime before BHO. I am heartened that you are looking forward to another 20, wasn't sure if you were burning out or going strong – we are all glad and appreciative of the latter! banjered

Dec 17, 2019 - 2:27:12 PM
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3908 posts since 11/29/2005

Good lord! You mean I've been playing banjo THAT long? 

Edited by - banjo_brad on 12/17/2019 14:27:58

Dec 17, 2019 - 3:29:57 PM
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12657 posts since 10/30/2008

Eric, well done! Look at the THOUSANDS of people you have touched and made happier.

Dec 17, 2019 - 3:37:48 PM
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2612 posts since 11/15/2003

well done Eric,

i can't say I'm one of the thousands you touched....

since i showed up here already " TECHED"!


Dec 17, 2019 - 3:48:33 PM
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2798 posts since 2/18/2009

I'm very grateful for the Hangout, and the folks who do all of the work to keep it going. I'm on here every day, and there's always more to learn and see and experience. I remember that my first post (the reason I actually joined the hangout instead of lurking) was to ask if I could make a banjo out of cherry, and I got a lot of very interesting responses, of which many were helpful, a few weren't, and one or two were quite entertaining. If it wasn't for the Hangout I doubt that I would have been able to get off the ground as a banjo maker. Thank you very much for everything.

Dec 17, 2019 - 4:21:08 PM
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Players Union Member



25 posts since 8/5/2016

Congratulations Eric, you have changed the life of thousands. I don't often post, but like a lot of others I am on the Hangout every day.
There is a wonderful knowledge base here a strong sense of community within this site thanks to your whim.

Dec 17, 2019 - 4:56:39 PM
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23765 posts since 7/22/2007

Thank you Eric for your 20 years of dedication and patience.  It's vastly appreciated!
Congratulations also to you and your wife on your 20th anniversary, and daughter
Bella Grace's 16th birthday.  Were you ever tempted to name her Bella Voce?? wink

Dec 17, 2019 - 5:17:57 PM
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1411 posts since 5/27/2006

Thank you Eric, I really enjoy this site, the store, the tabs, and the off topic. Not to be discouraging, but I still like the banjo better. If it hadn't been for this site I might have given up on this obsession

Dec 17, 2019 - 5:36:12 PM
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47620 posts since 10/5/2013

Hip , Hip Hooray !

Dec 17, 2019 - 6:44:03 PM
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71253 posts since 5/9/2007

Thanks for this wonderous place,Eric.
I got my first computer in 2006 and one of the first things I typed into it was "banjo" and up sprang the Banjo Hangout.

Dec 17, 2019 - 7:56:44 PM
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Players Union Member

Chris Meakin


2773 posts since 5/15/2011
Online Now

Thanks heaps Eric. Also, I'm positive you wrote "post some before and after shots" in your original posting, so here they are.
Wedding Day 1990; with an aunt at Tawonga Gap, Victoria - famous cycling location; and with some random dude. I thought you'd appreciate my attire Eric.

Dec 17, 2019 - 9:42:15 PM
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3866 posts since 9/21/2009

Thanks Eric! I really enjoy this site. It is a great place to meet other players, receive information, instructions etc. I won the best banjo I have ever owned here through the Hangout drawing. This site has been really good to me. Congratulations on your 20th year n this site as well as your marriage. You have a beautiful family!

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