As a kid growing up I would stay up until 1 AM on the weekends eating pizza in bars while my stepfather played in Bluegrass bands and my mom did sound. To rebel I went off and did punk rock and electronic music as a teenager, but eventually found my way back home to old-time music. As a youngster I remember borrowing old Roscoe Holcomb and Dock Boggs records from my teacher and being mesmerized. It’s the people music – you have to play it from the heart because you are not going to get rich off it. Although playing festivals is a lot of fun- nothing beats getting together on Sunday in the living room and playing tunes for nobody but each other.
I like busking because it breaks down the barrier between you and your audience and gives unsuspecting people access to old songs. A couple of weeks ago I was playing and this young African American, who was blasting hip-hop in his headphones, got up in my face and shouted “That’s some of the Dopiest s__t I have ever heard”. Made me feel good.
I got my Chuck Lee #291 used on Ebay and I instantly fell in love with it. My Chuck Lee is everyone's favorite banjo who plays it. The sound, playability and look are perfect for what I want in an old-time banjo. One of my students was so jealous of mine that he had to get one too and his is #270.
Clawhammer Tune Of The Day is my new blog where I try to present simple tunes with a little bit of historical context. Hopefully it will be a good resource for those who are looking to increase repertoire. Plus I get to praise a bunch of dead fiddlers who should not be forgotten.
Clawhammer Mike, Temporary Stringband