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Banjo Music at US Civil War Events

JedMarum 24 Nov 09 - 06:35 PM
Don Firth 24 Nov 09 - 06:50 PM
Leadfingers 24 Nov 09 - 07:30 PM
Lonesome EJ 24 Nov 09 - 07:53 PM
Songbob 24 Nov 09 - 10:27 PM
JedMarum 25 Nov 09 - 09:09 AM
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Subject: Banjo Music at US Civil War Events
From: JedMarum
Date: 24 Nov 09 - 06:35 PM

I don't play as many Civil War events as I'd like to, here in the US but I spent last weekend doing just that, at Liendo Plantation in Hempstead TX.

It was great! Cold, wet, misty, muddy - lotsa horses and guys with bits of sharp pointy metal and explosive gun barrels. I slept in a cattle pasture 50 yards from a Brahma bull and his ladies. I got up each morning with the sun and wandered out to the front gate where I sat under a canvas "fly" and played my banjo for 10 hours each day - and I did that for three days in a row. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven!

"Do you play the banjo?" I asked every kid that walked by and stopped to listen, "No? Not yet, you mean. Remember Christmas is coming. You need to ask Santa to bring you a banjo!"

Then I'd spend a little time talking about where the banjo comes from and how they are put together, what the different ones sound like and how they are played.

"Girls really make the best banjo players," I swore to all the young girls. "They just seem to get the right hand thing," I'd give as the reason. Of course I have no idea if it's true - but it sparked their interest and made them smile.

In between these discussions, I'd sing a few songs and sell a few CDs. I did get the chance to sneak off for the odd turkey leg once a day and a cup of coffee or two ... but mostly I just played my banjo. I made things up. Played songs I didn't know I knew. I put the A part of one tune to the B of another, then put them back together again. I just kept those notes rolling off my fingers all weekend long.

Toward the end of the day on Sunday, one sassy little fella with a Dallas Cowboys football jersey on, bounced by my site with his Mother. "Who's number 24?" I wondered out loud to him about the number on his jersey.

"Barber," he replied with confidence.

"Are you a running back?" I asked him.

"Yep," he responded with 8 year old pride.

"Well you know, all running backs are good banjo players first," I assured him.

"Really?" he thought about it.

"Yes and Marion Barber is one of the very best banjo players."



I love this job!


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Subject: RE: Banjo Music at US Civil War Events
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 Nov 09 - 06:50 PM

Good on ya, Jed!

I've heard of the Pied Piper, but is there a Pied Banjo Player?

(I think there is now. . . .)

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Banjo Music at US Civil War Events
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Nov 09 - 07:30 PM

John Robison does Civil War music round Richmond Va on banjo and Harmonica , but I dont think he would fancy ten hours a day for three days !


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Subject: RE: Banjo Music at US Civil War Events
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 24 Nov 09 - 07:53 PM

Jed,
That's about as accurate a picture as I have seen of what it's like to just sit and play and enjoy your playing. The joy radiates from your description. Keep it up, lad!!!


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Subject: RE: Banjo Music at US Civil War Events
From: Songbob
Date: 24 Nov 09 - 10:27 PM

So, what do you play, instrument-wise? I play in a Civil War reenactment band (Civil War Comrades) and play a modern (1923) fretted banjo and a (modern copy) 1854 Boucher Minstrel banjo. I sometime play a tack-head banjo or a flush-fret 1870-80s model, depending on the gig. But I mainly play the Boucher.

Our band plays a lot of Stephen Foster (our "persona" is a parlor-music ensemble, not a "soldier band"), H.C. Work, Dan Emmett and Sep Winner, though I can play lots of fiddle tunes as well. Since the band-leader is a singer, we do more songs than tunes, unless we're playing a dance.

So what do you play?

Bob Clayton


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Subject: RE: Banjo Music at US Civil War Events
From: JedMarum
Date: 25 Nov 09 - 09:09 AM

I don't have a period banjo or repro. I wish I did, and that is on my list. BUT I talk about the period style instruments and in general about the way they developed. I use two little open back Deering Gootimes; one strung with nylon strings, one with steel and tuned to A.

I'm waiting for the banjo fairy to leave a gourd or minstrel banjo under my pillow.

It could happen.

;-)


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