Had a wonderful time at the Mars Hill Blue Ridge Old-Time Music Week last week, where I led “Advanced Clawhammer Banjo 2”. I was lucky to have a class of willing and eager banjoists as we tackled Dead Man’s Piece and Big Scioty in Last Chance tuning (gDGDE or fCFCD), explored bass and up-the-neck variations of Mississippi Sawyer, deconstructed Roustabout, and aided Santa Anna in his retreat. One of my favorite moments was when with fifteen minutes left in class on Friday, at the end of a long and intense week, I asked if the class would like to learn another tune. Usually at this point, everyone is ready to kick back. To my surprise, there was a quick consensus that of course another tune was in order, and off we galloped with Jack Limberlegs. By this time we had developed trust and camaraderie, seasoned with a week’s worth of work and laughter.
Outside of class were jams, mini courses, single-session “pot-lucks”, concerts and more. I got to participate in Curly Miller and Carol Ann Rose’s grand and heroic banjo orchestra and I got to reunite with my old music buddy from Columbus, Mike Eberle, and see up close (and sometimes play with) a bunch of musicians I admire.
My thanks to Ann Whitley, Jane Huffman, Lewis and Katie, and the crew. In another week or so, I expect that my feet will touch down back on earth.