Thursday, May 15, 2008

Banjo versus TV: Week 19

Banjo 135 hrs, TV 113 hours
A weekly check-in on the Banjo versus TV project — J.R.'s resolution to spend more time in 2008 on his banjo than on TV.

The big news this week was my sister's jam party.

She told me she'd invited a bunch of musicians with a variety of skill levels. Translation: Several good musicians and me. But her trick worked. I had a blast at my first jam party!

The band played...

...the singers sang...

...I kept up on my banjo when I could...

...and when I couldn't...

...I hammered away on the pots and pans.

The crowd had a good time and gave me more compliments than I deserved (and almost as many as I could want).

I was very nervous about the jam. The set list was available in advance, so I brought it to my weekly banjo lesson and asked Mike for advice. After giving the list a once-over (Initial assessment: "You're screwed.") he helped me pick out some songs that are within reach of my current skill level.

Here are the songs on her set list that were doable:

And here are the songs that were beyond my reach for now:

The band was very kind to me and moved several of the songs to G so I wouldn't have to capo. Thanks, everyone, for making me sound good!

Also in the last week:

  • As I was practicing over lunch at the park, Jared Voss came up and introduced himself. Jared's a guitarist with Mattithias and the Stereo Expanders who likes the idea of lunch-time practice in the park. We exchanged contact info; maybe we can set something up.
  • Yay, pawn shop bluegrass! I got these used CDs on the cheap at our local pawn shop:
    • Flatt & Scruggs at Carnegie Hall
    • Don Reno: Founding Father of the Bluegrass Banjo
    • Dead Grass featuring Vassar Clements
    • The Three Pickers (Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson and Ricky Skaggs)
    • The Grass is Blue by Dolly Parton
    • All-Time Southern Gospel Hits Collection (OK, it's gospel and not bluegrass. Sue me.)
    • Bill Monroe from the Country Music Hall of Fame Series

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