Saturday, February 25, 2006

Photos from John C. Campbell Banjo Camp

Guest speaker, (banjo builder and artist) Lo Gordon, adds railroad spikes to a few banjos so everyone can jam in D and A. :) Posted by Picasa

Afternoon jam in the music room Posted by Picasa

February 2006/Banjo Class/Brasstown, NC

 Posted by Picasa

Be A Star, Play Banjo Camp at the John C. Campbell Folk School

What a fun banjo week. Once again, banjo geniuses showed up for this class from New York to California and places in between. Bob and I made wonderful new friends. It was a joy to watch these folks work and jam together. Wish everyone could hear how wonderful they sounded at the student showcase. :)
I'll start posting photos for the next few days. If anyone has other photos they'd like to send along to post--I'll put them up too. :)
Best wishes,
Mary Z.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Will Fielding Rooster banjo

Cap Spence just sent photos of his new Fielding banjo. Wow--what a pretty banjo. I love the rooster on the peghead. Can't wait to hear it!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

New banjo tab book ready for printer!

What a day! We spent all day editing tabs and notes for the new banjo tab book for "Banjo Dreamin' Suwannee Nights. " We just finished it about an hour ago and it is out waiting in the car for me to take it to the printers tomorrow after work! Whew! We have been working on it pretty steady for the last couple months and there have been times when I thought it would get the better of us and never be finished. :)
Happy Birthday, Abe Lincoln.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Joel Mabus/Fiddler's Reply

Jim Strickland sent this around a list--so thought I'd put Joel's poem up alongside these fiddle photos. No--this is not becoming a fiddle blog--more banjo back again soon!

The Fiddler's Reply (poem)by Joel Mabus
It's a question that I've heard beforeAnd all that I can say to that is -- no sir!No sir!I have played a tune in the dark on the porchOf a prairie farm -- summer rain comingDown so straight you could set your chair right thereOn the edge of the porch and keep bone dry.Such straight regular rain, they say, is good For the crop. Good for tunes too, I say,Deep in the night, listening to the corn.And I remember a tune one winterAfternoon up north, fiddling after chores.The sun staring in through a wet kitchenWindow -- all ice outside, all steam inside.My chair tips back; the woodstove snaps loudly,Popping irregular time to the steppyTunes, flannel and coffee, bisquits and boots.I've played tunes on a fine spring eveningAt the town hall dance where everybody shows,Joking with the caller, shaking off winter,Stretching limbs, swapping partners for neighbors.Good healthy tempos break the first real sweat.Long lines forward and back and -- Look! Outside!The sun's still up on a fine green evening !And then there is a tune I know that plays justLike a cold November morning. Sober.Inside, looking out. A gray air that wantsChords unresolved -- turning into the mistLike so many leaves, riven and broken,Returning from sky to earth after fall --The undeniable fall -- calls them home.I have played tunes -- not songs. Not voiceable,Obvious word-infested songs -- but tunes,Each tune a puzzle, each one a boxWith its own proud secret. Each its own smileSweetly shown -- each tune is a lesson pondered.Pattern -- at once familiar yet unique --Like snow crystals -- like footprints -- like the wayThe world is right now -- that's what a tune is.No sir.No sir. They don't all sound the same to me.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

cigar box fiddle

Do believe my finger slipped on the ebay button. Swore I'd never buy another fiddle--but hey--this was just way too cool. You won't see me out and about with this--but I think I will surely have a lot of fun sawing on it at the house.

Besides, I had to have something to sound right with duets on the cigar box banjo when it arrives. :)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Be A Star, Play Banjo Workshop/NC

Sunday, February 19th, 2006Be a Star, Play Banjo/continuing banjo classJohn C. Campbell Folk SchoolOne Folk School RoadBrasstown, NC 28902http://folkschool.orgFebruary 19-25, 2006Expand your repertoire of banjo tunes, while improving your basic technique and tone. We'll explore tunings beyond basic G, begin drop thumbing, and play together as a class to steady right hand rhythms and practice simple chordal back up. Take your beginning skills to new levels while joining the fun and camaraderie of the banjo life.Limited to twelve students. (This is going to be great fun--the food and facilites are awesome at Campbell--and it will be a week of fun and banjo!)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Banjo Birthday and cigar box banjos

We just came home from White Springs. Last night we hosted the Cracker Coffeehouse and it was a fun evening. They packed in a crowd of 250 folks and as a group they had really good voices. I called my Mom from stage and the audience sang "Happy Birthday" to her (she's 75) over the phone. We had several other birthdays in the audience as well. My birthday is on February 10th so I celebrated by bringing a chocolate with fudge icing, giant birthday cake, and the crowd ate every crumb during the intermission. I even saw folks licking their fingers. :)
We also celebrated Groundhogs Day and Valentine's Day and ended the evening with everyone singing "Dream, Dream" in a sing a long. Wish you could have been there.
Bob gave me some wonderful birthday news! As most of you know, I am on banjo restriction. This means I am not allowed to buy, rescue, ask for, or even dream or look at a new banjo. Since I got a couple very nice banjos last year--it seems fair to me. In fact, I didn't even put a new banjo on my Christmas list or have I asked for one for my birthday. When my husband asks what I'd like--I just say "don't get me anything. "
He couldn't stand it anymore and ordered me a cigar box banjo for my birthday. He said it wouldn't be in for a couple months--but he couldn't keep it a secret any longer.
Here is where he ordered it:
I can't wait to see and hear it. I'll put up more about it later after it comes in!

Who would have thought that Bob would end up missing all the squealing and jumping up and down that accompany a new banjo through the door?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Groundhog News Flash/Evening News for Feb. 2


From the Susquehanna Sherman Ground Hog Club Headquarters, Mount Wolf, PA

At 7:45 AM, February 2nd, 2006, Susquehanna Sherman saw his shadow at sunrise. His prediction is for six more weeks of winter. Note that, due to the partly cloudy conditions, his shadow was not clear and strong. Therefore, Sherman foresees three additional fortnights of mild winter.

Tim Smith
Susquehanna Sherman Ground Hog Club
Mount Wolf, PA

Susquehanna Sherman has been predicting the weather from the same location since 2003.

Susquehanna Sherman is a stuffed "melano" groundhog owned by the Susquehanna Sherman Ground Hog Club (SSGHC). The club has now grown to two members. Co-President and Co-Founder of the SSGHC, Tim Smith, was present at this morning's ceremony and took the picture. The other Co-President and Co-Founder, who shall remain nameless, has a job and was unable to attend.

Smith resides in an exclusive trailer park in the Mount Wolf area and currently houses Susquehanna Sherman. For more information, call 717-266-6300.

This news was actually available this morning, but I just got home from work and this was the first time I could blog it.

Other Breaking News For Today---I won an ebay auction for a spanking new red Hawaiin print dog collar for my basset hound, Jezebel. While walking last week, a neighbor pointed out that I should be reported for basset abuse because Jez was still wearing her Christmas collar (it is a red, green and gold plaid and could actually be worn as a Celtic theme collar--it's not like it had little Santas all over it or anything!) Anyway, I live in a major dog neighborhood where the dogs are spoiled brats and the owners love living under the paw. Anyway--Jez will have her new Hawaiin collar soon and will be one of the firsts on the block in her new spring attire.
Yes--the dog accessory and fashion police will be pleased and I will get to keep my doggie another year. :)

Happy Groundhog Day/gourd banjo alternatives

Okay--I have seen a groundhog live--but in Meadows of Dan, Virginia. I'm a native of Florida and there may be groundhogs here, but I have never actually seen one. We have zillions of possum and an abundance of deer, racoon, squirrels, gators, turtles, tortoise, snakes, birds, insects (even more than possum--there are over 70 species of grasshoppers alone in Florida :) And our mosquitoes are spectacular !

We have lots of animals around here. I even saw a wild boar cross the road on old highway 19 between Tallahassee and Crystal River (it was actually near the sign that said "Gulf Hammock"--no joke.) just last year.

But no groundhog. Therefore, I thought it might be a good idea for my banjo that looks the most like a wild thing (my gourd banjo) to take the proxy yoke of groundhogship in North Florida for the day.

It has been raining like crazy all day and it was not necessary to put the gourdie out in the rain to determine that there was no shadow. :) So back to the house to pick by the fireplace a few more weeks before venturing forth into the spring festival season outdoors. :)

And here's a photo of Sherman, a stuffed groundhog (from Pennsylvania) celebrating the day!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Countdown on groundhog's day eve

Here we are, only three hours left of Ground Hog Day's Eve. Here is a sneak preview of a pretty special groundhog. This photo of "Sherman" is used with the permission of "Save the banjos" Tim Smith. Tim is a major player in the wave of "Banjo Rescue" which has become a popular pastime of banjo enthusiasts of the new century.