Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

November 20, 2013

Taj Mahal

I’ve been finding the banjo in places that I wouldn’t expect.

This weekend, I was listening to CDs in the car and I decided to listen to Taj Mahal. I’ve been a fan since I was young enough to know what a fan was, he’s always been a part of my family’s musical history.  My sister was named after a Taj Mahal song, so clearly he has been influential on my family. Somehow, I never connected Taj to banjo because I have tried to play some of his songs, but always on guitar or bass. 

While riding along I heard some serious banjo playing, and realized I had left a HUGE gap in my blogging about banjo players that influence me/ I find amazing.  Taj Mahal is a pretty cool artist.  He brings his music alive, and I always want to find out what is going to happen next in all his songs, that are usually stories.

Taj Mahal

A few of my favorites are Fishin’ Blues, Frankie and Albert, Cakewalk, and recently Shady Grove (with a whole lot of banjo!)  I had never heard Shady Grove before and I immediately appreciated the banjo as well as the lyrics (always a big thing for me) “Peaches in the summertime, apples in the fall”.  

Once again, I am day by day surprised by the amount of banjo music and banjo facts, and people that are intrigued by the banjo (I guess kind of in the same way that I am). It seems just as I start grasping for something to blog about someone wants to play my banjo, hear me play the banjo, I hear a song with some banjo playing, or I realize an artist I have been listening to for years plays the banjo- and I never really thought about it before.  It’s pretty cool that there is so much banjo out there, and that it can be used for such a variety of purposes from more traditional to the new music that is being written and performed now.

Taj Mahal

September 24, 2013

A Little Practice…

Today I got a chance to practice!  I reviewed the songs that I already knew, and started to look up chords to some other songs that I like.  Playing the actual chords is pretty easy (considering that I already play guitar) but I think I need work on the strumming pattern.  I think I might need to locate someone that already knows the banjo to give me a few lessons so I actually know what I’m doing.  I also think I might need to start working on reading “actual” music (I can read bass clef, but not treble).  A lot of the songs in the Pete Seeger book are written out like that, so to learn them I’m going to have to start remembering how to read music, we’ll see if that happens!

I recorded myself playing “This Land is Your Land” (my greatest hit!!) but I’m not quite tech savvy enough to actually be able to put in in this post right now… maybe I’ll figure it out soon.

What I have found to be the most fun on the banjo is just improvising and playing whatever comes to mind.Image

Here’s the book I’m using.

Here are the chords to “This Land is Your Land” in case you want to try and play it on YOUR banjo!

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The “Crawdad” song is also a good one.  I went to summer camp at a farm with I was nine, and we used to sing that song all the time…all these songs seem to keep bringing back memories, maybe playing the banjo is making me feel old…