Posts tagged ‘Folk music’

November 29, 2013

Shady Grove

One of my favorite venues is a folk cafe called Caffe Lena.  A book and CD were recently released chronicling the cafe since its start in 1960.  I was listening to the CD  and heard some songs that had some banjo (which of course I was excited about).  Before I started this blog I didn’t pay a ton of attention to banjo, and so since beginning this I have heard so much more banjo than I ever would have expected.

One of the songs that stuck with me from the CD was Shady Grove played by Hedy West.  Listen here.  It’s awesome playing (in my opinion at least) and I think he voice is really distinctive. It’s amazing that all of these live recordings from the 1960s and 70s are in such great shape and have been released for everyone to hear.

Here’s kind of a summary of the collection with some more samples of songs to listen to at the bottom.  If you’re a folk fan it’s totally worth a listen!!

Caffe Lena CD


Caffe Lena is filled with banjos from contemporary bands, to the old days.  They also hold a “Banjo Masters in the Round” event on a pretty much yearly basis which brings a bunch of players together, with performances and workshops.  I’m not sure if one will be happening this year, but if there is one I hope to be able to experience at least a little bit of it as I have never attended before.


September 29, 2013


I was reading the newspaper yesterday & saw an article about the four-string banjo.  I knew that they existed, but I wasn’t totally familiar with them.  It was interesting to see a banjo other than the five string infiltrating the media.  The four string is apparently used more in jazz than in folk etc.

The banjo is invading mainstream culture it seems, every time I turn around I am hit with another article, another player, another band, or another song that features the banjo. The banjo seems to have had some sort of popularity for a while, but recently it has had a resurgence. I’m not quite sure why there has been this newfound banjo love, but whatever the reason, it’s nice that the banjo has been able to continue on.

Here’s an article with some insight to the banjo popularity.

It kind of seems like every year there is a new instrument that emerges as the newest “it” instrument.  The ukulele had its heyday, and it seems like the banjo may be taking over.  It’s kind of a cool trend, it creates new opportunities for people to learn new instruments, which is better than something detrimental being popular.

Some of the new bands that I saw this summer used the banjo, and although a lot of them were playing more “traditional” music with the banjo, they were still younger players.

Here’s a band I saw this summer that uses the banjo!