Sunday, October 30, 2011
I finally got to meet Roy McClure recently at an event at the Shawnee Mission Indian Historical Site in Fairway ks. I had become his facebook friend some months ago. Maybe a year ago or more. I forget. Roy's thing is historical reenacting and banjo's. He often sets up his sutlers tent or fly and demonstrates old time frailing or clawhammer banjo playing as well as offering handmade banjos. Interestingly, he makes gourd banjos, fretted and non fretted. They sound much more subdued than a Bluegrass type instrument and are really pretty sweet. He also makes a nice basic Old Time banjo as well and his pricing is very reasonable. If I ever decide to take that banjo plunge (I can't ever get the guitar thing down enough as it is), I would buy my first from Roy. If your like me your very likely to run into him if you go to Missouri Town at Lake Jacomo, or Reenactments at Lone Jack Mo, or Hodge Park's historical village up in north town. He will be wearing a top hat and period clothing from the 1850's and playing a banjo with kids likely surrounding him. He does not have a website but he does have a facebook page. Just type his name in. If you want a gourd banjo or simple OT type of banjo, check his out! Roy is a delightful fellow and you will enjoy meeting him. He enjoys discussing the banjo and it's history and how to make them. I think he has a great way to enjoy his retirement and to enrich our community here in the greater KC metro. Next time your at a Civil War reenactment near KC or some historical event with any kind of demonstrators or folks with a 'booth' or tents, you just might find him. Stop and say howdy. You will be glad you did. I was.
Here is an excellent article about the McClurg Jam in tiny McClurg Mo in SW Mo where some of the best Ozark old timey musicians have played for some 25 years. Jeremy Myers is a frequent participant and he does a fine job of giving an overview. It's also a good intro to a fine magazine. I plan on subscibing myself now. Ozarks Mountaineer Magazine
Friday, October 21, 2011
I have not, so far at least, discovered a lot of old timey fiddle tunes related to faith. Christian faith specifically. I find that odd. Very odd. Can it be that the old thinking of fiddlers and fiddling being of the devil be somehow true? Well, no I don't think so. It would indicate that at one time Christians looked down on frivolous things like fiddling and the dancing that was a part of that. I well remember knowing people in SW Mo who felt that attending movies were sinful and certainly dancing was sinful. There have been controversies about dancing as recent as the ninties in SW Mo in public high schools. For those folks in big cities, this is hard to grasp but the feelings against dancing and perhaps fiddling probably remain in rural areas. What I am concerned with is the lack of much gospel music in Old Time music. You sure see it in Bluegrass. In spades. Bluegrass Gospel is bigger than ever today and you hear lots of it. Get some old time musicians together and the old tunes get played but where are the gospel tunes? Where are the heartfelt songs of Christian faith and love? I know there are some but how many and just what are ill defined for me now so my latest blogger task is to explore this better and share what I find. If you know of some good tunes that can be considered Old timey fiddle tunes of a Christian nature, please tell me. I will be postings some clips I found for starters this weekend.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Would you like to see Banjo Billy play in our area? I know I would. I would like to see if somehow I can help it happen. I don't know what I can do for sure but If I can help I will. I well remember the night he played at Mountain Music Shoppe in Shawnee Ks a few years ago along with Colin Blair. I saw my first gourd banjo played and played well, that evening. It seems that Billy felt like he really did not want to stop playing. If it was up to me he could have gone on much much longer. So, I hope somehow he can be brought back to KC or Lawrence and to play for us again