Currently Reading:

Desert Solitaire
by Edward Abbey

Banjo Haiku

Banjo Haiku
Cathy Fink
Banjo Haiku
Aside from the accordion, perhaps no instrument as gotten such a bum rap as the banjo. One seldom sees movies in which toothless hillbillies play the oboe. Nope, it’s always banjo. I’ve never actually seen Deliverance, but get asked about it whenever I uncase my banjo in non-banjo-appreciating circles. So, once and for all: no, I will not play “Dueling Banjos” for you. For one, I don’t play finger style. Secondly, there’s only one of me, which makes the “dueling” part kind of difficult. I would, however, be happy to play “Soldier’s Joy”, “Poor Liza Jane”, or “Old Joe Clark.” Probably for hours at a time. Even once you ask me to stop.
banjo Banjo Haiku is kind of nice, but then again, I’m just learning to play claw hammer banjo. An album of 24 solo banjo tunes is probably not everybody’s idea of great music. Fair enough. But for those of us trying to pick up new tunes, this album is a Great Thing. Not only does the fact that it’s solo claw hammer banjo make the tunes easy to pick out, but the tunings for each have also been thoughtfully provided in the liner notes. Fink plays the tunes quickly, but not so quickly that the notes become indistinct. She does some things that would probably be rhythmically odd if there were fiddle accompaniment, but since there isn’t, it works fairly well. It’s not the sort of album that I would necessarily listen to on a long car ride, but as a primer for learning tunes, Banjo Haiku is vastly useful.
I’ll have to look for something similar once I get my accordion fixed.

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