Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May 19th
Now that we have made the big move to NYC I was able to attend one night of the Brooklyn Folk Festival. Was honored to see John Cohen from The New Lost City Ramblers play along side few of the Dustbusters.  Also was able to see Blind Boy Paxton play a set of some Old Time and Ragtime.  Hope to make it to all 3 days next year.
Good times

Wiffle Ball Banjo Toss! (banjo actually moves around)

Blind Boy Paxton

Blind Boy Paxton - Fretless Banjo

 John Cohen, Eli, Walker and Jack

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Legendary Fred Cockerham


Fred was born in 1905 and was one of the few “musicianers” in Surry County, NC that tried to make a living playing fiddle and banjo. It was a tough life but it honed Fred’s music to a razor sharp edge. While he patterned his banjo playing after Charlie Lowe, his fiddle style was patterned after Nashville’s Fiddlin’ Arthur Smith who used the long bow technique. Fred was able to adapt this more modern fiddle style to the regional Round Peak playing. His playing was driving and intense.
Fred often spoke about his days with a medicine show called the Ruby Tonic Entertainers. They sold a rhubarb salve made by the South Atlantic Chemical Company.
As Fred told Ray Alden, “We’d leave Galax in the morning and we’d play in Charlotte, North Carolina over WBT. We had an hour program over there. We’d get in the car and leave there to go to Edmund Henry, Virginia and had to do an hour that night. And then we had to be in Roanoke at 6:30 A.M. for an hour. Drive all night long, and then back in Galax and right back all around again. We did that for six months, rawhiding it all the way. At Charlotte, the first broadcast studios were air-tight, doors went together like a money safe, and when that door went together, buddy, that is it! No ventilation, we’d come outta there many a time in summertime and roll foam off our britches with our hands.”
In the 1960s he was part of the Camp Creek Boys, one of the finest old-time bands ever. Their playing influenced a couple of generations of younger old time musicians.
                                                                                                                            Tommy & Fred
 He was one of the most accomplished of all the "Round Peak," North Carolina musicians but is most commonly known as the banjo accompanist to Tommy Jarrell. He played the fiddle in a more modern style than Jarrell, but played the fretless banjo in an old clawhammer style much like that of his old mentor, Charley Lowe .

The 1st Old Time Album I ever owned is "Down to the Cider Mill" Fred Cockerham, Tommy Jarrell and Oscar Jenkins.

To learn more about Fred's life and history go to Field Recorder's Collective.

Friday, August 26, 2011

North American Banjo Builders - Now Available!!

I just received an email from Craig "frailin" Evans that the 1st North American Banjo dvd set is now available!! The“East of the Mississippi Banjo Builders” (Volume 1) (Volume 2 in the works West of the Mississippi)
It's been a long time in the making!  Should see my copy in the mail soon!
For more info click here

Your Host Craig "frailin" Evans

Here are a few sample previews:

Video of Craig playing with Donald Zepp owner of  Zepp music

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Black Twig Pickers

I recently found out about The Black Twig Pickers through a forum I responded to on titled new old time time bands.  Which I posted The Can Kickers.  Someone posted about Black Twig Pickers and I've been listening to them since.  To my surprise they were signed to Thrill Jockey Records.  So unexpected...
Banjos and fiddles, boards and bones in hand, the Black Twig Pickers dove into a living tradition of old-time music that surrounds their homes in Southwest Virginia and never looked back. Both scholars of the regional sounds and advocates of an ecstatic and highly personal approach to the music, the Twigs hold down local dance and bar gigs, play all manner of celebrations and every so often, hit the road. Along the way, Isak Howell, Nathan Bowles and Mike Gangloff kept company with some of underground America's heavyweights and haunted the doorsteps of Appalachian fiddle and banjo masters. They've played for the National Council for the Traditional Arts and for audiences overseas. And they've put out a string of acclaimed albums, including 2008's Hobo Handshake and last year's Jack Rose & the Black Twig Pickers.
Ironto Special is an album of traditional Appalachian old-time tunes (and two originals) that they've learned through study of both local old-time musicians and old-time records and field recordings. The instrumentation is all-acoustic and features some of the old-time usuals – fiddle, banjo, guitar – and some less-routinely-heard-in-today's-old-time-scene implements like washboard, bones, fiddlesticks, mouth harp and jaw harp. Plus (on one song) a one-of-a-kind baritone resonator 12-string guitar. Old-time music served, and continues to serve, a variety of functions in Appalachian life – from dance music to somber solo performance to raggier blues and everything in between. Ironto Special is an attempt to celebrate this variety in the old-time tradition through the band's process of learning and growth as they explore the music's many facets. 
                                                                                                                                  Thrill Jockey Records

Cool to see two banjo players in the band, both Mike Gangloff and Nathan Bowles play a very fine banjo among other instruments.

mike gangloff - fiddle/banjo/jawharp/vocals
nathan bowles - banjo/percussion/vocals
isak howell - guitar/mouthharp/vocals

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Legendary FiddlerTommy Jarrell - Playing Banjo

Alice Gerrard and Mike Seeger visit Tommy Jarrell in this excerpt from Yasha Aginsky's film "Homemade American Music." From the DVD "Four American Roots Music Films."
 I'm a huge fan of Tommy Jarrell and was so excited to see this video. Really wish there were more footage of him playing banjo available. 
I could have written a 5 page blog on Tommy but to learn more about him go to-

Wow I did a fiddle post...?  After all we are all playin fiddle tunes right?!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Can Kickers ~Old timey riot music for dancing~

Can Kickers - Riot Music

 I first saw the Can Kickers play at Mass Art in 2004?  I was blown away by what these dudes were playing with these small stringed instruments!  Looking back I wish I could have seen the light when I saw them back then!  7 Years later I'm still listening and inspired by these guys from New London CT.  

Taking Old Time Tunes to another level and putting their own twist such as drums and very upbeat percussion that gives a very punk vibe to the tunes.  These guys make amazing dance music.
Wish I knew how old and what banjo Daniel plays!  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

John Haywood - Old Time Music - Artist

I have a huge respect for John Haywood.  A young man that is living the way he wants, making his music and art his way of life and being a young father/husband. 
A great example to follow. Expressing his roots and keeping traditions alive through his music and art.

Haywood's strong brushwork and frugal choice of elements in the painting's composition show the idea that childhood is more than a carefree commercial for lemonade.  Benita Heath, Lexington Herald Leader.

Born in a holler in Eastern Kentucky, John Wezley Haywood saw life differently than children who grew up in more economically developed areas. He lived in a small community called Risner that was named for his Mother's family. During this time both Haywood and his community were being changed by outside influences which came into the area by means of mass communication and corporate development. Many of the traditions that had been handed down in the Eastern Kentucky region were forgotten. Today, from his home in Knott County, he paints the real Kentucky. His artwork wallows in the stereotypes and pays tribute to lifestyles that make Kentucky and Appalachia one of the most unique and celebrated places in the entire world. The paintings tell stories of hell raising hillbillies, hardened mine workers, mountain musicians, and more.

His work can currently be found at the Appalachian Artisan Center, the Mary Stewart Craft Shop, both located in Hindman, the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft in Louisville, and the Kentucky Artisan Center of Berea, as well as his studio in Knott County. Established galleries such as the Cinderblock and Swanson Reed Contemporary in Louisville, Kentucky have carried his artwork. In June 2006 he received a professional development grant from the Kentucky Arts Council for a solo exhibition in Ashland, Kentucky. In 2007 he received a Grant from the Kentucky Arts Council and Lincoln Bicentennial Commission for his painting of Abraham Lincoln. In 2009 his artwork and banjo playing was documented by the late Mike Seeger for a yet to be released Southern Banjo documentary. He is also a juried member of the Kentucky Arts Council's Visual Art at the Market program. Haywood can also be found participating in various arts and music festivals across the region.

His work has been collected by a variety of folks in an out of state. Environmental biologists, college professors, famous banjo players, disc jockeys, and tattoo artists are all proud owners of Haywood's paintings. As the list grows so does the demand for his artwork. I think that with the way things are today, people are looking for work that will connect them to something or someplace. As our culture becomes more and more homogenized, we are loosing many of the characteristics that make us unique,  he says.

Haywood currently resides at the head of Little Doubles Creek near Hindman, Kentucky with his wife, Kelli Brooke Haywood, and his daughters Deladis Rose and Ivy Pearl Haywood. He is also an award winning old time banjo player currently playing with Rich and the Po'Folk, and the Travelin' Snakes. He also performs solo.