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Top 5 Glory-Beaming Banjo Posts of 2018

This has been quite the year at The Glory-Beaming Banjo. Although things may have slowed down a bit in the last three months, 2018 marks a new high in terms of the number of posts published in a year. That last time we had more than 30 posts was our first year, in 2011. This one puts us at 40!

Aside from the quantity of posts here, I'd like to think there was some quality too. Judging by the views, it seems at least a few items caught your attention this year.

That said, here are the Top 5 posts for 2018:

1. Getting Blitzed with Tom Collins: Not just a top post for 2018, but this interview now ranks among our top posts of all time. Collins had just completed his Banjo Blitz series on YouTube. This year he launched Banjo Quest, an even more ambitious instructional video project that is well worth your attention. Check out his YouTube page.

2. Clawhammer Picks and You: A review of five different options for those in need of a pick for downstroke banjo playing. Whether you're loo…
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Second Year of Ward Jarvis: Grey Eagle and 2018 in Review

Can you believe 2018 is drawing to a close? That means it's time for a heavy dose of navelgazing to see what's built up, what needs work and perhaps what needs to be cleaned out. Back in January, I dubbed this "A Second Year of Ward Jarvis," building on the previous year's progress.

My goals were to learn four Ward Jarvis tunes on fiddle, log 186 hours of practice and play my banjo more often. The tunes on this year's list were culled from my list of common Ohio tunes, as well as one carryover from 2017.

Here are the tunes:
Three Forks of ReedyLeather BritchesForked DeerGrey Eagle Fourth Quarter Highlights The Good:  "Grey Eagle," while still a work in progress, has come along nicely. I had the opportunity to play with some folks recently, and I gave my newest tune a try for the first time in a group setting. It didn't go half bad. There are still three and a half weeks to go this year, and I think by then it'll be downright passable.

The Bad:�…

Review: Dance All Night — The Highwoods Stringband Story (2018)

The Highwoods Stringband have been revived in a brilliant new documentary film produced by Larry Edelman. Featuring narration from Paul Brown, extensive interviews and plenty of archival footage of the Highwoods in action, Dance All Night — The Highwoods StringbandStory gives a straightforward account of the band's history and their influence on the old-time scene then and now.

In addition to interviews with bandmembers Walt Koken, Bob Potts, Mac Benford, Jenny Cleland and Doug Dorchug, the film includes commentary from a number of other notable musicians, such as John Cohen, Richie Stearns, Sammy Lind and others. The film chronicles how the Highwoods got together, their extensive festival performances, their discography and diverts into amusing tales from the road, such as the time one member hitched a ride with the New Jersey State Highway Police after being left behind at a rest stop.

Produced by Piggysnout Productions and Mudthumper Music, the idea for the documentary actually…

Top Clawhammer Banjo Players as Voted Upon by You

The results are in from our recent poll. The poll was open for 15 days and received 20 votes, which doesn't really give us a real consensus, but that's OK. This was our first poll, and it was fun to see which players you all enjoy.

That's all for today. Stay tuned for a couple posts coming soon. Until then, enjoy some tunes. We'll be back soon.

Poll: Top Clawhammer Banjo Players

Greetings Banjo Friends! Election Day in the United States may have been last week, but that doesn't mean you're done voting.

I know it's been a while since our last post, as other responsibilities have been eating up my brain space. I have a couple articles in the works, but it may be a couple weeks yet before I can get to those. In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to see your top clawhammer banjo players.

Below you will find a poll with a bunch of clawhammer players, but certainly not ALL the clawhammer players out there. Pick from the list or choose "Other" at the bottom and write in your candidate.

Next week, I'll tabulate the answers and share the results. So, what are you waiting for? Get voting!

Favorite Clawhammer Banjo Player
Clarence Ashley Riley Baugus Hilarie Burhans Fred Cockerham Tom Collins Kyle Creed Dwight Diller Allison de Groot

Listen, Learn, Relisten, Relearn

Back in July, I went to Music in the Valley, an annual festival at Hale Farm, in Bath, Ohio. It was my first opportunity to play Ward Jarvis tunes with other people who also knew some of the same tunes. There was only one problem: It turns out I learned one tune the wrong way.

When I joined the jam circle at the festival, a longtime friend introduced me to local fiddler Paul Kirk and mentioned that I'd been learning Ward Jarvis tunes. I suggested "Icy Mountain" and "Head of the Creek," as I felt most comfortable with those two in particular, and because they were already playing in Cross-A (AEAE).

Paul kicked off "Icy Mountain," and I was pleased to find that we were pretty much in sync with our playing. Afterward, he turned to me to start "Head of the Creek," and it was a mess.

Everyone seemed confused, and soon I was playing to a baffled audience. At first, I chalked it up to my inexperience and discomfort in leading tunes. But then, someo…

Quarterly Report: A Forked Deer in the Road

As the third quarter of the year comes to a close, it's time to move on to the next tune on my list for this Second Year of Ward Jarvis. But first, let's reflect on the progress made over the last three months.

This quarter included a month off for a family vacation. While I was gone, I missed three great local festivals. And of course, I have fallen a bit behind the pace for my fiddle playing time goal for the year. However, I got to see some traditional Greek folk music at a village festival on the Island of Rhodes.

It was difficult to knock off the rust that accumulated in my absence, but I'm back to my routine and making up for lost time.
General Highlights Vacation ended my daily playing streak at 89 days on fiddle and 86 days on banjo. As soon as I returned, I launched a new streak that now stands at 27 days on both instruments. I've got my sights set on 100.

It was nice to get another opportunity to write another review for the forthcoming issue of The Old-Time …