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Showing posts from April, 2012

The Great Banjo Obsession

Greetings Banjo Newsletter readers! Check out some excerpts from my interview with Riley Baugus that didn't make it into the article in the April issue of BNL.

* * *  If you're reading this site, chances are you're already obsessed with the banjo. In commiseration with our affliction, our good friend Craig "Frailin" Evans wrote a piece for the Huffington Post, appropriately titled "Obsessed: The Banjo."

Evans is busy wrapping up the second volume of his banjo builder documentary, which we wrote about back in June 2011. Since then, he has finished the first volume, Banjo Builders East of the Mississippi, which is now available from the project website, Conversations with North American Banjo Builders, as well as through the Banjo Hangout. You can also watch each 20-minute episode online on a pay-per-view basis. Soon, both volumes will be available through Smithsonian Folkways. The second volume will feature Banjo Builders West of the Mississippi.

But bac…

Riley Baugus: The Excerpts

The April 2012 issue of the Banjo Newsletter includes my article about Riley Baugus in the quarterly section Old-Time Way. Baugus is a considerate and insightful musician and gave me so many thoughtful answers that I couldn't possibly include it all in the space provided. Here are some excerpts from the interview that didn't make the cut:

On his uncle, who was one of his banjo teachers: "I had an uncle from Sparta, that played in an old-time stringband when he was a young man. He moved up to Fredericksburg, Va., in the early 1960s with his family. He followed some friends there to cut timber. Their plan was to stay for six months. Just long enough to cut one tract of timber and then come back home to the mountains. He and his family still live there. He's 85 now. He played guitar mostly, but got a banjo back in the late ‘60s and learned to play it pretty well, two-finger style. I loved the sound of the banjo. It was incredible. He taught me a bit."

On his early day…