I’ve been participating in the “tune of the month” at a Facebook group called Clawhammer Rules. This month’s tune is called Sandy River Belle. It’s a tune I used to play quite a bit in a specialized tuning known as, what else, Sandy River Belle… Read More
I belong to a group on facebook called Clawhammer Rules, a place where members typically share clean versions of tunes in the form of videos as well as other interesting things related to clawhammer banjo. Back before Christmas, the idea emerged of having a tune… Read More
Here’s an attempt at Cathy Barton’s arrangement of the Ramona Jones/Jimmie Driftwood version of Valley Forge.
There’s a fiddle tune called Rachel. In some places and by some players it’s also known as The Texas Quickstep, but everyone I know who plays it just calls it Rachel. I don’t know who Rachel was though. It’s just one of life’s mysteries. I… Read More
There are two Cairos. One of course is in Egypt. The other (the one referred to in the song) is at the southern end of Illinois in the United States, the place where the Ohio River spills into the Mississippi. This is an old tune.… Read More
I’ve been playing some of those dark “modal” tunes lately. Here’s one, called The Clinch Mountain Backstep. I believe this one comes to us from the late great Ralph Stanley, who played it with bluegrass picks rather than clawhammer (although he was a mighty clawhammer… Read More
This tune is attributed to West Virginia fiddler Lee Triplett.
A lot of the tunes we play in old time music are in fact really, really old – but not all of them. There have been many great tunes written over the past 50 years which have become standards for old time players. I met… Read More
The river is the Scioto River in Ohio, but the source for the tune is apparently Burl Hammons from West Virginia. I’ve just learned from a banjo player in Ohio that the river is spelled Scioto and pronounced Sciota, but the tune is pronounced Scioty. … Read More
I know this tune as a French Canadian reel, but I think it’s also played in Scotland as The Grand Chain. I don’t now who had it first. I learned it at Midwest Banjo Camp from Cathy Barton Para. It’s curious that a guy from… Read More