Thursday, June 15, 2023


 Process is everything. Process is boring. Process is hard work. Process is all you have sometimes. 

Lately, I have been thinking about what I do. I play music. I play banjo. I play guitar. I play music. Sometimes I play fiddle and mandolin. Sometimes I sing. I love to sing. Actually I love all of it. 

I play folk music. I play jazz. I play bluegrass. I play rock music. I play Irish music. I love playing all these types of music. Sometimes I wish I just played music. All kinds of music but mixed together in a big stew. Sometimes I wish I could play more than one instrument at a time. 

I was reading about gratitude earlier today. I am grateful to have friends that I can play music with. I am grateful that people are interested in the music I record and perform live. 

Last month I played a weekly gig (5 shows!) at the Rex with my Jazz Banjo group. It features Aline Homzy, Andrew Downing and Kelsley Grant. These people are fantastic musicians but also really fun to play with. They were so supportive of my ideas, experiments, new tunes, old tunes etc. I was listening back to our fifth show and I think we really found some great moments within the tunes I had chosen. It is challenging to know what our roles are in this group. There are not a lot of banjo, bass, trombone and violin records to study or borrow ideas from. I certainly try to use other groups with different orchestration for direction but it is a challenge. 

Even my approach on the banjo. I don't really know what I am striving for. As a jazz guitarist (my former life?) there is a history and a groundwork; actually many different groundworks or paths you can learn from, emulate and try to master. On the banjo, I don't really have these options. Bela Fleck has recorded some great records and has taken the banjo down many paths. I am grateful to have those records to listen to. 

So Long Seven, the world music group that I have played banjo in for ten years has been a great learning experience. I am grateful for that. (great friends and great musicians!) We all compose in SL7 so I have had to find ways to make the 5-string banjo sound good in our music. Sometimes the guys write things that are really hard to play on the banjo and I love the challenge. 

It is interesting how much easier it can still be for me to play guitar. I guess the challenge is what keeps me coming back to the banjo. 

One in every three people in North America play guitar. I don't blame them. It is fun. 


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