Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Crawdad Song

Been working on the Crawdad Song for a bit this week and last. Part of the song tab I don’t really know how to read, so I made a bit up on the third part ending. Probably the most complicated song I've learned over the last nine months of trying to play this instrument. Still loving the new Recording King Madison banjo. So much nicer than what I was playing, before.

My daughter inspired me to learn this song. She came home a few months ago singing it. She'd learned it in her music class at school. I figured it'd be fun to play it while she sang along. I'm almost there on playing it without stumbling. Once I have it down more fluidly, I might post a video of her chiming in. If I can talk her into letting me record us.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Folk-inspired Art Series

I spent some time in Mississippi and Louisiana, recently, along the Mississippi River, in and around the town of Natchez. While I was there, I was intrigued by a lot of the African American Folk Art that I kept seeing. Much of it untrained, simply composed and bright in color. The complete opposite of the landscapes and portraits you find in all of the wealthier white antebellum homes of the area.

In June, I've agreed to show some artwork in a neighborhood-wide art show called Art in the Garden. It takes place in the Phelps Grove neighborhood, here in Springfield. (I'll be on this very front porch.) Rather than just show a bunch of my older watercolor and pen and ink works, I've decided for the next two months to work in acrylic on wood and in a more folkish style than I normally do. I've not really painted in this medium much since college. Having fun with it, though. I knocked out three small works this week, hoping to end up with maybe 20-25 pieces by June 9.

The theme is "The Ozarks", inspired by southern folk art.

Missouri bluebird - acrylic on wood

Banjo player - acrylic on wood

Continuing the acrylic on wood Ozarks series. Inspired by the folk art I saw in Mississippi last week.

Acrylic on wood - NW Arkansas Scene

Friday, March 1, 2019

Recording King "Madison" Open Backed Banjo (RK-OT25-BR)

This Recording King RK-OT25-BR Madison open backed banjo followed me home earlier this week.

A little over a week ago, I bought a very nice (to me) banjo. It's a Recording King "Madison" (RK-OT25-BR) and it sounds so much better than what I'm used to playing. The early 1970s Harmony banjo has been shelved for the foreseeable future, probably only to be brought out on camping trips, sold on Facebook Marketplace or given to a kid that really wants to learn the instrument but can't afford one. I haven't picked up the homemade cigar box banjo much, either. The new banjo is just too much fun.

This Recording King RK-OT25-BR Madison open backed banjo followed me home earlier this week.

Something cool about this banjo, especially for frailing style/clawhammer players, is the addition of a frailing scoop on the neck. It allows for playing up higher on the neck and creating a warmer, more melody-driven sound. I'm still getting used to it. When I play up the neck, it feels really mushy and awkward. The first video below, I'm doing a poor comparison of playing up the neck vs. playing over the head, like normal. The second video is just a waltz I've been working on since my lesson last Saturday.