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My Epiphany

Posted by FretlessinTexas on Saturday, December 26, 2009

Note: This blog is identical to the one posted on my Banjo Hangout page. -- Dean

My epiphany, my awakening, my turning point with the banjo took place 15-17 years ago at the Tennessee Valley Old-Time Fiddlers' Convention in Athens, Ala. I really think it's why I'm playing banjo today.

I had placed an open-back banjo on the ground, leaning against a tree. I was standing there and watching the music onstage, when an old man, probably in his 70s or 80s, approached me. "That your banjo there?" he asked.

"Yes sir."
"Do you play in the old-style, clawhammer?"
"Yes sir."
"You follow me."

So I did and life has never been the same since. The old man turned out to be an old-time fiddle player and while he never may have realized it, he brought me out of the closet, so to speak. That night, I performed with him onstage with an impromptu, put together old-time string band. I'm sure I was just about awful that night, but it was huge turning point. Never again would I shut myself away with my banjo. From then on, I was turned loose on a whole new world. My only regret is that I never got that old man's name.


“The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cock sure and the intelligent are full of doubt.” -- Bertrand Russell


If the weather cooperates, my close friend Gil Sewell, an old-time fiddle player from Pikeville, Tenn., will be visiting my home for three or four days in mid-January. We will play the Firefly Coffee House here in Fort Wayne on Friday, Jan. 15, as the "Dogtrotters." On Saturday, the 16th, we will join the Spy Run String Band and play a contra dance at the University of Saint Francis.  On Sunday, we'll go to church and then figure out something to do in the afternoon. With tongue in cheek, Gilbert, who has a real archaic style to his playing, refers to midwestern and New England fiddle tunes, some of which he begrudgingly likes, as "Yankee tinkle music." We both generally prefer southern Appalachian tunes.


On Aug. 19, 2007, an oil tanker off the coast of Austrailia split in two, dumping 20,000 tons of crude oil into the ocean. A member of the Australian Parliament appeared on a TV news program to reassure the public. See link below for interview.


Most important, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. God Bless


3 comments on “My Epiphany”

robinja Says:
Sunday, December 27, 2009 @5:37:48 PM

Hi, Dean, are you lost? Glad you and Gil have some fun planned!

FretlessinTexas Says:
Sunday, December 27, 2009 @7:41:05 PM

Robin, why yes, yes I am.

robinja Says:
Tuesday, December 29, 2009 @2:38:51 PM

"Yankee tinkle music" - I'm gonna have to break that one out sometime. Pretty much my sentiments about certain tunes, until I learn to play them, that is! Happy New Year, Dean! Let us know if you're coming down Atlanta way. -Judy

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