are all taken from jam sessions and practices held in my living
room. All were pretty much first takes, so they are occasionally
rough, but I hope they are entertaining and show a lot of
enthusiasm for the music.
Wry Whiskey was
an old timey band that I belonged to a few years ago. Brian
Clancey is the guitar picker on the Wry Whiskey tunes; he
now plays with fiddler Robin Warren, they perform under name
Fiddle. Tom Speth, playing bass and singing lead on Knoxville
Girl, played for many years with Willow Creek, a popular Boston
area bluegrass band. The three of us played together for several
years. Later, we were joined by Richie Chaisson on the resophonic
guitar, and eventually Brian Clancey moved on to play with
Spirit Fiddle, and was replaced by the late Gene Kettlehohn.
The group eventually broke up when I got too busy to practice.
Richie has since joined the Pine
Hill Ramblers, a popular Boston area bluegrass band.
I often pick
these days with clawhammer picker and banjo historian Ed Britt,
who lives one town over. Ed is the banjo picker for the Boston
area old-time band Blunt Instruments, and is the designer
of the fancy Grand Artist Renaissance model Ome banjo. lately,
we have been busking about once a week in Harvard Square,
Click to hear Ed and I busking in Harvard Square
My Creole Belle
That Shakes the Barley
On Top of the World
to hear my jam with Mark "Clawgrass" Johnson at the
Second Maryland Banjo Academy
the honor of jamming with Mark Johnson at the second Maryland
Banjo Academy back inn 1997, and it was inspiring and a great
pleasure. He thinks considerably beyond the box. I was struck
by how gracefully and boldy he improvised melodically, rare among
clawhammer pickers. One of the tunes from our jam session provided
the musical background to a collage of video images for the official
video, prepared by the J. David wells Studio, Lynchburg, Virginia.
Click on the image above to see the video clip.
Nest is an old English reel. Mark has it on his CD called Bridging
the Gap, which is available from his website.
and Ed Britt
the Cradle, Joe
on the Water
& Borchelt CD Available
and Don Couchie
in the Mountain
Got Mud Between Her Toes
This summer (2009),
I had the chance to meet and pick "in the flesh"
with my Banjo Hangout on-line friend Don Couchie, from North
Bay, Ontario. Don was camped next to me on "Geezer Hill,"
and we ended up swapping tunes for most of the week. Don is
an extremely talented picker, and can pick up a new tune far
faster (and accurately) than I can. He had only played Last
Chance for just a few minutes of warm up before I turned on
the recorder. Just plain amazing. Don is playing fiddle on
Last Chance and Sourwood Mountain, and melodic clawhammer
banjo on Barlowe Knife. When he's not playing old time banjo,
Don plays with Don
Couchie and the Spirit of Bluegrass.
Most of the Wry
Whiskey audio recordings were made on a Tascam Porta 07, or
Portastudio 424. These are analog cassette machines, both
allow up to four tracks to be recorded simultaneously. The
424 is the current model, and compared to digital, is very
inexpensive. The mixing was done on the Tascam with the line
out plugged directly into the line in port on the Soundblaster
card in my PC. Back then, I used CoolEdit 2000 to further
edit the recordings as needed. Most of the
recordings with Ed Britt were made using my Toshiba laptop
computer with a Tascam US-122 USB audio interface, and using
the Cubase LE software which came packaged with the Tascam
unit to do the recording and editing. So far I have been reasonably
happy with the results, although I do think the analog results
were a little warmer.
with Don Couchie were made on my hand-held Tascam DR-1.
to check out the videos from my "guest appearance"
with the Austin Torpedoes, one of Boston finest
country music bands.
copyright 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 by Donald J. Borchelt, all rights