Just caught the tunes from your recording.... In my opinion they are fabulous!!! It is so delightful to see/hear original composition, lyrics and performance with an early style fretless banjo. I very much enjoy contemporary narrative song writing and performance. And wow!! What a fine looking banjo!
I think what struck me is the contrast between the antique and the contemporary without viewing the antique as an artifact but rather as a viable instrument. and then combining it with a narative voice speaking of the now. If that makes any sense. I don't think of the banjo as a particularly mellow instruement... Kind of harsh in fact. I viewed the performance as kind of minimalist in that it was sparce and a little raw. I will listen to them again to clarify my feelings but to me your performance was quite unusual both in tone and content. I am always thrilled when I am surprised, and I was surprised.
I play, (tenor banjo and mandolin primarily) but mainly for myself, or maybe, as my wife might say, to irritate her.... (joke!). I am fairly skilled and have a good ear, but tend to clench up when trying to play for others and would never attempt to sing for an audience.... Thus I haven't gotten up the courage to submit anything, but I love the idea of the contemporary narrative as heard in your tunes.
His accompaniment sounds quite complicated to me, with the guitar I just strum sometimes and sometimes just arpeggio.
I like the look of your tackhead banjo. I've just been buying a new "old " Classic banjo and would like to get a gourd banjo in the not too distant future. I like the sound of the lower tuning for singing.
Hey, Just listened to your 2 songs on My Space. Great work! It's great to see the banjo being used in different applications. I do have music to share. Go to my profile and click Videos on the left side. I've only posted one, but it's actually a link to a 19 song playlist of the little 1800's trio I play with, Roscoe, Lee & Abadie.
I bought that banjo from a friend. It does have a nice sound, although I think the guy who made it was new to the game. It's definitely not "really" period authentic for the mid 1800's, but it's closer than my bluegrass banjo (an archtop Stewart MacDonald that was custom made for me as a college graduation present back in '81). But the key to the sound on the fretless is the strings. When I bought it, the previous owner had light gauge metal strings on it. I changed those out for nylgut strings, and the quality of the sound immediately improved. As far as those video's go, the poor sound was due to the placement of the camera and the fact that we couldn't run a feed from the soundboard directly to the camera. We do have one CD, Songs of the Old South, that we self-produced, and we're working on our next one, "Spirituals of the Old South".
I live in a pretty small town (Paris) so there's not really much right around home. (Well, actually there's a really good clawhammer player in town whom I've known for 30 years - we just hardly ever get together and play unless we have some kind of gig)
There are quite a few old-timey players in Toronto these days and I believe they must get together but that's a loop I'm not really in. Arnie Naiman and Chris Coole are the ringleaders it might be worth Googling them.
Yes--we just put out Drumming On the Edge of Banjo last year. We were so lucky to have Yazid as our Afro/Caribbean drummer. (He used over 50 different percussion instruments on this cd--everything from djembes, congas to pots and pans and the windchime outside my front door. :) George Clinton (yes--that George Clinton) even sings on "John Bowlin's Groundhog Strut" with us. :)
It's available on itunes, Pandora, cdbaby, Amazon, Elderly, and of course from my website :)