Yes, I am still pickin and forging ahead on my goal to be a decent banjo player– and find a pair of blue cowboy boots!
Spring 2014 I attended my second Bluegrass Banjo Camp in Weiser, Idaho with workshops provided by Bill Evans, Jason Homey and Gary Eller.
Participants enjoyed a lively musical weekend of jamming, enjoying old friends as well as meeting new banjo players and other musicians. Marlene and I walked on the wild side when we stayed up late (10 pm) one night for a terrific Bluegrass concert, and then texted our kooky antics to her husband, Jerry.
What! – After all that banjo activity and fun I ended up taking a three-month break from playing.
The lull resulted from a flurry of work related traveling, dealing with a recurring health issue, and finally the labor involved in the decision to sell my house. That involved sorting, packing, dumping, and carting off boxes of stuff to the youth ranch. While I contracted out for major repairs and painting the interior to neutral beige, I put in hours on yard work and miscellaneous tasks that involved multiple trips to Home Depot.
By late August, my life was somewhat settled as I relocated to my brother’s house during the selling process. During that time, I realized I was close to setting the banjo aside as I had done in my early twenties. At the same time those “quit” thoughts entered my mind, I received an email from Jason asking if I was ready to begin lessons again. I scheduled one to get back to the pickin’ of my banjo. I confessed to Jason I had not touched the banjo for three months and the purpose of our first lesson was simply my commitment to not quitting.
Finally the house sold and the weekend of December 6, I moved to a charming apartment. Free from the do to list of home ownership that involved time, worry, and money, I continue to play, practice, and get to the Wednesday evening beginner jam.
I purchased a sturdy case for my Deering Goodtime travel banjo that got a test run when I flew to Chicago for the Thanksgiving holiday. The banjo case instigated smiles and conversations with people throughout the airport. The baggage check guy, a guitar player for sixty years, spent a long time talking with me in spite of people in line behind me. He gave me advice on technique, music books to buy, and bluegrass festivals to attend.
I look forward to my banjo pickin life, adventures and Bluegrass Banjo Camp 2015 in Weiser, Idaho, and plan to get out to other festivals and camps throughout the year.