May 2017 Jam

The May jam is in the meeting room of the Northeast branch of the Seattle Public Library, 6801 35th Ave NE, from 2pm to 4pm on Saturday, May 20th.

Tunes from the core repertoire to be played in May are:

  • Arkansas Traveler (D)
  • Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine (D)
  • Spotted Pony (D)
  • St. Anne’s Reel (D)
  • Swannanoa Waltz (D)
  • Jeff City (G)
  • Nail That Catfish to a Tree (G)
  • Red Wing (G)
  • Shove That Pig’s Foot… (G)
  • Turkey in the Straw (G)

You can find the full list of core tunes, including a downloadable PDF tunebook with sheet music and chords, at http://slowerthandirt.org/core-tunes/

After that, the next scheduled jams are:

  • May 27, NW Folklife Festival (Armory Loft), 3pm–4pm
  • June 17, Lake City, 1:30pm–3:30pm
  • July 15, Lake City, 1:30pm–3:30pm
  • August 19, Northgate, 2pm–4pm
Posted in Slow Jams

International Women’s Day

(Cross-posted from Josh’s blog.)

In honor of International Women’s Day, here’s a post about women who play old-time music. There’s a perception that old-time is a genre mainly for and by old white men. I’ll grant that the old-time scenes I’m aware of are awfully white, but a lot of musicians I respect are women. Here are some of them, with the only selection criteria being that they’re living and they’re the ones I thought of during my commute this morning:

Alice Gerrard

Anna Roberts-Gevalt

Aoife O’Donovan

Betse Ellis

Brittany Haas

Brittany NewellHanna TraynhamKate Lichtenstein, & Katy Harris: The Barn Owls



Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer

Cayley Schmid

Charmaine Slaven

Elizabeth LaPrelle

Anna and Elizabeth

Emily Schaad

Erynn Marshall

Gabrielle Macrae

Gabrielle Macrae, Joanna Macrae, & Marian Macrae Herrmann: The Macrae Sisters

Grace Forrest

Jane Rothfield

Judy Hyman

Kaia Kater

Mary Z Cox

Maya Whitmont

I can’t find any videos of Maya playing, but she’s a fine musician in addition to being the archivist of the Canotes’ string band class.

Rachel Eddy

Rayna Gellert

Rhiannon Giddens

Sandy Bradley

Sandy Bradley was a real presence for me, growing up in Seattle in the ’80s and ’90s. She was a big part of Seattle’s square dance revival in the 70s, and her “Potluck” variety show on the radio informed a lot of my musical tastes (and I hear a lot of the Canotes, who were the house band, in my playing now). My first fiddle and bass were bought at the instrument auction she ran at Folklife. She dropped out of the scene around the late 90s, and recordings are hard to find now. Finding a used copy of Hollow Rock Legacy is probably your best bet. Here’s the first part of a more recent three part interview with her:

Sarah Comer

Sarah Jarosz

Sara Watkins

Tashina Clarridge

Tatiana Hargreaves

Tricia Spencer

Vivian Williams

Zoe Darrow

Bonus videos:



Posted in Blog

Lily of the Valley (from Luther Davis)

I’m thinking of including this tune in the Slower Than Dirt core repertoire. It’s a lovely tune which sounds good slow, and it has a predictable structure without being boring. I think I first heard it on the podcast Get Up In The Cool, in the episode with Adam Hurt. That’s where the audio below comes from, at any rate. The podcast is hosted by Cameron DeWhitt, and he’s the other banjo player in this recording:

(OMG, DeWhitt’s chords around 3:30 are tasty.)

If you search, you can find a source recording from Luther Davis. I personally find some of them kind of painful to listen to, as they must have been recorded when he was in his 90s, past his prime playing years. But if you don’t mind that sort of thing, there’s a fairly listenable recording starting at 23 minutes into this tape. (I disagree with the chords the guitar player’s using, though.)

This tune is in Hilary Dirlam’s All-In-One Old Time Jam Book, Volume 2 where there’s banjo tab and standard notation, and I’ll get my own transcription into the tunebook as well.

Posted in Tunes

Tunes played in May – September, 2016

I’ve been bad about posting the list of tunes played at jams for the last few months; sorry about that! Rather than make a new post for each of them, I’m just going to do an omnibus update.

May 2016

May’s jam was held as a short workshop at the Northwest Folklife Festival, all in the key of D:

  • Soldier’s Joy
  • Spotted Pony
  • Arkansas Traveler
  • Eighth of January
  • Marching Through Georgia

June 2016

  • Cripple Creek (A)
  • Red Haired Boy (A)
  • June Apple (A)
  • Boil ’em Cabbage Down (A)
  • Ashokan Farewell (D)
  • Spotted Pony (D)
  • Over The Waterfall (D)
  • Angelina Baker (D)
  • Midnight on the Water (D)
  • Mississippi Sawyer (D)
  • The Boys of Bluehill (D)
  • Soldier’s Joy (D)
  • St. Anne’s Reel (D)
  • Turkey in the Straw (D)
  • Westphalia Waltz (D)

July 2016

I think it was mostly guitar players and me for a while, so there was more singing this month than usual. I should probably try to have more singable songs in the repertoire, because that’s fun too.

  • Red River Valley (G)
  • Crawdad Song (G)
  • She’ll Be Coming ‘Round The Mountain (A)
  • Polly Wolly Doodle (G)
  • Golden Slippers (D)
  • Wildwood Flower (C)
  • Banks of the Ohio (G)
  • Arkansas Traveler (D)
  • Soldier’s Joy (D)
  • Just a Closer Walk With Thee  (A)
  • Church in the Wildwood (C)
  • Angelina Baker (D)
  • West Fork Girls (D)
  • Green Willis (D)
  • Ida Red (G)

August 2016

Listening to the recording from this month, I didn’t do a very good job of keeping the pace down. Sorry about that; I’ve been thinking of bringing a metronome to keep myself honest.

  • Barlow Knife (G)
  • Girl I Left Behind Me (G)
  • Ida Red (G)
  • Red Wing (G)
  • Rat’s Gone to Rest (G)
  • Cripple Creek (A)
  • Boil ’em Cabbage Down (A)
  • Boatman (A)
  • Old Joe Clark (A)
  • Sandy Boys (A)
  • Soldier’s Joy (D)
  • St. Anne’s Reel (D)
  • Angelina Baker (D)
  • Spotted Pony (D)

September 2016

  • Angelina Baker (D)
  • Soldier’s Joy (D)
  • Mississippi Sawyer (D)
  • St. Anne’s Reel (D)
  • Over the Waterfall (D)
  • Spotted Pony (D)
  • Coleman’s March (D)
  • Old Joe Clark (A)
  • Cluck Old Hen (A)
  • Cripple Creek (A)
  • Sandy Boys (A)
  • Red Haired Boy (A)
  • The Blackest Crow (A)

Ok, caught up!

 

Posted in Blog Tagged with:

Dusty Strings Jam, 2016/05/08

It was Mother’s Day, so turnout was a little light; thanks to Sarah and Sarah’s mom for making the trip into Seattle to host! Here’s what we played:

  • Old Joe Clark (A)
  • Soldier’s Joy (D)
  • Red-Haired Boy (A)
  • Tune of the Month: Goofus
  • Pig Ankle Rag
  • Mole in the Ground
  • Temperance Reel
  • Petronella
  • Sarah Armstrong’s
  • Washington’s March
  • Cherry River Line
  • Whiskey Before Breakfast
  • Little Rabbit, Where’s Your Mama?
  • Bouchard’s Hornpipe
  • Forked Ear
  • Banks of the Ohio
  • Rakes of Kildare
  • Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine
  • Midnight on the Water

(I’ll come back and add keys tomorrow.)

 

Posted in Dusty Strings Jam

Folklife Participation

I’ve written a tool to display opportunities for participation at Northwest Folklife — their schedule browser (which provides all the information on my page) isn’t great at grouping things like that together, and I thought it might be nice to have all the workshops, dances, jams, and sing-alongs on the same page.

You can find it at http://slowerthandirt.org/folklife-participation/

Posted in Blog

Tunes Played in March, 2016

Huh! Looks like I forgot to write up the March tunes last month. Sorry about that! It was a somewhat abbreviated session, due to another group having the room booked; thanks to all who made it out! Here’s what we played:

Key of A:

  • Boil the Cabbage Down
  • Cripple Creek
  • Oh, Susanna
  • Cluck Old Hen
  • Red Haired Boy
  • Sandy Boys
  • Kitchen Girl
  • Little Liza Jane

Key of D:

  • Eighth of January
  • St. Anne’s Reel
  • Spotted Pony
  • Pig Ankle Rag
  • Soldier’s Joy

 

Posted in Blog Tagged with:

Tunes Played in April, 2016

It’s really feeling like Spring all of a sudden. Thanks to everyone who came to the library on a beautiful day! Here’s what we played:

Key of G:

  • Rat’s Gone to Rest
  • Off to California
  • Red Wing
  • Turkey in the Straw
  • The Girl I Left Behind Me
  • Seneca Square Dance

Key of D:

  • Soldier’s Joy
  • Spotted Pony
  • Over the Waterfall
  • Angelina Baker
  • Arkansas Traveler
  • Whiskey Before Breakfast

Back to G for a “Whiskey” theme:

  • Farewell to Whiskey

Reminder: next month’s jam is late in the month, at the Folklife Festival! We’ll be in the Armory Loft workshop space (upstairs from the main Armory stage) from 12pm to 1pm on Sunday, May 29.

Posted in Blog Tagged with:

Dusty Strings Jam, 2016/03/13

This jam was officially canceled due to high winds, but I figured the room would be open and there would probably be folks who didn’t see the Facebook post announcing the cancellation, so I headed down. It was interesting to see who showed up when it was people who had heard there was a jam, but who weren’t following Sarah on Facebook or on the email list the note went out to. For a couple folks, it was their first old-time jam! Here’s what we played:

  • Golden Slippers (G)
  • Turkey in the Straw (G)
  • Chicken Reel (D)
  • Soldier’s Joy (D)
  • Liberty (D)
  • Banks of the Ohio (A)
  • Faded Love
  • Jambalaya (on the Bayou)
  • Wayfaring Stranger
  • Jamaican Farewell
  • Sandy River Belle (G)
  • The Girl I Left Behind Me (G)
  • Red-Haired Boy (A)
  • (Ballydesmond Polka) Matt’s Polka
  • Tennessee Waltz
  • Pig Ankle Rag
  • Lost Highway (C)

And that’s where my recorder ran out of battery, alas. There were three or four more songs and tunes played, but the only one I remember now is Jeff City/Bill Caton’s.

I’ll come back and fill in the missing key information a bit later, when I’m near an instrument I can check my guesses against.

Posted in Dusty Strings Jam

Tunes played in February, 2016

We took a month off in January, so happy (belated) new year! Here’s what we played in February:

Key of D:

  • Soldier’s Joy
  • Julianne Johnson
  • Spotted Pony
  • Arkansas Traveler
  • Angeline the Baker
  • Mississippi Sawyer

Key of A:

  • Old Joe Clark
  • Cripple Creek
  • Sandy Boys
  • Red-Haired Boy
  • Campbell’s Farewell to Redgap

Key of G:

  • Rat’s Gone to Rest
  • Turkey in the Straw

Thanks to all who came!

Posted in Blog Tagged with: