I’ve tagged this as being in A Mixolydian, but I think maybe it goes back and forth between that and A Dorian. I’m not sure how to transcribe this one, honestly, and I may have to revise it after input from a banjo player.

I won’t be attempting to play anything like this; I just love his take on it:


I’m just about ready to release a new version of the core repertoire tune book for 2020, the first change since mid-2017. I’ve removed three tunes — Boatman, Golden Slippers, and Turkey in the Straw — because I’ve decided that there are plenty of good tunes out there to play without drawing from the well of minstrel shows. I’ve seen some people say that hearing tunes that came from or were popularized by minstrelsy makes them feel unwelcome in a jam, and that’s not something I want to do. So, out they go. I’m not sure whether I’m going to keep McClanahan’s March or not; it’s pretty difficult.

Replacing them will be the following tunes:

  • (Old-Time/Mississippi) Buffalo Girls (A)
  • Clayhole Waltz (A)
  • Sweet Marie (A)
  • Abe’s Retreat (A modal)
  • Pretty Little Shoes (A mixolydian)
  • Barlow Knife (G)
  • Bound to Have a Little Fun (G)
  • Girl I Left Behind Me (G)
  • Hollow Poplar (G)
  • Rats Gone to Rest (G)
  • Susi’s Waltz (G)

I’m not quite finished — I’d like to add a few more D tunes and some more waltzes — but that’s where I am at the moment. Also, I’m going to start including “Little Billy Wilson” in the rotation. It’s been in the tune book all along, but I haven’t included it in the jams because it has three parts and I wasn’t sure that would work. Well, Barlow Knife also has three parts, and Sweet Marie is crooked, and Bound to Have a Little Fun has a longer B part, and I think they’re all good choices, so I’m not going to worry about Billy Wilson any more. We can handle a little variation in the form.

I should have the new book released and the core repertoire page updated by Monday the 20th at the latest — I want to have it done in time for the jam sessions at the Bellingham Folk Festival the next weekend.