06 April 2020

The banjo is a voice

Chris Coole (photo: Tyler Knight)

The BIB editor writes:

The banjo is often regarded as a mechanical device capable of producing a stream of staccato notes. It is indeed often played that way, and it's well suited to that treatment. I had myself been involved with banjos for a long time before the lightbulb moment came from listening (not for the first time) to an early Flatt & Scruggs recording. The revelation was that the banjo is a voice.

This is well shown by clawhammerist Chris Coole (CAN) in this video of him playing 'Turkey in the straw' together with bones player Clif Ervin at the 2008 Midwest Banjo Camp. Chris Coole played in Ireland (not for the first time) at the beginning of last year as a member of the Lonesome Ace Stringband.

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