22 September 2020

Good news for lovers of clawhammer banjo music

Yesterday (21 Sept.) Adam Hurt (USA) announced on his 'clawhammerist' YouTube channel that from 1 October Back to the earth, his new album of music played on the gourd banjo, will be available for pre-order. The title harks back to Earth tones (see cover image), his third album and the first that he devoted to the gourd banjo. The new album will comprise both solos and collaborations.

BIB editor's note: This is some of the best news I've heard this year. When it was announced last year that the Steve Martin banjo prize had gone to another clawhammer player, my first thought was 'Is Adam Hurt dead?' Fortunately, he isn't.
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Ken Perlman (USA), father of 'melodic clawhammer', announces that he will teach a series of online clinics via Zoom on intermediate and advanced clawhammer banjo topics over the next few months. Both the first two are for players at intermediate level and upward. The first, 'Syncopation in clawhammer: a systematic approach', will be held on Monday 5 Oct. from 7.30 to 9.00 p.m. Eastern Time; entrants should be familiar with drop-thumbing, hammering-on, and pulling-off. Tickets ($20) can be bought here. The second, 'Strategies for playing up the neck in clawhammer', will be held two weeks later at the same time, and tickets (also $20) can be bought here.

Ken is a little hard on David 'Stringbean' Akeman, the first 5-string banjo-player in Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys (Earl Scruggs was the second). Akeman, who had been hired basically as a comedian, wasn't 'replaced' for reluctance to play up the neck; he had quit to form a duo with Lew Childre. See Tom Ewing's magisterial Bill Monroe: the life and music of the Blue Grass Man, pp 118, 128-9.

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