20 September 2022

Jim Pankey at Crawford Banjos, Ballynahinch, Co. Down

Prior to this evening, the BIB believed that Jim Pankey was last here as banjo-player for the Hamilton County Ramblers of Chattanooga, TN, in 2016 when they played at the Woodbine Bluegrass Jamboree, at the Ardara Bluegrass Festival, and as instructors at the first Bluegrass Camp Ireland. Now, we're not so sure: Jim has just added the video above to his YouTube channel, and began receiving comments from Ireland at once. So what other private visits may he have made in the last six years?

Be that as it may, the video introduces Crawford Banjos (also on Facebook), made by Robert Crawford in Ballynahinch, Co. Down, with the aid of machinery much of which dates from the nineteenth century; but the design and workmanship are clearly of a very high order, and the results look and sound beautiful. The video shows chiefly a slotted-head fretless with brass-plated fingerboard and many individual touches; Facebook shows instruments that include tack-head, gourd, and other old-time banjos, but bluegrass banjos are also made. Well worth checking out.

© Richard Hawkins

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