04 February 2022

Assorted goodies

The Bluegrass Situation (BGS) online magazine has an ongoing series under the title 'BGS top 50 moments'. The second in the series, compiled by BGS staff, introduces a special behind-the-scenes sound-check video from 2013, featuring Sam Bush and Del McCoury, longtime friends who were then touring as a duo. The four-and-a-half minute video, which can also be seen on YouTube, includes a brief snatch of Del playing 5-string banjo, which he had rarely done in public in the previous fifty years. The BGS staff write that he

actually started his career in Bill Monroe’s band as the banjo player before being shuffled to guitar

- but this needs clarification. Del had played banjo with several groups before Monroe heard him play in February 1963 and offered him a job. He had not, however, joined the Blue Grass Boys before Monroe heard Bill Keith and offered him a job as well. The two of them auditioned together on 15 March 1963 and, as Keith later put it, 'it was clear to all of us that Del could play guitar much better than I, and I believe I had the edge in banjo playing.' So when they both went on stage for the first time with Monroe, Keith was the banjo player. (Tom Ewing, Bill Monroe: the life and music of the Blue Grass Man (2018), pp 251-4).
Banjo Hangout's video section includes a thirteen-minute video by Eddie Collins (also on YouTube), 'Five great banjo players we lost in 2021' - John Hickman, Dennis Caplinger, Bill Emerson, Sonny Osborne, and J.D. Crowe - giving a deeper appreciation of their contribution to banjo history.

Bluegrass Today began last month a series entitled 'My favorite J.D. Crowe lick' (see the BIB for 17 Jan.). Eddie Collins posted in Oct. 2020 on YouTube a nine-minute video, '15 cool J.D. Crowe licks', including tablature for each lick.
The Fretboard Journal editor Jason Verlinde has conducted a half-hour podcast interview with Chris Eldridge, guitarist of Punch Brothers, on the making of their album Hell on Church Street as a tribute to Tony Rice.

© Richard Hawkins

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