Monthly archives: May, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!


















I just want to wish everyone including those that served with me, before me, after me and their families,friends and neighbors a very happy Memorial Day.

I had a great time in the United States Air Force and I still have friends from those days. It’s hard to believe that 2012 marked 20 years since left the service. I still remember those times like it was yesterday. The only thing that I wouldn’t want to relive is the medication we all had to take before Desert Storm.

I’ll be back in June with new videos and new projects. Until then, enjoy your Memorial Day and God Bless you all.


Dr. Scott Rehearsal

Dr. Scott has decided to record a few songs at a local recording studio and asked some of us to join him. We had a really fun rehearsal. I think this will be a fun time and his recordings will turn out great!

Back In The Saddle and The Folksinger’s Guide To Clawhammer and Frailing Banjo


As the old saying goes, when it rains it pours.

After the last couple of blog entries, I was happily contemplating a short retirement to enjoy Amber’s last years before college. I figured that by then, I would be ready to jump back into something and be refreshed. What I didn’t count on was the great people who have been helped in some small way by my videos and books. I want to thank each and every one of you that have gone out of your way to say some very nice things about what I do. After some serious contemplation, I will be back very, very soon.

I would be lying if I said that I don’t thoroughly enjoy making my videos, teaching and helping out anyone who asks. It has really been a great thing and I enjoy every single minute. It is a great feeling when someone you don’t know sends you a message from out of the blue thanking you for showing them how to play their favorite song or understanding a technique they had read about.

I had decided to go back to creating videos and teaching full time again when the other shoe dropped. There has been only one gig in the last 5 years that I have actually pursued. Usually someone calls me and then I’ll either do it, or give it to someone else. I’ve really enjoyed the intimacy of playing in a living room or backyard of someone’s home. I was getting the itch to go back on the road, but I didn’t really feel like scratching it yet. I had decided to perform at one place that is always great and treats me like family. I was ready to go there and do my thing when my email inbox starting filling up with potential gigs around the Midwest from out of the blue.

Needless to say, I said yes to all of them. I didn’t even hesitate. The itch was there and now it was being handed to me, so I just took it.

Now for those of you counting at home, that’s three full time jobs. My regular job, teaching and videos and now back to the pubs. What that means is that there will probably be less time for the teaching and videos so I have to prioritize what I want to do. Teaching means money, but the videos help many for free. What I decided after about 30 seconds of thinking about it is, my teaching is going to have to be scaled back. My plan is to still offer two videos a week, when I can and I’ll fit in lessons around everything else. Luckily, I’ve had a lot of “graduations” in the last few months so I am just not going to fill those slots.

If that was enough of a plateful to make a glutton think twice, I’ve decided to finish a project that I’ve been working on for a while. I had recorded some video of basic frailing/clawhammer techniques and gave them  to get feedback and pointers. It seems that I am on to something that can help people play banjo, so I am going to re-record the videos and produce them for purchase.

The project is called “The Folksinger’s Guide to Clawhammer and Frailing Banjo”. It covers all of the basics to get someone started on their journey to accompanying themselves and others with the 5-string banjo. It includes subjects such from tuning the banjo to the basic strum to drop thumbing to using the capo. It was a lot of fun making the prototype, but I am really looking forward to making the final copy.

So the plate is full, but I am still taking the weekend off!!! I’ll be back soon and until then, thank you very, very much for sticking with me!


Time Off and A Normal Life


I first have to apologize for being gone for so long. My intention was get back to making videos and teaching as soon as I got back from vacation.

Once we got back, we had to get everything ready for Amber’s knee surgery. Once it was over I decided to take a few days off to get back into the swing of things. What I discovered is that I haven’t lead a normal life since I first joined the USAF in 1989. After being in the service for less than 6 months, I started taking college classes at night. I never really just went home and did nothing. I was always working during the day and then going to class at night.

Once I got out of the Air Force I started working full time while going to college full time. My nights were usually filled with work or homework depending on the day. Just as that was ending I started to perform at night and then got married. For my entire married life, I have either been going to a show, preparing for a show or now teaching or preparing to teach.

I have to say that I am really just enjoying life for the first time in my adult life. Now I go home and visit with Sandy and Amber, do a few things around the house and watch some TV with them. I am getting to be very, very spoiled. I never realized how much fun relaxing with the family on a daily basis can be. Usually I am jumping from lesson to lesson or processing a video or helping someone on a project.

I don’t know how long that I will be out, but it just feels good to actually go to bed and get up seven hours later instead of four hours later.

Now I get to spend time with Omega, my 18 year old tabby instead of letting him sleep for me. 🙂

Don’t worry, I won’t be gone forever, but it may be a week or so before I decide to give up the good life.