FEBRUARY 4, 2005

Top left: Sonny Osborne and Bill Evans (photo by Ken Grimes); Top right: Frank Neat; Below: Jack and Sonny Osborne; Group shot at bottom of page (photo by Jim Rector)
Sonny and Bill Frank Neat Sonny Osborne
Friday, February 4, 2005, 9:00am - 4:00pm
Music City Sheraton, Nashville, Tennessee

Featured Instructor: Grand Ole Opry star (of The Osborne Brothers, "Rocky Top" fame)


Frank Neat
Banjo builder for Ralph Stanley and Sonny Osborne, setup man for top pros!

Bill Evans
Banjo Newsletter writer, experienced teacher, has worked with David Grisman, Laurie Lewis, Dry Branch Fire Squad and his own band, Due West

Jack Hatfield
Banjo Newsletter writer, Mel Bay author, workshop director


The ninth annual 2005 SPBGMA workshop in Nashville, sponsored by BNL and directed by Jack Hatfield, was a huge success. Over 40 students attended, making it the biggest yet.

Jack Hatfield covered the basics for the beginners, followed by a well-integrated intermediate discussion of backup, playing up the neck, and improvising by Bill Evans, one of the most educated (and educational) banjo players anywhere.

Frank Neat de-mystified banjo setup and answered questions pertaining to banjo construction in general.

Then the featured artist Sonny Osborne was great. The recently retired Osborne Brother delighted the crowd with his anecdotes and the candor he is famous for, setting the students straight on what is (and is not) good banjo playing. (Don't mention the word "melodic" around the Chief.) Because of his recent rotator cuff injury, Sonny was not able to play at full speed.

Bill Evans was on hand to moderate (yeah, like Sonny Osborne NEEDED a mouthpiece!) and play examples for Sonny.

Also in attendance were Ian Perry and Nancy Nitchie from Banjo Newsletter. Ian always contributes insightful comments on behalf of the class, especially helpful to the beginner and intermediate level players who may not yet know what questions to ask or may be too timid.


For those who missed this opportunity to see Sonny, Nashcamp will be featuring Sonny, Ned Luberecki, Tony Trischka, and Bill Evans in the fall banjo retreat in Nashville October 21-23. The summer Nashcamp dates are:

Bluegrass Week I: June 19 - 24
Bluegrass Week II: June 26 - July 1.

Go to for more info.


$75.00 included SPBGMA ticket (admission to all SPBGMA events for February 4 only)
$60.00 with SPBGMA tickets

9:00-10:30 Beginner session (Jack Hatfield)
10:30-12:00 Intermediate session (Bill Evans)
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00-2:30 Setup/Maintenance session (Frank Neat)
2:30-4:00 SONNY OSBORNE!

Come for all of it no matter what level you are!

Take I-40, go just east of downtown Nashville.
Take Briley Parkway North exit (towards Opry Mills).
Immediately after getting on Briley Parkway North ramp, take first exit, Elm Hill Pike. The ramp will point you in the correct direction on Elm Hill Pike.
Go two blocks, turn right at the Alexis Inn (a great place to stay, by the way, $59.00 for a single and free breakfast included. Phone: 615/889-4466).
Go .3 miles to the Music City Sheraton on the left.

The banjo workshop will be all that is happening at that time of day. Go to the meeting rooms behind the vendor area and stage.

For more info, go to

For an online registration form, send an email to: with the words "SPBGMA info" in the subject line.

Jack Hatfield 325 Laurelwood Dr. Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 800-426-8744

For SPBGMA ticket info, go to SPBGMA or call Chuck Stearman: 660-665-7172.