BANJO NEWSLETTER / SPBGMA WORKSHOP
FEBRUARY 2, 2007
DIRECTED BY JACK HATFIELD
Friday, February 2, 2007, 9:00am - 4:00pm
Music City Sheraton, Nashville, Tennessee
Pete Wernick, "Dr. Banjo", is renowned worldwide for his accomplishments and contributions to bluegrass music: the hot-picking force in several trend-setting bands including Hot Rize , respected author and teacher, songwriter, and long-term President of the International Bluegrass Music Association.
Pete's national music career started in 1971 with the first records by northeast instrumental wizards Country Cooking. Founding Hot Rize in 1978 led to an enduring stint as a performing artist, appearing throughout the U.S. and three continents, on national television and radio. Pete's instructional books, CDs and videos include best-sellers in their respective fields: Bluegrass Banjo, Bluegrass Songbook, How to Make a Band Work, and many others. A pioneer in bluegrass music instruction, since 1980 his banjo camps, bluegrass jam camps, and clinics have inspired players nationwide and overseas.
Pete took up banjo as a teenager in his native New York City, closely studying Earl Scruggs records. While completing B.A. and Ph.D. sociology degrees at Columbia University, he played in local bands and hosted the New York metropolitan area's only bluegrass radio show in the 1960's. In the early 70's while a sociologist by day at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, he formed Country Cooking whose innovative recordings helped usher in a new wave of contemporary bluegrass.
In 1976 Pete moved to Colorado where he recorded Dr. Banjo Steps Out (Flying Fish) and soon after started Hot Rize, with Tim O'Brien, Charles Sawtelle, and Nick Forster. The foursome became a major attraction and creative force in bluegrass, famous for their dynamic stage shows and finely-crafted recordings. The group scored repeated #1 bluegrass radio hits, including the Wernick-penned "Just Like You", and was the first recipient of the IBMA's coveted "Entertainer of the Year" award in 1990, as well as a Grammy nomination the folliwng year. The band's daffy alter-egos Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers gained a following of their own, with Pete as Waldo Otto, steel guitar player and donut impresario ("You Bite It, You Bought It").
In 1990 Hot Rize disbanded as a full-time unit, while continuing to make selected appearances. Pete went on to join forces recording and performing with cutting-edge musicians Jody Stecher & Kate Brislin, Jeff White, Chris Thile, Peter Rowan, and Jerry Douglas. Pete's 1993 solo album On a Roll (Sugar Hill), won high praise, presenting a wide-ranging mix including traditional and progressive bluegrass and the debut of his innovative bluegrass/dixieland band, Flexigrass (formerly The Live Five). The album rode the bluegrass chart for over a year, with another #1 hit, Wernick original, "Ruthie".
Pete's current performance schedule centers around appearances with Flexigrass, Hot Rize and with his singer/guitarist wife Joan as a duet ("Dr. and Nurse Banjo"). The Live Five's album (now Flexigrass), I Tell You What!", (Sugar Hill) was released in 1996, hitting the top 40 of the national Gavin Americana Radio Chart. Their 2002 follow-up, "Up All Night", also garnered widespread acclaim and airplay. The band's unique combination of banjo with clarinet, vibraphone, bass, and drums continues to forge new pathways combining traditional and modern elements in American roots music.
Go to www.drbanjo.com for more info on Pete.
President of Huber Banjo Company, setup man for top pros!
The Right Man For The Job? by John Lawless, edited by Jack Hatfield
Steve Huber is just thetsort of person who, by nature of background and experience, is poised to have a deep and powerful influence on the 5 string banjo community. His Vintage Flathead tone ring (commonly called the Huber ring) has won raves from the top banjo players in the business. Steve's solo CD, "Pullin' Time" (Strictly County 41), has received critical praise in limited distribution. With plans to take production of the tone rings into a full-time occupation and the introduction of a banjo line in store for 1999, it looks like Steve is well on his way. No less a banjo luminary than Sonny Osborne is a vocal proponent of the Huber ring. When he decided to offer a signature Sonny Osborne banjo for sale (The Chief), the Huber ring was the only one he would consider. His reaction is unequivocal. "Finally, somebody is doing it the right way. Steve's gold ring is as good as the one in my prewar Granada. "Bela Fleck has also become friends with Steve, and he shared some thoughts in a recent conversation. "What I really like about Steve is that he has a deep love and respect for 'The Flathead,' which is something he and I share. We spent some time setting up one of my banjos with his ring and I have been very impressed with the results. I think that he is trying to give people something closer to that old sound and it looks like he is going to be successful with it."
Ever since he began to play seriously, Steve had nurtured a keen interest in prewar banjos. He had developed relationships with Curtis McPeake, a recognized expert on prewar Mastertones, and Frank Neat, one of the top banjo builders in the country. Living in Nashville afforded him the opportunity to spend more time with both Curtis and Frank and he took full advantage of it. No detail of set up and construction was too mundane and Steve stored a good many things away from his conversations with these men.
Steve workd at Gruhin Guitars in Nashville and got more experience hearing, settign up and anaylzing pre- war Gibson banjos there. In 1994 , a job came along as a manufacturing engineer with a major industrial firm. Steve was put in charge of process design and production of a popular piece of auto repair equipment. He was able to draw on his education in engineering and machining while learning valuable new 'real world' skills in the nuts and bolts of bringing a product from design to manufacture.
Steve had long been a fan of the 'prewar sound.' Banjo players know this elusive quality well though concrete descriptions are harder to come by. Playing professionally for years and working at Gruhn had brought him into contact with many fine old banjos that had 'the sound.' Clearly, Steve's RB-75 had it, and he was convinced that the tone ring, and its distinctive tone, held the key. He went about the busienss of analyzing and researching tone ring production.
Steve now produces hundreds of tone rings per year, many going to the top names in the banjo world. Sammy Shelor, Bill Evans, Ronnie Stewart, James McKinney, Dale Vanderpool, Ned Lubericki and Greg Cahill have all had Huber rings installed and the responses from customers worldwide is very favorable and enthusiastic.
Steve also converts prewar Gibson banjos - tenors, archtops and non-tone ring models - to five string flatheads for resale with his ring.
Go to www.huberbanjos.com for more info on Steve.
Banjo Newslettercontributor, experienced teacher, inventor of Jones Acoustic Plus banjo pickup
Gerald Jones, life-long Texan, has been involved with the performing, production and teaching of music for over 30 years. He’s a skilled player in many different styles including bluegrass, western swing, country, classical, jazz, and Polish war hymns... He's played or recorded with with Jim "Texas Shorty" Chancellor, Mark O'Connor, Vince Gill, Sam Bush, Hank Thompson, Red Steagall, Jerry Douglas, Junior Brown and many more. He's the editor of Mel Bay’s webzine Banjo Sessions (http://BanjoSessions.com), and is a frequent contributor to Joe Carr’s Mandolin Sessions. Gerald invented the Acoustic Plus pickup used by Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck, Alan Munde, Bill Keith and many other great banjo players. Gerald is also a favorite instructor at many bluegrass and roots music camps around the nation, teaching banjo, mandolin, and many special topics such as “Jam Survival Skills.” Joe Carr said of Gerald, “students love him because he jams a lot with them and teaches as much out of class as in!” The following are some of Gerald's favorite teaching topics:
How To Learn All the Chords You Really Need To Know In One Lesson
Why There Are Really Only Six Rolls (And How To Recognize Them)
Bluesy Banjo Chords and Licks
How To Find The Melody
Jamming With Harmonized Scales
How I IV V Chords Got Their Names (And Why You Should Care)
Jam Session Survival Skills
How To Play In Almost Any Key Without a Capo. (It Really Ain't That Hard!)
50 D to G Licks (Plug and Play Improvisation)
25 Great Endings (Plug and Play Improvisation)
30 C to G Licks (Plug and Play Improvisation)
>Go to www.GeraldJones.com for more info on Gerald.
www.hatfieldmusic.com Banjo Newsletter writer, Mel Bay author, workshop director
$75.00 included SPBGMA ticket (admission to all SPBGMA events for February 2 only)
$60.00 with SPBGMA tickets
9:00-11:00 Beginner session hosted by Jack Hatfield and beginner jam with Pete Wernick
11:00-12:30 Intermediate session with Gerald Jones
1:30-2:30 Setup/Maintenance session with Steve Huber)
2:30-4:00 Intermediate-Advanced session with Pete Wernick
Come for all of it no matter what level you are! Click here for a workshop registration form to print and snail mail.
Take I-40, go just east of downtown Nashville.
Take Briley Parkway North exit (towards Opry Mills).There has been alot of construction, the temporayr ramp comes up on you FAST and is easy to miss.
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 on Century Plaza just past the Alexis Inn (a great place to stay, by the way, inexpensive 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 the morning. it will be held in the Two Rivers Room. Go through the vendor area and access the Two Rivers Room from hallway.
For more info, go to www.hatfieldmusic.com.
Questions?, send an email to:firstname.lastname@example.org
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.