BANJO NEWSLETTER/SPBGMA WORKSHOP February 1st, 2008
Directed by Jack Hatfield
Music City Sheraton, Nashville, Tennessee
The Society for the Preservation of Bluegrasss Music in America (SPBGMA) event is a four-day indoor bluegrass festival/show/awards ceremony in Nashville. The SPBGMA show features round-the-clock jamming, top name performers, the highest-paying and most respected bluegrass band contest in the world, plus the SPBGMA Bluegrass Awards show on Sunday (the bluegrass equivalent of the CMA awards). SPBGMA draws the top amateur and semi-pro bands from all over the country, with non-stop jamming, various workshops and promoters' meetings, and vendors with everything a bluegrass fan could ever want. In MUSIC CITY yet! In addition to the workshop, the students and their families were free to attend the Grand Ole Opry, see the famous shops and clubs such as Ernest Tubb's and Linebaughs' on Broadway, and go to the Station Inn to see the current performers.
The BNL/SPBGMA workshops have featured names such as Eddie Adcock, Charlie Cushman, Bill Keith, Bela Fleck, J.D. Crowe, Terry Baucom, Sammy Shelor, Scott Vestal, Doug Dillard, Wayne Erbson, Ross Nickerson, Doug Dillard, Butch Robins, Bill Evans, Sonny Osborne, Scott Vestal, James McKinney, Alan Munde and Pete Wernick. Banjo builders/setup techs have included: Steve Huber, Mark Taylor, Frank Neat, Curtis McPeake, Geoff Stelling, Gary Price, Tony Wray, Bill Palmer, Snuffy Smith, Charlie Cushman, and Tom Nechville. BNL writers who have participated include: Janet Davis, Murphy Henry, Ross Nickerson, Pete Kelly, Ian Perry, Ira Gitlin, Andy Cushing, and Eddie Collins.
For the 12th annual Banjo Newsletter/SPBGMA banjo workshop, J.D. Crowe will be back by popular demand. This will be his second SPBGMA workshop appearance. He drew a record-breaking crowd in 2006. His SPBGMA appearance was his very first foray into the workshop world. He was very candid and outspoken with his opinions and his philosophy of the banjo's place in bluegrass music. He was also very gracious to stay afterward for over an hour to sign autographs and chat with fans.
Eddie Collins is a long-time BNL writer, publisher of 5-String Quarterly magazine and Mel Bay author. He is also a gifted songwriter with three CD's to his credit, and he performs regularly with his own band, the High Stakes Rollers in his home of Austin Texas. Eddie's latest publication is called Introduction To Bluegrass Banjo published by Mel Bay Publications.
Eddie will conduct the beginner session at 9:00 AM. Eddie's focus will be on taking what you already play and making it sound better, both through good right- and left-hand techniques and by paying attention to things such as accenting notes within rolls and how to get the bounce. Tips and examples will be given on how to prepare yourself properly for higher levels of playing.
Workshop director, BNL and Mel Bay author Jack Hatfield will then address intermediate level topics at 10:30 AM. Topics include playing up the neck, basic backup and jamming, basic music theory and introduction to playing by ear.
After the lunch break, Curtis McPeake, renowned player, banjo collector and setup tech will discuss banjo setup, building and repair. Curtis is known for his long stint with the Nashville Brass and standing in for Earl Scruggs with Lester Flatt and the Foggy Mountain Boys when Earl was injured in the early 1960's. As a collector, he has probably bought and sold more pre-war Gibson and other rare banjos than anybody in the world. He will describe and demonstrate the pre-war sound on a rare pre-war flathead and explain what to look for in a collectable banjo. He will also reveal valuable setup and maintenence tips.
At 2:30 Master Bluegrass banjo player J.D. Crowe will take the stage and demonstrate his famous licks up close, discuss his philosophy of banjo playing and answer all questions. He will also play requests. Crowe was very candid and forthright with his opinions and never at a loss for words in his earlier workshop appearance, and we expect more of the same this year. He was extremly well received in 2006. Many who have attended several BNL/SPBGMA workshops said this was the best yet.
to download a registrastion form which you can print, fill out and return by mail, click here:
BNL/SPBGMA 2008 Registration Form
Driving directions to workshop:
from I-40, just East of downtown Nashville, take Briley Parkway North (towards Opryland Hotel/Opry Mills).
Immediately take Elm Hill Pike exit, Merge right onto Elm Hill pike.
Go approximately two tenths of a mile, turn right on McGavok Pk.
Go approximately a quarter mile to Music City Sheraton on left.
Once inside, bear left through vendor area to the Two Rivers Room. There will be someone at the Hatfield Music booth to assist you and take walk-in registrations.