23rd ANNUAL SPBGMA BANJO WORKSHOP 2020 - Directed by Jack Hatfield

FEBRUARY 2nd, 2020




The Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of 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 can attend the Grand Ole Opry, see the famous shops and clubs such as Ernest Tubb's Record Shop, Blue Bird Cafe and Linebaughs' on Broadway, and visit the world famous Station Inn to hear top bluegrass artists perform.

The SPBGMA workshops have featured names such as Eddie Adcock, Tom Adams, Ron Block, Charlie Cushman, Bill Keith, Bela Fleck, J.D. Crowe, Terry Baucom, Richard Bailey, Bill Evans, Charlie Cushman, Sammy Shelor, Scott Vestal, Greg Cahill, Ned Luberecki, Doug Dillard, Wayne Erbson, Ross Nickerson, Doug Dillard, Butch Robins, Bill Evans, Sonny Osborne, Scott Vestal, James McKinney, Alan Munde, Kristin Scott-Benson, Marc Pruett, Rex McGee 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, Arthur Hatfield, Mike Smith, Jaroslav Prucha and Tom Nechville. Banjo Newsletter contributors who have participated include: Janet Davis, Murphy Henry, Bill Evans, Ross Nickerson, Pete Kelly, Tom Adams, Ian Perry, Ira Gitlin, Andy Cushing, Jim Pankey, Alison Brown, Larry McNeely, and Eddie Collins.

Full or half-day attendance is available. Students may attend all four sessions, or attend only the morning or afternoon sessions. The morning sessions include Beginner/Intermediate discussion with Jack Hatfield and the Intermediate/Advanced discussion with Raymond McLain. The afternoon sessions include a banjo setup presentation with Steve Huber and the Advanced discussion with Greg Cahill. Morning-only attendees may return for the faculty jam at 3:30.
From 9:00 -10:30 AM. workshop director, BNL and Mel Bay author Jack Hatfield will address intermediate and advanced level topics including a Seven level Banjo Player's Rating System, Backup, and Introduction to Melodic Style. He will use examples from his Mel Bay book "Exercises for Three-Finger Banjo".

Jack has written several highly acclaimed banjo instruction books, published by his own company Hatfield Music and for Mel Bay Publications, the largest publisher of stringed instrument instruction books in the world. Jack has been a columnist for Banjo Newsletter since 1976. He wrote the Scruggs Corner column for five years, analyzing the style of the father of bluegrass banjo. The sixty tablatures and analytical comments he wrote while authoring this column still today constitute the largest and most accurate collection of transcriptions of Earl's recordings available anywhere. Jack then wrote the Beginner's Corner column for seven years, and for twelve years authored a column called Concepts and Systems, which de-mystified music theory, presented "alternative to bluegrass style" banjo techniques, discussed difficult and seldom-taught topics such as arranging and composition, and presented other "big-picture" concepts relating to music as applied to the five-string banjo.

Besides performing and selling banjo products though Hatfield Music, Jack teaches and directs various banjo workshops and camps all over the USA and in Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland and Australia. Jack was on the staff of the very first major banjo camp, the Tennessee Banjo Academy in 1988, and was Bluegrass Director for all three of Banjo Newsletter's Maryland Banjo Academys. He was banjo director of Chuck Stearman's Nashville Academy of Traditional Music at the Opryland Hotel. For twenty-three years he has been director of the SPBGMA workshop every February in Nashville (SPBGMA = Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America). The workshop features top name performers, banjo craftsmen and setup specialists, and frequently Banjo Newsletter columnists.

From 10:30 - 12:00 Raymond McLain will discuss Intermediate/Advanced level topics.

Raymond performs, produces, and records. He often appears on stage and recording with Canadian harmonica virtuoso Mike Stevens. For more than ten years, he played music from the stage the world famous Grand Ole Opry and toured with Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys. During the late 1960s and early 1970s Raymond occasionally played mandolin with Don Reno, Red Smiley and Bill Harrell. Raymond serves as Director of the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music at Morehead State University. Raymond was instrumental in founding the Bluegrass Studies Program at East Tennessee State University, one of the first accredited college-level bluegrass programs in the country.

At 12:00 noon there will an hour break. Attendees can eat lunch, browse the vendor area or jam in the workshop room. Banjos can be left in the workshop room where they will be watched.

Half day registration: Those attending only the first half must leave by end of lunch break, and those attending only the second half may enter at any time during the lunch break.

From 1:00 - 2:00 Steve Huber will provide banjo-setup. Steve is an accomplished luthier and collector. He is also a Gibson banjo historian. Steve is a accomplished banjo player that can "hold his own" with any touring banjo professional or touring artist. Steve is the driving force as well as fearless leader of the Huber Banjos team. He has played the banjo since he was in his teens, and performed professionally for many years, both before and during his tenure at the Huber helm.

In addition to his skill and experience as a banjo player, Steve also has extensive training as a machinist, a degree in mechanical engineering and a work history in the manufacturing of metal components before launching his company. He first stepped into the banjo business with the introduction of his Huber Vintage Flathead tone ring in 1996, following that a few years later with the introduction of the first Huber Banjos.

Steve oversees day-to-day operation of the company, both on the management side and in the shop where the banjos are built and assembled. He is also continually researching design, component and set up modifications that can enhance the quality and consistency of the many Huber products.

From 2:00 - 3:30. Greg Cahill will teach Advanced session. Chicago born and bred, Greg has been playing bluegrass banjo since the early 1970s. He co-founded The Special Consensus in Chicago in 1975 and has continued to tour nationally and internationally with the band ever since. In 1984, he created the Traditional American Music (TAM) Program to introduce students of all ages to bluegrass music. He has appeared on all nineteen of The Special Consensus recordings, on numerous recordings by other artists and on many national television and radio commercial jingles.

Greg has also released three recordings: Lone Star (1980, with guests Jethro Burns and Byron Berline); Blue Skies (1992, with Chicago mandolinist Don Stiernberg); and Night Skies (1998, with Don Stiernberg and guests Sam Bush, Glen Duncan and Tom Boyd). He has also recorded and toured European countries with the ChowDogs (Greg and Slavek Hanzlik, Dallas Wayne and Ollie O’Shea). Greg has released four banjo instructional DVDs and three banjo tablature books and he teaches banjo at festival workshops and music camps nationally and internationally. He is a banjo instructor at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago and has been an adjunct faculty member of the music department (teaching banjo) at Columbia College in Chicago. He served on the Nashville-based International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Board of Directors from 1998-2010 (Board Chair/President 2006-2010), became a Kentucky Colonel in 2010 and was awarded the prestigious IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award in 2011. Greg was also appointed to the Board of Directors of the Nashville-based Foundation for Bluegrass Music in 2007, elected President of the organization in 2011 and rotated off that board in 2012.

The 2012 Compass Records band recording Scratch Gravel Road was GRAMMY-nominated for Best Bluegrass Album; the 2014 Compass Records band recording Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver”received two International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards; the 2016 Compass Records band recording Long I Ride received an IBMA award and the 2018 Compass Records recording “Rivers And Roads” received two IBMA awards (one for Album of the Year) and a GRAMMY nomination for Best Bluegrass Album.

From 3:30 to 4:00 the workshop instructors will participate in an informal jam, taking requests, doing a wrap-up, answering questions and demonstrating techniques discussed in all the previous sessions.

Click here to register now by credit card for Full Workshop $75.00 plus $5.00 credit card processing fee

Click here to register now by credit card for Morning Sessions with Jack Hatfield and Raymond McLain and faculty jam: $40.00 plus $5.00 credit card processing fee

Click here to register now by credit card for Afternoon Sessions with Steve Huber and Greg Cahill and faculty jam: $40.00 plus $5.00 credit card processing fee

To download a registration form which you can print, fill out and return by mail, click here:

SPBGMA Banjo Workshop 2020 Registration and Questionnaire

It is best to show up by 8:30 if attending the morning sessions. There are other non-pay lots nearby but may require walking several hundred yards carrying your banjo. If you have weekend SPBGMA tickets and are staying at the Sheraton, you have already paid for parking.

Suggested hotel if you are not staying at the Sheraton: Alexis Inn, with full breakfast bar included. 615-889-4466

Driving directions to Sheraton Music City:

from I-40, just East of downtown Nashville, take Briley Parkway North (towards Opryland Hotel/Opry Mills).

Immediately take Elm Hill Pike exit and merge right onto Elm Hill Pike.

Go approximately two tenths of a mile, turn right on McGavok Pike.

Go approximately a quarter mile to Music City Sheraton on left.

Once inside, bear straight ahead just past the restaurant to the Belle Meade meeting room.

For more information please send email to jack@hatfieldmusic.com or call: 865-428-8744

The Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA) email or call 660-665-7172

Click here to return to the Hatfield Music website