Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Weekend Workshops Scheduled

After a Hot Summer of festivals and fiddler's conventions, we are proud top announce our new venture
of weekend workshops for those desiring a get-away  that involves music instruction and adventures.
For specific details we ask you to visit www.southernmtnmelodies.com
Please get in touch if you have a notion to participate or have questions.  We already have a few
folks staking claims as we intend to keep this small and intimate, however, we do want to fill up
the dates soon as we can.  We plan to make other announcements on Facebook as well as on
Banjo Hangout soon.

There's so much happening in and around the Crooked Road region of Southwest Virginia.  In case you are not familiar please check out www.thecrookedroad.org

We are about honoring the old-time string musical heritage of the region.  It is what motivates us to
keep singing the old songs and playing the old tunes that have been hand down to anyone who will
get into learning them.  We also want to keep the older styles alive as well.  Sometimes its not the song
words or the tune melody itself but it is  the nuances of the  way it was done that attracts us to learn certain versions.  We are collectors not only of tunes and songs
found here locally performed by the original mountain people who learned them from their elders in their time but we collect their  banjo tunings, guitar runs and fiddle bowing patterns as well.
So if you are a budding  connoisseur of old-time music we want to help you out.  We love it!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Early Spring 2012

Spring came early after a mild winter which was welcome after the past two winters.
There's lots of fire wood left and more to bring in but we should be set for next winter
and then some.  Music has been sporadic but I, Mac, managed to take a solo trip last week to Ohio to deliver the first  banjo ever built by lady banjo maker, Pat Wilcox, who had sent it to me last Fall for repairs.  It gave me an excuse to go visit master pearl engraver and instrument builder, Doug Unger, as well.  I had a great time learning more about a wonderful decorative art that I hope to apply in a sparing way to my banjo work.

 I also got to help out Pat with some home improvement.  She in turn hosted a workshop for interested folks to attend who wanted to learn more about playing banjo and fiddle in the Southwest Virginia style that I specialize in.  I also got to perform solo for the folks who came for a great potluck  party that evening.

Jenny and I have been taking a break from performing mostly because its been the off-season.
We do have a couple of things on the calendar so checked em out.

Our  daughter, Hanna,  whose been in Seattle since the end of last August will coming in for the month of June.  Her schedule is booked with music things to do including
Mt Airy Fiddler's Convention, Mars Hill BR OT week, Hotel Floyd's Thursday night concert series, The Floyd Country Store's Saturday night dance series,
Mabry Mill's Sunday PM music, as well as the Elk Creek Fiddler's convention. We may be able to get in another recording session as well.  Check out her playing http://mactraynham.com/#gallery

We have almost finished a webpage describing a new venture for us. Basically we'll be conducting a series of weekend workshops for those interested in knowing more about
our local playing styles from yesteryear.  Check back soon as I will post a link as soon as it is
ready.  Or if you want to added to our mailing list then please send us your email address.

Another new thing has been the Floyd JAMS program which I have been working with.
Its is an after school series of group music lessons for kids in 4th thru 7th grades in mountain style banjo, fiddle, and guitar.  Over 80 kids signed up for this and the enthusiasm has been tremendous.  I teach beginning claw hammer banjo and have several kids that now seem to be getting the elusive claw hammer 'lick' after 9 weeks of 'hammering' home to them the importance of
timing and rhythm in addition to accurate tuning and listening. We don't want to run out of good claw hammer players in our local area.   I've enjoyed the experience and expect I will help out in the future.