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'Til You Hear That Banjo

I miss my banjo. It went missing from a garage storage area a few years ago. My own fault.

I was no virtuoso, and didn’t know the proper banjo picking technique, but I thought I faked it pretty well. No way could I play “The Beverly Hillbillies” or anything by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. But somehow it worked.

I played it like a guitar, fretting chords on five strings as I would a six-string. It rarely worked but it sometimes did when I “freelanced” and just faked my way around the fretboard like many amatuer guitarists do.

The Marshall Tucker Band. Now there’s some songs to play on the banjo. Even though there is not a whole lot of banjo going on there, Toy Caldwell’s guitar style on multiple instruments was very country. No picks on the guitars. Maybe on the pedal steel. For moments at a time, I was a banjo player in the Marshall Tucker Band.

I’m not country at all. But sometimes I feel like it.

If you have a musical instrument, or anything for that matter that you enjoy that’s not something you always have lying around the house, keep it. It may be a few years but times change and inspiration can come and go.

Take it when it comes. Do you have a loon? A whiskey still? Old movie projector? Oil paints and easel? If you can stash it somewhere, do it.

My banjo playing mainly centered around the Irish band The High Llamas. No one’s ever heard of them except me, but that is my banjo realm. In the most general or terms, the Llamas were like a combination of the Beach Boys and Pink Floyd, with a folksy emotional touch centered somewhere in Great Britain.

You had to be there. Check out the Hawaii album sometime. If you have a banjo around, pick it up and start plucking.

You’ll see what I mean. Til you hear that banjo… Aw, there it is.



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