Since it may be awhile until we can all get together again at the Pioneer Building to play together, and also to try to offer something in the meantime to all of you who have been very mindful and supportive of me and my family during this time, I got the idea to record a few songs each week from the beginner and intermediate jam lists and put them up on youtube with me leading them much like I would at the jams, for those of you who might like to play and jam along at home.
When calling the breaks, instead of calling out 'everybody', 'banjo', 'fiddle', etc., I have substituted 'together' and 'your turn'.
This is my first attempt at 'leading' a jam while playing alone, so I sometimes found it hard to remember in the moment to call out the next break or to signal the end of the song, so I apologize about many of the cues coming later than what they ordinarily would at the jam. I hope my future attempts at this will be better than this first one.
Also, I may have started some of these songs off a bit on the fast side of things, so if need be, you may find it desirable to slow some of the songs down to 75% of the recorded speed. You can do this on youtube on a laptop, but not on a phone, by going to settings, and the clicking on 'playback speed'.
Angel Band - Bb
Are You Missing Me - G
Bill Cheatham - A
I hope that this email finds you well, and I hope that you will enjoy playing some of the songs here along with me.
Also, for all you banjo players out there, Bill Evans (who was going to be one of the instructors at Weiser Banjo Camp this year until it was cancelled - but he'll be there for the 2021 camp) is teaching a free Facebook Live online workshop this coming Saturday (tomorrow) at noon Mountain Time on “Working Up Scruggs-Style Solos.” This page is set to “Public,” so anyone with a Facebook account can view. Here’s the Facebook link: www.facebook.com/BillEvansBanjo
Keep safe and well.
The song of the week is 'Angel Band' (3/4 time) in the key of Bb.
The Stanley Brothers - key of B (tuned a bit sharp)
The progression for the verses of Angel Band is the same as the progression used for playing 'In The Pines':
The progression for the chorus of Angel Band is:
Notice that:1) this progression (like the progression for 'Silent Night') consists of six 4-measure lines, for a total of 24 measures; 2) the progression starts with the 5 chord; and 3) the last third of the progression (lines 5 and 6) is the same as the middle third (lines 3 and 4) of the progression.
When I lead Angel Band at the jam, the song will be played with full-length verse progression breaks, rather than with just the one-line turnarounds that are played for breaks on the recording.
To indicate that the chorus starts with the 5 chord it is a good idea to play a two quarter-note ascending or descending run on the last two beats of the measure that comes right before the first measure of the chorus, and the same may be done as well to lead into the second line of the chorus, since it also starts with the 5 chord.
Ascending Run Descending Run
3 4 leading to 5 7 6 leading to 5
Key of Bb: D Eb F Key of Bb: A G F
Key of G: B C D Key of G: F# E D
To indicate that a change to the 4 chord is coming up at the beginning of lines 3 and 5 of the chorus, a (dominant) 7th chord may be played during last measure of lines 2 and 4 of the chorus: Bb7 for the key of Bb, G7 for the key of G, or an ascending two quarter-note run may be played: 2, 3, leading to 4. (C, D, leading to Eb for the key of Bb; A, B, leading to C for the key of G.)
Key of Bb Review
In the key of Bb: 1=Bb, 4=Eb, 5=F
The notes that make up the Bb chord are Bb, D, and F.
The notes that make up the Eb chord are Eb, G, and Bb
The notes that make up the F chord are F, A, and C.
Together, these notes form the Bb Major Scale: Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G, and A.
If you are fiddler or a mandolin player, and you already play songs or licks in the key of F, then, provided that these songs or licks do not require using the 4th string, you can take your same fingerings for F and move them all one string lower in pitch, and you will thereby be playing in Bb.
For playing chop chords on the mandolin that use no open strings, if you move the chords shapes you use for playing in the key of A up by one fret, this will put you in the key of Bb.
For playing in the key of Bb, bluegrass banjo and guitar players almost always capo to the 3rd fret, so that they can use the same fingerings that they would use for playing in the key of G. (In the key of G: 1=G; 4= C; 5=D.)
Here are the corresponding notes of the G and Bb Major Scales:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
G, A, B, C, D, E, F#
Bb,C, D, Eb, F, G, A
Banjo players will need to raise the pitch of the fifth string to a Bb note (registers as A# on most tuners). For banjo players who do not have a fifth string capo or an 8th fret spike (that includes myself), spike the 5th string at the 7th fret, and then tune it up a half step to a Bb (A#) note. This is best done by ear by playing the 5th string with the thumb while playing the 3rd string with the index finger, turning the 5th string tuning peg slowly until the 5th string sounds harmonious with the 3rd string.
When playing up the neck on banjo in the key of Bb (capo 3, playing as if in G), you may find it helpful to use your 10th and 15th fret markers as your primary points of reference.
17 songs were played at last night's jam:
Blue Ridge Cabin Home - G
Columbus Stockade Blues - B
Cry, Cry Darlin' - B
Down The Road - B
Homestead On The Farm - A
I Can't Feel At Home In This World Anymore - G
I'll Still Write Your Name In The Sand - C
Liberty - D
Little Liza Jane (played twice) - D
Old Joe Clark - A
Turkey In The Straw - G
Wildwood Flower - D
Cherokee Shuffle - A
John Hardy - G
Salty Dog Blues - G
Mind Your Own Business - E
Angel Band - Bb
Jason's Intermediate Jam Blog 2019 - 2020
Weekly on Thursdays
Songs regularly called at the Beginner Bluegrass Jam and links from Jason's "Song of the Week" emails. (from Renee)
in alphabetical order