Ever since I can remember I have had this fascination with the sound of the banjo and ever since first mastering a musical instrument I have wanted to be able to pick up and play the beautiful banjo.
While certainly the opening strains of the dueling banjos scene from Deliverance are probably the most well known of all the banjo songs, the instrument is nevertheless one that has managed to over-come its ‘hillbilly’ image.
Incredible banjoists such as Béla Fleck (whose innovative combinations of different cultures and music types have produces amazing albums), Mumford & Sons and Steve Martin (who creates funny and engaging original compositions) keep the instrument relevant and accessible to new audiences. The banjo has also featured in popular culture with the twang of the banjo appearing in tunes such as The Beverly Hillbillies theme, the Banjo Kazooie soundtrack and who could forget, Kermit the frog and his Rainbow Connection.
Upon hearing the twanging rolls and crisp picks of the banjo, I find that it is almost impossible not to smile. Due to a lovely individual and our second anniversary, I can now complete my wish and hide away for months trying to get the infuriating finger-picking rolls right. If you think that the banjo is a one trick pony, I highly recommend Béla Fleck and Steve Martins work, as they will change how you think of the instrument.
Here is an original piece by Steve Martin (featuring Béla Fleck) called The Crow. Enjoy.