And Now For Something COMPLETELY Different (really)

I guess most of you don’t know that I’m an Old-Time Clawhammer Banjo player.  Well, I am, have been since I was 19 (a long long time ago), and always will be, until my hands just quit on me.  That banjo has pulled me out of some dreadfully dark places.  I have clung to it like a life raft, and it has never let me down.

Last night was horrible.  I woke up with a just-shy-of full-blown manic attack at two AM.  After a total of 5 mg of Ativan failed to stop the racing squirrels rushing round in their cage (read: my head), and by now it was 5 AM, I took some more Seroquel and at last managed to at least lie down and close my eyes for a couple of hours.  Now I just feel gross and exhausted and can’t do anything.  I’m supposed to make Friday Night dinner for my family, but now I just don’t know how I could possibly manage that.  So I’m going to have to call my mother and disappoint her, but there’s only so much I can squeeze out of myself.  I guess that’s the “disability” part of it, eh?

But back to the banjo part.  There’s this outfit called Number One Music, an internet radio station, that I apparently signed  up my one existing album for, without paying any attention to it, some years back.  I guess.  I really don’t remember. Forgot.

It’s an international, well, worldwide, you know, because of the Web, thing.  Radio station.  They send me weekly emails, which I ignore.  But this morning with my vision pretty hazy, I opened today’s email from them instead of throwing it in the trash.

It seems that on this week’s charts I am numbers One, Five and Six in the Top Ten in the Acoustic genre.  EH?  How did that happen????  That’s kinda...BITCHEN, really.

Durn, I better start working on that second album, if people seem to like the first one so much!

If you want to listen to all the tracks for free you can go to their site.

If you wanna buy my music (nice stocking stuffer!  Shameless plug) you can go to CDBaby, where ALL my music is half-price thru Dec. 31, including digital downloads and single tracks, but if I were you I’d go for the physical disk because it has awesome photos like the one you see here, and a jewel case liner with very sparse but present liner notes.  I was so sick when I made that recording that I listen to it and go, how in the hell did we manage to squeeze that one out???

Now to return to the interesting task of trying to walk straight after all those drugs.  I might use my cane to keep from falling down.  Again.

me n my ol' banjo

me n my ol’ banjo

Leave a comment


  1. That’s totally awesome!

  2. Congrats both on the music and knocking down the mania. 😉

    • Thanks about the music…I’m still not myself, drugs and all that, and behind the drugs something not-right–I honestly think some pot would straighten me out but I don’t have any, and in this tiny air-tight community where I’m sure everybody smokes it’s not like I’m going to ask anybody unless they ask first which is unlikely because I isolate myself and don’t go out into the tiny society…so maybe it’ll wear off by tomorrow. I’ll take an extra Seroquel tonight to try to head it off at the past…this illness sucks.

  3. Congrats with the music… don’t worry about disappointing – shit happens when you’re sick….. take care Susan x

  4. Really really cool. I am a music nut. Love banjo.

  5. Congratulations, that’s great news.

  6. Listened to your songs……….you are so talented! That is some amazing banjo playing!

    • Thanks! Glad you enjoyed! I don’t remember who it was that said that playing music is 10 percent talent, 90 percent hard work! I always thought about it as applying the seat of the pants thickly to the bottom of a chair, and away she goes!

  7. Yes! Your ship has come in! Make album #2 and roll in the dough! Here is your answer! Love that picture, amazing and wow have you had some life. In experience years you are at least 100, LOL.

    • Thanks Lori! Unfortunately, like horses and boats, record albums are a good way to lose oodles of money….but I might just put out a last blast one, just for kicks and chuckles.

  8. Well you are right about that. I never new!
    Checked out the charts and had a listen to the samples on CDBaby. I’ll definitely be buying a copy. Haven’t listened to much banjo, but that will no doubt be changing after I get a copy of “Pretty Little Dog”.

    • Thanks, Jared! I’m glad you like it. Banjo to me, when it’s the Old-Time Clawhammer style like I play, is a trip into a world where life was more connected to the One creative force in the world, where everything worked like different organs in one body, where the apples went from tree to pies and sauce and press, the whole trip accompanied by yellow jackets who only wanted a taste but were happy to sting you if you got in their way. Thanks for buying my CD, listen and enjoy in good health!

  9. Loving the photo of you! And congrats on the love fest over your songs…how exciting for you! The arts can certainly provide healing moments and times of joy, can’t they? I create jewelry with a combo of old and new supplies…each piece one of a kind…and some mixed media art. Right now the depression is bad enough that I can’t even get up the motivation to do it, but in times when the depression is more mild or moderate it can really help me feel better. It’s a spiritual thing for me, too. My creativity is a gift from God and when I use that gift I feel close to Him. I do hope you find some joy and peace both in getting back to your banjo and playing. And if a second album is a result, then all the better! Peace to your heart

    • Sara, I know exactly what you mean about art bringing you closer to God. Although I have been frustratingly out of touch for the past couple of years, the Yom Kippur service has a section in the liturgy that goes through a whole series of comparisons like: “You are the potter, and we are the clay in your hands; You are the glassblower, and we are the unformed glass; You are the goldsmith, and we are the gold awaiting your hammer…” and like, two pages of these very specific references to God as the Great Craftsman, and we, the raw materials. Right now I feel more like a piece of very crude iron on the anvil, and He is the blacksmith with the big hammer, but I think you might be much more in that position than I am 😦 Is your jewelry on Etsy or someplace where I can look at it? I’ve seen some on your blog, but are you selling it anywhere? I totally understand the condition of the Great Funk where even picking up the materials doesn’t go anywhere. I have picked up the banjo once in the last three or four months and really enjoyed it, so maybe I should just leave it out of its case where I can see it but not trip over it, and that might encourage me to pick it up. I pray that your depression will lighten up so that you can get back to the work that lightens your heart and use your gifts that the Creator bestowed on you! xoxoxoxo

      • Laura, I love the litergy you shared here! Does this come from what is the Bible’s Old Testament…you call it the Torah, I think? It’s just beautiful and touches my soul. Yes, I do sell on Etsy, though I haven’t listed much new in a while so you may have seen most of it from my blog. I do have some new pieces that aren’t listed yet…I do have a goal to get them listed because it is the holiday season and all. You can visit my shop at I just stared on my miniscule first dose of Zoloft today…25mg. I think my doc is over-cautious, as an internist, because I’ve never started on so low a dose. I just rarely ever get side effects and if I do it’s just a bit of nausea. But, I’ll follow his directions,mostly. I may bump it up to 50mg after 5 days instead of 7. I know my body and my brain. I did listen to your music and enjoyed it. Love the red rocking chair song, especially. I think getting your banjo out of your case is a great idea. Peace to your heart

  10. Wow, amazing surprise. So, congratulations. Your banjo gives you a shiny steps 🙂

  11. Damn girl, you’re good! I’ve only recently become aware of bluegrass music. I got turned on by the movie and soundtrack to “Oh brother, where art thou?” and The Three Pickers DVD. Do you play more when you are depressed – to pick up your mood – or when (hypo-)manic – to give yourself an outlet for the energy? Got any suggestions for classic performances I could check out?

    I am very grateful for the presence of pot in my life. Too bad we don’t live closer (i’m in southern Md.) or I could drop off some for you in the mailbox at the end of the road. Sometimes, the best medicine is a scalding cup of coffee, a couple of bong hits, and bluegrass on the MP3.

    Keep playing.

    • Thank you so much! One important thing to know: this ISN’T Bluegrass. This is Old-Time Music, which is much more meditative, primitive, less formulaic, and usually (except for some modern upstart hot-shots 😛 ) MUCH slower. If you want to see some footage of my teacher, Tommy Jarrell, just look him up on Youtube. The Library of Congress made a wonderful documentary on him. He left this world in 1989, and since I met him in the summer of ’78, when he was 81, I guess he must have been 92 when he died. If he hadn’t a’died, he’d’a kep’ right on livin’.

      I haven’t been playing much at all these days. Been in a fog. I gotta start, though. Also I’ve got arthur-itis in my hands, especially my right thumb which does a whole lotta work in the clawhammer style, which is my style of picking. I gotta get over this funk and start picking again.

  12. Very cool–good for you!


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