Article: Essential Listening

My last post focused on a new generation of banjo players, and how the banjo has found a place in the 21st century, but however much I dig what people are doing now, I have overwhelming admiration for the players who brought the banjo to our attention in the first place.

In my opinion it is essential to listen to music as close to its source as you possibly can, for example, if you want to listen to Rock ‘n’ Roll, you should listen to the Elvis Sun recordings, if you want to listen to the Blues, then check out some Jimmy Reed and Leadbelly... and if you want to accomplish anything on banjo, then listening to some pivotal players from this genre will pay dividends as you develop your own style.

Article: New Blood

Up until fairly recently the banjo has been absent from UK pop culture, in fact I struggle to remember hearing it on commercial radio during my teens, 20s & 30s, with exception to the Rednex version of "Cotton Eyed Joe" - why, Why, WHY!

So how could an instrument that was so vocal in the 60s folk movement become so unpopular? Was it because George Harrison never played banjo on "Norwegian Wood"? Bob Dylan and the Stones certainly didn't use it in the early parts of there careers, which is a sad thing, cos it would've worked well on some of there tunes. Over the years there were a few exceptions, such as The Violent Femmes Blister In The Sun and "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" by the Byrds, have a listen to I Am a Pilgrim, it's cool, but this album is more of a nod to the past than a step into the future.

Follow this blog Swindlestock - Listen to the new EP on myspace

About Me

I have been playing guitar for over 20 years, at first playing in indie bands, followed by a long stint playing rockabilly on the streets of Oxford, a short excursion into dance music, followed by looking at early blues styles. Now after a few years of listening to Dylan, Guthrie, and early Americana I find myself in possession of a banjo, and I'm addicted! Currently I play Banjo and Guitar in an Oxford based group called Swindlestock, you can hear our music our myspace page.

Listen to my favorite Banjo songs on