Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Upcoming events at Clayville -- jam Saturday, Jan. 4, and tips for beginners Sat., Jan. 18 -- plus links to "Five Pounds of Possum (in my Headlights Tonight)"

Our first Saturday morning jam session in 2014 for dulcimers and -- all kinds of other instruments -- at Clayville Historic Site will be from 10 a.m. till noon Saturday, Jan 4. And two weeks from Saturday, we will have the first of two "Fake It Till You Make It" workshops for rank beginners -- and anyone else who wants to share a few tips on making music in a group or at a jam session.

Details below on the "Fake It Till You Make It" workshop, which is designed especially for beginning mountain dulcimer players who want to learn how to play with other instruments. All instruments are welcome, and all skill levels are welcome. It's part of the Clayville Pioneer Academy of Music, and we're not about teaching technique as much as sharing our knowledge and making music with each other.

But first, here are links to this Saturday's new song --

It's a bluegrass novelty number called "Five Pounds of Possum (in my Headlights Tonight)" that's been going around in the world of dulcimer clubs. I decided to introduce it at Clayville after I heard Michael Shull of Columbia, S.C., sing it last month at the Knoxville (Tenn.) Area Dulcimer Club's fall retreat in November. Shull, who is best known perhaps for for his Southern Gospel arrangements for dulcimer, brought a gospel singer's phrasing and a gentle humor to what is usually a pretty raucous show-stopper. Listen for the verse he adds about "manna from heaven" in this clip:

Michael Shull & Dave Holder, Five Pounds of Possum. Uploaded on Jan 10, 2011. Mountain dulcimer and autoharp player Michael Shull appeared at Red Bank United Methodist Church (Lexington, SC) on Sunday, January 9th, 2011 as part of the Music & Word service series.

The Dogwood Dulcimer Association of Pensacola, Fla., has tab in DAD and lyrics at:


"Five Pounds" is in the first column, about a quarter of the way down the page (which lists the songs in alphabetical order). They've got a lot of free tab, by the way. The Prairieland group in Springfield used their arrangement of "O Come All Ye Faithful" at this year's Advent soup supper gig, and were very happy with it.


-- Jamming Workshop: "Fake It Till You Make It." From 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Jan. 18, in the barn at Clayville Historic Site. This two-hour will be like last year's workshops for beginning mountain dulcimer players, with more emphasis on learning tunes in a jam, strumming chords to tunes you don't know and how to learn where the notes are on a stringed instrument. If there is enough interest, we will hold more of these workshops later in the year.

-- Mike Anderson's 5th annual Winter Weekend. Feb. 21-23, in Chillicothe, on the Illinois River north of Peoria. Classes with nationally acclaimed mountain dulcimer players: Linda Brockinton, intermediate; Maureen Sellers, novice; and Mike, beginners'. More info on Mike's website at http://dulcimerguy.com/MA_MDW2010.htm.

-- Mike also offers individual mountain dulcimer lessons at his studio in Jacksonville -- and has tentative plans to offer group lessons in Springfield during the coming months (details to be announced as they are finalized). See Mike's lesson schedule on his website at http://dulcimerguy.com. FIVE POUNDS OF POSSUM

Tennessee Mafia Jug Band. Sept. 17, 2011, in concert at Franklin, Ky. Leroy Troy - banjo & scrubboard; Lonesome Lester - jug; Mike Armistead - guitar; Robert Gately - standup bass; Dan kelly - fiddle; Mike Webb - dobro.

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