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10 LIVE VIDEO CLIPS with some of the world's greatest musicians--Darol Anger on violin, Corky Siegel on harmonica, Erkan Ogur of Turkey and many more. 

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A-sides CD

Fingerstyle guitar with Darol Anger on violin 

 

Two New Hal Leonard books

BOB DYLAN FOR BANJO

 

FIRST 50 SONGS
To Play on the Banjo 
(co-written with Greg Cahill)

 

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Bach every day is my new mantra.   As an antidote to the onslaught of the cruel world, I'm attempting to infuse each day with the playing of Bach.  I realize that it is my own ivory tower of sorts, as people literally run for their lives and suffer from malnutrition.  For that, I remain an active part of the political resistance with every fiber of energy I have to give.  But that fiber is tougher, more articulate, and more vital when it is fueled by the nutrition of good art by the overconsumption of the daily news.  And for me, the best of art and music that I have come to know has been my personal encounter with Bach--which is like gazing into the eyes of wonder. 

Today, for example, in the pre-dawn January darkness of a sub-zero Chicago morning there was the Allemande in C from the third cello suite.  And like a poem that presents a word with a slightly different emphasis and deeper meaning, the work just keeps giving and giving richness. 

Twenty years ago I published the American Bach CD that had JS Bach's first and third Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, arranged for clawhammer banjo and double bass.  I had spent the best part of seven years playing not too much else but Bach.  That is not exactly the typical pathway for banjo players, but it was good for me.  When I recorded them, it was just a moment in time then.  The great cellist Rostapovich waited until he was 65 to record them.  When asked why he waited so long, he replied, "I've been practicing."    

I can speed-read the NYTimes and the Chicago Tribune and stay on it.  I will stand in the cold on Jan 20 with the women of the world.  I will write music and create art this year that draws inspiration from the likes of Paul Farmer and Bill McKibben and my own Senator Dick Durbin and he who I hope to become the Governor of Illinois, Daniel Biss. 

But on these pages, I'll give you my weekly updates of how the the world is balancing between the wicked and sublime.  Steinbeck said that "good will always win over evil, but evil will always return."  I'm holding on to the good and hope to share what I can and help how in the ways that I know best.   Some of that will be reflected in recordings on these pages.  Here's the first recording of the year.