! which is considered Double G tuning, but comparatively the same as Double C tuning.Hello! Thanks for checking out this information concerning my "Full Circle" CD!

Title: I am primarily known as a hammered dulcimer or mountain dulcimer performer and instructor. But those were far from my first instrument. When I was in my teens I heard Little Roy Lewis and the Lewis Family and fell in love with the banjo, albiet it, it was bluegrass. I was also one of those kids that quit everything so when I asked my parents for a banjo, they lovingly suggested I get a job! And when I say lovingly, I I mean that sincerely in that why would they invest in money when I never followed through with anything...If I really wanted this I would truly pursue it. And I did! I got a jog and bought my first banjo at a Service Merchandice for $75, payed for all my own lessons and as a result of my investment and admittedly love for the banjo learned to play. No one ever told me to practice and never had to! Since then, I have made several hammered and mountain dulcimer CDs and in just the las few years started incorporating clawhammer into them. But finally, things have come "full circle" and I am brought back to my musical beginnings with this very first all banjo CD!

Thank You: With all that said, I need to thank my parents for their wisdom in their decision! Possibly one of the reasons I stuck with it! For this CD, I need to thank Jay Blizman for all his help and believe me, there was alot of it. This is also the first CD I recorded myself, but it was Jay who walked me through the tech process, and helped with the mastering etc. He came to my home at times and actually did some of the work at his. So THANK YOU JAY! I also want to thank Phyllis Woods Brown for being my second ear! I have a great respect for her ears, lol, in that she and I have very similar tastes and ideas when it comes to music. She is an amazing musician who I truly admire and trust in her opinions. ANd last, but certainly not least, my wife Kimberly who has supported every musical venture I have ever attempted. She also did the artwork for both the front and back covers! I couldn't have done this without her! 

The Banjos: The only musical instrument you will hear on this CD IS banjo! No guitars, no bass, just banjos. I will detail exactly what instruments I used on what tracks but there are three distinct sounds you may notice.

The Carolina Banjo, built by Ryan Navey of Midland North Carolina has the deep, often throaty mellow sound ( i.e. The Memory Keeper, My Old Kentucky Home) It is also the banjo featured on both the front and back of the CD jacket. How could it not be! It is a very personal instrument to me, and in all honesty, surpassing any instrument I have ever owned. It is the one instrument I would never part with! It is set up with Nygut Minstrel Strings and tuned to DGDGAYou can see more of Ryan's work here:https://www.carolinabanjoco.com/ 

The second banjo I used has a loud, crisp bright tone (i.e. Shenandoah, Julianne Johnson) and in my opinion, one of the best sounding banjos available! (The two banjos are apples and oranges) The Pisgah Dobson Ramble is built by Patrick Havner and my jamming banjo. You can see and learn more about the Pisgah Dobson Rambler here: https://www.pisgahbanjos.com/

The third banjo is a Gold Tone Cello Banjo. You can hear it not only as back up and what might sound like a bass behind some of the tunes, but also what I used for the "Will the Circle" lead in the "I'll Fly Away/Will the Circle duet and in The Lost Children of the Allegenies.

The Tunes:

1. Grumpy Salley: This tune came from an incident a few years back. I was teaching at a festival and when I returned home, about a six hour drive, a friend of mine and fellow musician asked how it went. I said, "It was a really nice festival, had a great time...well, except for this one lady who just seemed grumpy about everything!"  My friend replied, "Was her name Salley?"  I was horrified because it was indeed! I felt like a gossip! She laughed and said, "Don't worry about it! Thats just the way she is!" So if your name is Salley, please take no offense. If you are grumpy, hopefully this will make your smile. Played on my Carolina Banjo.

​2.Cold Frosty Morning

4. Julianne Johnson: I simply love this tune! Cheerful, happy, and just a fun tune to play! Played on my Pisgah Dobson Ramler with Cello Banjo bass behind.

5. 500 Miles to Home: Another tune I wrote and written about the return home, not too far to go, but not nearly close enough. It actually is a road trip driving tune. For some reason, this tune came to minnd driving through Virginia on Interstate 77. Recorded on the Carolina banjo

The Lost Children of the Allegenies: I wrote this tune to commemorate this tragic event. Go here to see it played with the story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2L0YQvaQ4vs  I am playing the melody on both the Pisgah Dobson Rambler and the Goldtone Cello Banjo.

7. Soldier's Joy: An old favorite of mine, played solo on the Carolina Banjo. One of the things I do like about this tune is use can here my thumb not thumping so much as brushing the head of the banjo.

8. The Memory Keeper: I wrote this tune and the context of the tune can be found here and well worth the watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLDtoOrqNpI  In my family, I am known as the memory keeper. but the tune reflects the journey of life. I played this on my Carolina banjo and palced the mic behind the back where the music just falls in your lap!

10: Over the Waterfall: This is a great tune with a love tragedy story. It is a well known tune that most know only as an instrumental not ealizing there are actually lyrics! I am playing the melody on both the Pisgah Dobson Rambler and the Goldtone Tone Cello banjo.

11. Buttermilk Falls: This is a tune I wrote earlier this year in recognition of one of my favorite walking trails in Beaver County, PA. It was christened "Butter,ilk Falls" by a small group of Civil War soldiers and their wives as they toasted the name from their choice of beverage as they had a picnic together. This is one of my favorite tunes on the CD...just mellow and relaxing and the Carolina banjo just...well...it makes the tune! Such a very sweet voice!

12. Shady Grove: Solo on the Carolina banjo, to me this just reflects the haunting mountains of Appalachia!

14. Mountain Home: Ever come up with a tune that you thought you had written only to realize it was pulled from the back recesses of your mind? I was visiting Ryan Navey of the Carolina Banjo Company and when I sat down to play his instruments for the first time I was awestruck and just started playing this tune. IHe asked me what it was and I was so inspired and impressed with his banjos I thought I was just sort of making it up as I went. This wishful thinking lasted until I played it for Phyllis Woods Brown as my new song when she kindly informed me that it was "Mountain Home" a tune we played as a duet on Mountain Dulcimers! But it was strange; I have never played it on the banjo...it just came out!

18. Haverin' To You: Haverin' (Havering) is a Scottish term meaning to just be silly and playing. I actually wrote the first melody and Phyllis Woods Brown wrote the second melody. I had asked her to perform it with me for the CD but life gets in the way sometimes. So she sent me her part and I am playing boths parts both on the Pisgah Dobson Rambler.

19. Arkansas Traveler: This was one of a few tunes, you can feel the Carolina banjo in sound...almost what it's like to feel the strings being struck.