Accordions Are Out. Banjos Are In.

I have a confession to make: there’s a new instrument in my life.

It started innocently — one day, I was just sitting on the couch, picking on the banjo that I bought Anna for Christmas last year. Next thing you know, I’m filling my iPod with Tony Trischka albums and hunching in front of the TV to play along with “The Ballad of Jed Clampett.”

So starting today, April 1st, we’re switching our focus from the accordion to the plucky banjo. Instead of polka and zydeco, we’ll be discussing bluegrass, proper clawhammer technique, and Scruggs tuners.

To get things started, here’s one of my favorite clips featuring five banjo greats — Earl Scruggs, Tony Ellis, Charles Wood, Pete Wernick and Steve Martin, calling themselves “Men With Banjos Who Know How to Use Them” — playing “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” on the Late Show with David Letterman:


  1. Uh oh. Today is April Fool’s Day. Hope this is only a joke…

  2. Very, very cute. Well done.

    I think Olive Blossoms would sound great on the Banjo. In fact, Frosini used a Banjoist, I mean Banjist, I man Banjo player on many of his recordings!

    Thanks for the laugh.


  3. We’re gonna have to come along too, and change our name to “Banjo Noir.” Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

    All those drone stings start to wash over you after a while and sound pretty good. Little percussive orchestra. Kinda like a block of free-reeds.

  4. Ha…Ha…ha!!! Very good.

  5. It’s about time the banjo gets some love!