Monday, February 15, 2016


Last Friday's jam at the Billings Elks Club was attended by more than 20 pickers.  Scott Moore's opening tune took nearly 10 minutes to go entirely around the circle with everyone getting a break. It is necessary to modify that usual jam approach when there are so many musicians. I left after the first hour - there were three other fiddlers who represented that instrument quite well.  Also I vary away  from bluegrass during two traditional periods each year, Mardi Gras time (Fat Tuesday) with Cajun tunes and St. Patrick's with Celtic music.  I am especially interested in stressing Cajun music as only the Bebe LaBeouf Band from Bozeman is playing that musical genre in Montana (at least to my knowledge.)  We have had good success in encouraging Celtic groups, which were not around Billings 25 years ago, as several have formed in the intervening time. I continue to try and master Cajun fiddle techniques as taught by the great Michael Doucet as well as some Cajun accordion as advocated by Mark Savoy and Dirk Powell. None of this is easy at my advanced age, but is good exercise for older minds as well as bodies. (I should also admit that another reason for sneaking out of a Friday jam is to watch a couple favorite TV shows, even though I can google them at a later date).    

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