Cumberland Gap

A great tune with a lot of different versions. This one has 3 parts and is played out of double D tuning. I don’t remember where I learned it but a good 2 part version can be found on Bob Carlin and Bruce Molsky’s album “Take Me As I Am”. A really nice fretless rendition of the 2 parter can be found on Riley Baugus’ album “Life of Riley”. The banjo is tuned aDADE.

Angeline the Baker

I love this tune.  I think it is one of the first tunes that I learned to play on the banjo about 30 years ago.  I’ve played it probably a thousand times and I still find beauty in it.  The “B” part sounds like water flowing over rocks somewhere in the woods on the side of a mountain.  This tune is played out of the Double D tuning – aDADE.  The banjo used is an open-backed copy of a Vega style banjo with a tubaphone tone ring. The typically longer sustain of a tubaphone I think really serves this tune well.

Forked Deer

Here is a favorite tune, Forked Deer, played relatively slowly and simply.  One thing that makes this tune fun to play is the “A” part is in the key of D and the “B” part is in the key of A.  When playing this tune with other musicians the A part really drives you to the B part and then the B part drives you back to the A part.  Tunes that do that I find really fun to play.  One full time through the tune and your want to play it again with more abandon and after 5 or 6 times through the tune you really start to hit the “old-time music groove.  Some people call it the original American trance music.