Banjos and Selective Memories

Those good ‘ol school days. Remember them?If you’re my age (51), then perhaps you’ll agree; those were the days! But if you’re still in school though, you may say “the good ‘ol days” is looking through rose-colored glasses. I’ll admit that does gloss over the reality of life. Forget all the homework, bullies and easily available vices, and you have a far more perfect world for fond rememberances.My perceptions then and now have certainly changed. People are like that; we tend to forget the bad and remember the good, given enough time from the situation. Perhaps we especially hold dear those places and times we have experienced and are no longer a part of.Our perceptions of banjos in society are another good example (you knew I’d work a banjo in here somehow, didn’t you). We remember the banjo as a care-free instrument partly because the banjo has, since it’s arrival on America’s shores, been relegated to the wrong side of the tracks. A red-headed step-child of more refined musical instruments. But along with that stigma comes a blessing in disguise; to be down and out also means few expectations. For someone used to the demands of a hectic and stressful life, this can be very freeing. And so, we remember the good and leave the bad. Banjos have long represented something less than ideal to many, yet few would argue against the fact that they also represent among the purest of modern ideals of happiness, simplicity and carefree living. May that always be so.

Sing banjo, sing!
Sing out o’er the world.
Tell everyone to love
Tell every boy and girl.

Ring banjo, ring!
Sing out o’er the land.
We’ll build a better world
If together we will stand.

‘Sing Banjo Sing’
by Eddie Adcock

About Phill Gibson

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama where I work as a Systems Engineer and part-time banjo and mandolin instructor. I've been playing various instruments since my teen years. I started mandolin at about age 17 and banjo at 20. I love just about all kinds of music. In terms of banjo styles, I play Scruggs and melodic and am working on becoming more advanced with single string. I'm also working on 4-finger banjo, which is way off the beaten path. I would like to see more jazz techniques integrated into bluegrass situations; counterpoint, especially. So long-term, that's what I'm doing. I'm also very keen on astronomy, ATM (amateur telescope making), birding, christian homeschooling, martial arts, organic gardening and about 30 other distracting hobbies to a (mercifully) lesser extent.
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