Pay Day for Monkeys!

A bit of news from Harp & A Monkey’s Facebook Page:

Here’s a thing, we received and email today stating that we are finalists for the Isambard Folk Awards in Bristol. Don’t know who submitted us in to that, but there you go!

Anyway, seen as how we are finalists, you could so if desired, follow the below link and show your appreciation by clicking on Harp & a Monkey.

And here’s a video of Amy’s favorite tune from the band’s new album!

I wish you well, guys. I met Ewan MacColl when I was a kid. It was a crazy night because Peggy Seeger and Elizabeth Cotten were giving me my first banjo lesson, but I will never forget the way Ewan sang. He sang about things that were culturally alien to me, but still spoke to me enough that my young street fighting self sat and wept for the miners strike and the puffins on the Isle of May. As a group, you guys have that. Hold together. Stay true.
-Patrick Costello

A Demo CD in the Mail . . .

on April 7th I got this note:

hi patrick,

i hope you are doing much better now after your

my bandmate and i recorded material at a real
studio on saturday. we put down 15 songs, all live with
no overdub’s or fill in trac’s. there are some mistake’s
but it is our first and came out pretty well. i wanted to
ask you if i could send you a copy? we feature clawhammer
banjo on better than 1/2 the songs. i even play something i
learned from you on youtube….. cumberland mtn deer chase! the
copy i can send you is not a mastered copy, but a rough edit. so you
can hear things that will be cut out of the final master. the big
thing is cutting out my heavy breathing on cumberland mtn. it sounds
like somebody’s sleeping, but it is me with my head too close to the mic. please
excuse the goof’s. and thank you again for teaching me how
to play!
can you give me a mailing address to send you a copy?

best regards,



I am sending Danny this note and making it public because I want folks to know this album is in the works.

I don’t do record reviews, so just on a personal opinion basis on a late Thursday night I honest and truly loved this project.
It is simply and beautifully timeless. Folks and gospel played with a carefree joy that makes you feel like you are listening to a musical letter from old friends. There are mistakes here and there, but the same stuff happens in any porch picking session. I just wish I was playing along with these guys. It must have been a hoot!

Danny, thank you for letting me take a small part in your journey. I am oh so very so proud of you.

The New New Banjo & A Postcard From Home

It’s a nice banjo, but I love my dad so much more.

You can catch up on the story with these links:

For more information on the various banjos I have played over the last 515+ YouTube videos, check our Banjos I Have Known.

Last, but not least, to learn about the signatures on the head of my Somerset S1P banjo,just repeat to yourself that it’s just a show . . .

Four Seasons on Brick Kiln Road is Sold Out!

If you wanted a copy but were waiting . . . well, you waited too long.

4 Seasons on Brick Kiln Road

Probably the best thing I have ever done, and it is now officially out of print.
I’m sad, but happy I did it. The Creative Commons copy will live forever. The print copies will be around for a long time.

Brick Kiln Road . . . I still go there every night in my dreams, but I still miss it when I wake up. I was foolish enough to think that capturing a place and time would help me deal with missing it, but the sad truth is that it only painted the pictures even brighter in my memory. Not just the little piece of Brick Kiln Road that I shared with you in the book – Crisfield was is and I guess will always be running through my heart and mind.

I guess that makes me a lucky man.

What gives, baby?

Mike writes,

Patrick, several days ago, Dear Old Dad posted the fact that he, you and the doctors have to find out what the (heck) was going on with you. He asked us to pray for you because you’ve been having some weird and painful symptoms. Yet all we hear in the meantime is news of Invictus and Quinoa’s birthday. Shouldn’t there be some news of you? Your Dad said he’ll keep us posted, but all we hear of is a cat (albeit a beautiful one) and a hedgehog. What gives, baby

We never really got any answers from the hospital visits, so I didn’t know what to post.

Sometimes when you are in pain, perhaps especially when you are in pain, it is easier to focus on the little household things. I can play my guitar, thank God for that – but it will be months before my shoulder is healed enough for me to sit with the five-string in more or less normal banjo posture. The guitar is much easier and I am hoping to do a little project soon.

Then there is the neuropathy in my feet. not much to say on that except that I am in agony, the prescriptions don’t work and Amy and I are trying to find the right doctor and hold together while I deal with indescribable pain. It used to be once in a while, but now it is constant.

There are other little things. My old Mercury is stuck in Crisfield and with all the surgeries since October I have been pretty much stuck in our apartment. (I REALLY need a ride to get my car and see my folks!) It has been so long since I have been able to take a walk in the woods alone or sit by the banks of the Chesapeake I . . . well, enough of my troubles. I was getting along by positing pictures of my two little companions.

I will try to post less Dr. Doolittle and get some more work accomplished.

Than you for understanding.

God bless,