Remember the introduction to The How and the Tao of Old Time Banjo? “What have you got kid?”
That happened on our first visit to Old Fiddler’s Picnic at Hibernia Park in Chester County, Pennsylvania. When the cigar smoking old man (his name was Tiny, by the way – I dedicated the How & Tao to him) told me to, “Get lost, and don’t come back until you can do like I showed you.” I ran up the hill to find my father.
Hibernia Park is huge. Back when I was a kid Old Fiddler’s Picnic was a massive festival. Dad had to park his truck all the way up the hill, so far that the main stage was just a dot in the distance. The entire field was filled with musicians and folks listening to music.
So, I ran through the crowd clutching my banjo with my head spinning with excitement over what had just happened. I had just met my first cool old dude!
Well, I got up the hill and the first thing I see is Dear Old Dad playing Old Joe Clark with another banjo player. That banjo player was Tom. not my uncle Tom, who I have written about. This was Banjo Tom.
Banjo Tom wound up becoming part of our gang. We had a lot of laughs and made a lot of music together over the years. After we left Philadelphia we lost contact with Tom. It happens. People drift apart.
A few weeks ago I got a note from Tom. Here he is strumming a banjo uke telling the story of the Sunhearth Chicken Massacre.
We are not having a banjo retreat this year . . . Maybe a bunch of us could meet at Old Fiddler’s this year. The festival is held on the second Saturday of August. Dear Old Dad and I have been wanting to go back. That’s where we got started. If enough of you were willing to make the trip we could meet there. Jam, have an informal workshop in a quiet corner of the park and even play on the open stage together. Email us with your thoughts on this. Post in the comments. Give Dear Old Dad a call. It could be a lot of fun!