Writing The Great American Banjo Novel

Neurological issues have made typing difficult, so I am writing my next book by hand. In this video Dear Old Dad and I share how we are getting the words out of my head onto the page with the tools available.

I write in pencil on legal pads and Dear Old Dad transcribes my Phoenician hen scratches onto the computer.

We are posting edited handwritten chapters on Patreon for our sponsors.

Chapter Four!

Chapter four of my book in progress is ready for our sponsors to download on Patreon!
I am writing this book in pencil because neurological issues have made it difficult for me to type. This is the first drat written by me, given a quick edit by Dear Old Dad and posted for your enjoyment.
Dear Old Dad will be giving these chapters a more through edit as he transcribes my Phoenician hen scratches to Word. He will also be recording the audiobook!

We are numbering the chapters as they are written. They will probably appear in a different order in the finished book.

Once the book is finished we will make the ebook edition available to all of our Patreon sponsors.

This chapter is about how I discovered the power of music, and decided to let the Tao carry me like a leaf on a stream to wherever I was supposed to be.

If Patreon is not your thing, there are other ways you can sponsor our work.

Be Your Local Banjo Hero

Fred writes:

Hey Patrick,

I truly hope this E-mail finds you well. You and your Dad are always encouraging people to get out and play for and with others. I found that we are always welcome at assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Recently our local library asked my wife and I to play for the summer children’s program, talk about our instruments and just engage with the kids and their parents. In short a very gratifying experience the kids, parents and my wife and I just loved it. Not judgemental just fun and encouraging. None of the kids had ever been that close to a stringed instrument. Keep encouraging people to get out in the community.

Best wishes,



Came home from a walk to discover Dear Old Dad in the middle of a banjo lesson.

Dad’s chair ate a bracket wrench, Precious the Chihuahua piddled every time our guest petted her, I tried to help and we all wound up laughing and learning and sharing. This is what folk music is all about.

Hard day tomorrow. another MRI.

I started to worry about the test and the results and realized that none of it matters. You can’t relax and enjoy the jam session if you are fretting over the amount of time you have. Just enjoy the moment so fully that it seems to go on forever.

My insurance put the kybosh on the second MRI, so I will be safe at home writing instead of being stuffed into the Magnetic Cannoli of Doom.

Frailing Banjo Week 16

James Laurie is getting better week by week and sharing his progress with all of us.

You are doing great, James. Don’t be afraid to toss in another tune at this point. Look for Lynchburg Town, Roving Gambler, Gypsy Girl or even The White House Blues.

You can find tab for all of those songs in my free library – or you can use YouTube to learn them by playing along. There is no right or wrong way.

If you do use tab my father and I have stumbled across something that may be useful. When we were learning we both wrote out tab for the songs we were learning by hand in a little staff notebook. We both think that writing everything out by hand helped us both understand and retain the material better than just picking up a sheet of tab.

I am proud of you. Keep going!

God bless,

New Book News!

Patrick just handed me the next chapter of his new book. This one is a doozy. I will have the first edit back to him tomorrow to scan and upload in longhand for our Patreon subscribers. Then back to me for transcribing and more editing. I am having a ball working with him on this project. As God is my witness it is all true and no names have been changed to protect the guilty.

To watch this book come to life go here

Two tests at our local hospital last week with one more (MRI) next week. Them back to the neurologist. Prayers welcome.

Peace to all,
Pat Costello (Dear Old Dad)