Banjo Teachers and Presidents

I made the mistake of offering to help somebody on the Facebook clawhammer group.

I posted a couple of videos to illustrate some concepts. I knew one of the videos was controversial. It shows me playing a simple folk melody in three tunings.

Almost immediately after posting I was under attack. An anonymous jerk with no evidence of even owning a banjo started trashing Dear Old Dad and myself. Then a bunch of other jerks piled on. I walked away, but Dear Old Dad says they are still going at it.

A few hours ago, I turned off the computer and watched 47 Meters Down with my folks. Dear Old Dad is a certified scuba diver. His comments made the movie a lot of fun. Netflix is so much better than going to the theater.

After the movie Dear Old Dad was channel surfing. Several news reports popped up. Each anchor was discussing the running commentary on President Trump’s mental capacity.

I will admit that I take a jab when President Trump posts something goofy on Twitter. That said, a lot of the hate directed at him in the press reads close the mean crap the banjo community posts about me.

Donald Trump wasn’t supposed to win the election. Say what you will, but most the irrational hate directed at him is sour grapes over the election.

In a similar vein, Pat & Patrick Costello weren’t supposed to teach you how to play the banjo.

The good news is that none of the cruelty is evident at the Maryland Folk Musicians Retreat. When people are together in the real world it is easy to create harmony.

People say that none of the haters matter, but it does wear me down. This nastiness has been following us for over twenty years. I was planning to post a new workshop today, but my heart wasn’t in it.

It is difficult to present a smiling face into the same computer that spews hate at me

I am starting to think I should change my focus to more real-world workshops and events. The Internet is too cruel for banjo teachers and presidents.

Somerset Whyte Laydie
Showing off a Somerset Whyte Laydie right before we pack it up and ship it to a customer. Light changed as I was filming and Pooka climbed into the Christmas tree but none of that matters when you are playing a banjo as great as this.
Order a Somerset Somerset Whyte Laydie of your very own. Call (410) 968-3873 today.
Order a Somerset Somerset Whyte Laydie before Memorial Day weekend 2018 and get a free bunk at the 2018 Maryland Folk Musicians Retreat!


The Dobro33H YouTube channel is 100% free again.

YouTube ending paid subscriptions so quickly was not cool, but for the time being this is the only viable video platform for a channel as large as ours.

YouTube only pays attention to the number of subscribers a channel has. You can help us grow by clicking on the free subscribe button on our channel. It’s free and it will help us grow. After you click on the subscribe button encourage other people to do so. It’s the only tool we have to show YouTube that you care about the kind of content we provide.

In related news, I will be interviewed on Jack Scrimshaw’s Route 66 show on The show airs every Thursday 2:00 to 4:00 PM Eastern time. Jack plays a great mix of mix of Americana, country, blues, bluegrass and old time music.

Sing the banjo! will return after the holidays.

God bless,


Last April my father and I shut down the archives of our YouTube
channel. With over 650 videos and four million views it was getting
hard to create new content.

People did not like seeing the old content shut down, so we took
things a different route and made the archives available by
subscription. $25 a year is less than most lessons nowadays.

Now YouTube has abruptly cut off paid content. Subscriptions will end
January 1st, 2018.

While the situation is out of my control, I still want to do right by
our subscribers.

Effective immediately we are making the old videos free to the public.

If you are a subscriber, save your receipt. Contact us when we launch
our new project early next year and we will give the first lesson
module on the house.

2018 Maryland Folk Musicians Retreat

Help us spread the word about the 2018 Maryland Folk Musicians Retreat!

Download and print out these full page and half page flyers and hand it out at jam sessions and other musical gatherings.

The Maryland Folk Musicians Retreat features workshops with skilled and compassionate instructors. There is ample time for jamming, socializing or just taking some time to be by yourself in a beautiful setting away from the hustle and bustle of the everyday world.

You can learn more about the 2018 Maryland Folk Musicians Retreat at and/or by calling (410) 968-3873.

Retreat flyer – full page
Retreat Flyer – half page

2018 Maryland Folk Musicians Retreat fler

Klown Car!

I love monster movies. They make me happy.

One of my favorite monster movies is Killer Klowns From Outer Space. It’s a movie about killer Klowns from outer space. It’s funky and weird and, as I said before, it puts a smile on my face.

A while back I mentioned Killer Klowns From Outer Space in a workshop. By some miracle of the Internet, Mike Martinez is a banjo player. Mike is also a stunt man – and he did stunt work for Killer Klowns From Outer Space!

Mike saw the workshop and sent me an autographed picture of himself on the set of Killer Klowns From Outer Space. I keep the picture over my desk as a reminder of the wonderful way random lives can intersect.

Today I found a video Mike posted showing how he did the Klown car stunt in Killer Klowns From Outer Space.

There are some other cool videos on Mike’s YouTube channel. Here is a demo of his fire stunts.

I love the way the Internet connected me with Mike. I hope I can get out to California someday and make music with him. Maybe a West Coat folk musicians retreat!