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.


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.

Chapter Three!

Chapter three of my book in progress is ready to download for our Patreon sponsors!


Keep in mind that I am writing this book entirely by hand. To be specific I am writing in pencil on legal pads because a neurological problem has made it difficult for me to type. This download is a first draft with a rough edit. Dear Old Dad will edit it two more times before transcribing it all into Word.

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.

In chapter three I write about my introduction to boogie bass and the music of Elmore James. Every word of it is true.

The Down Neck Gazette On Patreon!

Back in the early 2000’s Dear Old Dad and I drove around in hot-rods (a 66 Plymouth and a 68 Dodge) and interviewed folk musicians.

Back then everybody was using a dial-up connection and home-burning DVD’s was the stuff of science fiction. So we sent out six hours of interviews every quarter to our subscribers on a single CD ROM. Everybody said it was impossible so we did it, and had a good time doing it.

Now we are posting selected interviews from our archives for the enjoyment of our Patreon sponsors! Full interviews with Peggy Seeger, Wayne Henderson and many more will be uploaded over the coming weeks and months for the enjoyment of our Patreon sponsors.

Sign up today! https://www.patreon.com/Dobro33H

Bug Stuff

Yesterday I started weeding my garden and spotted a spider so big that I thought it was a mouse until it moved and I saw those eight black legs in motion.

It looked like a very large wolf spider. Completely harmless, but I’m going to let my flowers and vegetables fight with the grass for space anyway. I don’t want to harm the spider – and I don’t want it to harm me.

This morning we had to run to the hospital so they could wire me up to the 24 hr. heart monitor. I got home feeling miserable.

I spotted a dragonfly trapped on our screen porch. I tried just leaving the door open, but the dragonfly couldn’t find its way out. Finally I caught it in my hand as fast and as gently as I could. When I stepped outside and watched it fly unharmed from my big clumsy fist I shouted for joy.

Bad Movie Night: Kung Fu Crazy

If was a nice and quiet July 4th. I even broke from my vegetarian diet and had a Nathans hort dog while watching Joey Chestnut win another round of the greatest event in sports.

My head is hurting tonight, and when I have a bad headache nothing helps more than laughing at a really bad movie.

Tonight we have to weird karate movies: Kill The Golden Goose and Mr. No Legs.

Kill The Golden Goose features one of my teachers, the great Ed Parker, playing the bad guy. I love the part where he kills a guy with a plate of fruit.

Mr. No Legs is karate master and Unites States Marine Ted Vollrath. I got to attend a training session with Ted Vollrath and he was awesome. Shaking hands with him was like having your hand wrapped in a vice.

That’s enough fighting with the keyboard for one day. Two bad movies featuring two men who meant a great deal to me.

God bless,

Maryland Folk Musicians Retreat

From http://www.marylandfolk.com/:

For more than ten years my Father and I Have been hosting annual gatherings for folk musicians. These events were modeled after the jam sessions, retreats and shindigs we attended when we were first learning the craft.

Meeting so many of you has been a source of great joy to us over the years. Each event takes months of planning, organizing and just plain old hard work that contributes to my almost constant migraine headaches.

This year was no different. I was in severe pain when we arrived on Thursday to set up and in agony when we left on Sunday.

I can no longer put my body through this. I need to focus on work that I can do without triggering migraine storms.

After a great deal of soul-searching my father and I have decided that the 2018 Maryland Folk Musician’s Retreat just completed will be the last.

Thank you for all the happy memories.

The Daily Frail will continue, and I look forward to completing my next book which I am writing longhand as typing is one of the migraine and blackout triggers. Dear Old Dad will help with transcribing and editing.

God bless,
Patrick and Dear Old Dad