Desperate for a way to communicate after losing his hearing, young Patrick Costello set his heart on becoming a musician. Ignoring the odds, empowered by his family and a karate grandmaster, Patrick won a banjo in a bet, salvaged a guitar from the trash and wandered into the city of brotherly love looking for a teacher. What happened next is an unbelievable true story of chasing improbable dreams, kind-hearted strangers, the IRA, the Philadelphia Mummers, and unconditional love. Just This Banjo will make you laugh, cry and maybe inspire you to pick up an instrument yourself.
As I was finishing up this book, the launching of impeachment hearings against President Trump was the breaking news headline. Every channel seemed to have angry people yelling at other angry people. Seeking a reprieve, I went online and found more of the same anger everywhere I looked. A directionless cloud of rage that was eerily reminiscent of the Day of the Dove episode of Star Trek. My father and I always advise our students, “if you see a need, fill it.” So, in defiance of the negative emotions of the day, I am making Just This Banjo freely available online. Maybe, just maybe, the encouragement, support, and love I experienced will come through the pages and inspire even one person to stop being angry. I was the least likely music student to ever fret a string. I was able to learn my craft because there were kind and decent people in the world – and that has not changed. Hopefully, my adventures will inspire you to, as Woody Guthrie put it, “vaccinate yourself right into the big streams and blood of the people.” If you like the book, the eBook edition will be available for purchase at http://frailingbanjo.com. You may also consider sponsoring our work on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Dobro33H If for, some reason you can’t stand the book, donate to charity in the name of somebody you don’t like.
Heads up, Patreon sponsors! Just This Banjo is now available for download!
Patreon sponsors can visit our page and choose from PDF, plain text, MOBI or ePub formats.
We will be making the eBook available for sale soon, and a few other surprises are in the works.
About the book:
Desperate for a way to communicate after losing his hearing, young Patrick Costello set his heart on becoming a musician. Ignoring the odds, empowered by his family and a karate grandmaster, Patrick won a banjo in a bet, salvaged a guitar from the trash and wandered into the city of brotherly love looking for a teacher. What happened next is an unbelievable true story of chasing improbable dreams, the kindness of strangers, the IRA, the Philadelphia Mummers, and unconditional love. Just This Banjo will make you laugh, cry and maybe inspire you to pick up an instrument yourself.
This has been the single most difficult project I have ever taken on. Without your support, this book just would have been just another idea.
I also have to express my gratitude to my father. Editing my stream-of-consciousness style of writing can be a herculean task. With this project, we also had an unusual twist in that this book was created while I was in the grip of excruciating pain. Somehow his patience and belief in the project paid off. Thanks, Pop. We did it!
Work on Just This Banjo is almost finished. The book is written, but I need to go over the draft a few more times before I put this project to bed.
Rather than putting the book up for sale, Just This Banjo will be released freely in ebook format to my Patreon sponsors. All of my other titles will also be freely downloadable by patrons.
We will get around to sales for non-sponsors one of these days.
Fair warning to fans of my more or less clean-cut image on YouTube: the language gets rough (this took place in Philadelphia, after all), a banjo gets sexually molested by a drunken Irishman, people get barfed on, and a there is a graphic description of how performers in the Philadelphia Mummers Parade go to the bathroom.
In other words, it isn’t always pretty. Truth has a nasty habit of working that way.
Just This Banjo is almost finished. I have a few more pages to pour over and then Dear Old Dad will complete the final edit.
There is a lot I can say about the writing of this book. Tragedy, health issues and more rained down on me as I wrote, but the process of revisiting the events of our past served to strengthen the bond I share with my father.
To let folks get a peek at what we are creating, here is a chapter from the book in PDF and plain text format:
Just This Banjo is days away from being finished. I have a few pages to finish before I hand over everything to Dear Old Dad for one last edit.
I have to admit that I am proud to see this project coming to a close. The past twelve months have been difficult. Revisiting my adventures growing up in Philadelphia has been a pleasant reminder that I can accomplish anything I set my mind on.
We will be making announcements on the distribution of the finished work soon.
Once I have a day or two to regroup, work will begin anew on The Daily Frail, The Banjo Dojo and other projects. We have some seriously cool stuff in the works.
Last night I stumbled upon a show called Joe Pera Talks With You and became an instant fan. The show is a take on those awful and pretentious Postcards From Nebraska they used to do on CBS Sunday Morning – and maybe a touch of Garrison Keillor. . . or maybe this is what would have happened if Garrison Keillor had any talent.