The How and the Tao of Old Time Banjo $24.95 plus $7.50 shipping Total $32.45

The groundbreaking book that has people around the world playing the five-string banjo! In a book that has redefined how traditional music is taught Patrick Costello shares the basic skills of old-time “frailing” banjo and much more. Starting with a simple picking pattern and a handful of chord forms (as the author points out, “if you know three chords you can play thousands of songs!”) The book continues to build on those basic skills covering everything from complex fiddle tunes to working up chord melody arrangements of Dixieland songs and beyond. Each chapter of The How and the Tao of Old-Time Banjo is filled with the author’s warm “down-home” sense of humor. Throughout the book, readers are encouraged to get out and make music, have adventures, and celebrate this wonderful thing called music. Patrick isn’t bashful about relating some of his misadventures from his days as a beginner to encourage you to go out and make music with other people. The How and the Tao of Old-Time Banjo is a treasure trove of information and encouragement for anyone who wants to start playing the banjo. Don’t wait. Order your copy today and start making music for and with your friends and family.

Just This Banjo $12.95 plus $7.50 priority mail shipping Total $20.45

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.

Special price for both signed books with free shipping Total for both $35.00

All books shipped via Priority Mail
Due to the insane cost of international mail we only ship within the USA

Call 443-347-9387 to place your order.


As more and more people start getting back into the world, we are slowly getting things back to normal here in Crisfield, MD.

During the worst of the shutdown, we opened up our archives to the world. It is only fair to the Patreon patrons who support us to limit access to our archives once again. We will keep the three most recent videos public until they are replaced with new uploads.

Stay safe, folks.


The Whole Lizard: For Bryan Dov Bergman

Bryan Dov Bergman writes:
This is a topic I have been trying to figure out, but never can. Dock Boggs for example mixes playing and the singing the melody, but then also going into rhythm for stretches of his songs. How do you know, if you want to emulate a sound like that? A playing style that goes back and forth between both.

Banjos and Donuts and Friends, Oh my!

Last night’s sessions at The Wednesday Night Banjo and Donut Marching Society were a joy. You missed some cool workshops, Jack Scrimshaw not only singing (the dude has a voice) an Irish song, but Bad Bad Leroy Brown was sung in Spanish by my brother Carlos and Higor from Brazil sang Red River Valley in Portuguese! So many songs were sung, questions asked and ideas thrown around that it would be hard to recall everything in detail – and that is just how it should be.

If you missed it, come next week.

If you are too shy to attend, give Dear Old Dad a call. Really. He’ll coax you in.

You see, TWNBADMS is not a forum, jam or anything like that. We are simply folk musicians sharing our love of the craft. All are welcome. Everyone is a teacher and a student. Come out and play!

Kind of like The Ring, but with barf, Taoism and Patrick…

VHS tape of the interview I did on WBOC TV 47 on the release of The How and the Tao of Old-Time Banjo.

I had a horrific ear infection that gave me vertigo. So, right before the interview I got so dizzy that I just about turned myself inside out throwing up.

Rather than screw up the shoot, I borrowed Dear Old Dad’s eye patch (he had retinopathy at the time), threw a leather jacket over my shirt and combed most of the barf out of my hair just in time for the interview.

Lucky me, I have a tape to remember the occasion!

Thankfully, I don’t have a working VHS…


Memorial Day Weekend is a day of remembrance, suburban dads overcompensating over raw meat and the beginning of summer.

Summer is an interesting time for artists. We hole up through the cold weather practicing and honing our skills, while we spend the summer usually berating ourselves either for backing away from opportunities or diving in and screwing up.

I think the thing that trips people up when they are learning is a fear of making mistakes. We expect ourselves to get everything perfect on the first try – but that never happens.

You learn by doing. Not to get it right. Not to make it perfect. Just to do it.

There is a lot I could say about this, but I found this essay I shared last year that puts it better than I could – and he used my words doing it. That’s pretty cool!

Sticky Buns

I made two loaves of my sourdough honey whole wheat bread (we just all it bread). My neuropathy was hurting too bad to relax, so I gave making some sticky buns a shot.

Sticky buns are delicious, but tricky to make because the buns are baked in a syrup of brown sugar, two sticks of butter, honey, molasses, white sugar, as well as an unhealthy dollop of both light and dark corn syrup. Once you bake the rolls, you flip the pan over into another pan so that all the syrup that did not bake into the sticky buns drizzles down and soaks into the tops of the buns.

I am glad I did this when nobody was home, because everything went perfect up until that flipping the pan of hot rolls, scalding hot liquid sugar, salt and fat into a new pan.

It was not pretty…

I did not hurt myself, but many paper towels were sacrificed.

Thankfully, the sticky buns are fine.

Now for a mug of hot coffee, a slice of fresh bread and a nap. I’ll have to wait until my folks get home to get any feedback on the sticky buns.