5,000,000 And Counting

Last night we reached another milestone when we passed five million views on YouTube.

Five million plays on YouTube. The number boggles the mind.

Our top ten most popular videos:

Some of our shared experiences on YouTube have been life-altering.

Other YouTube moments were . . . welll . . .

Through it all we have been sharing a message of love, joy, simplicity and creativity. 

Here’s to the next five million views! And the millions after that!

God bless
-Patrick

Do Banjos Dream of Monster Sheep?

When I was a kid my father and I used to watch monster movies. As I grew older I loved the genre for nostalgia, but then discovered that B movies are the perfect breeding ground for the Taoist happy accident.

For example, no amount of trying could create a movie as weird as Plan 9 From Outer Space intentionally. The cast and crew were trying as hard as they could to make a great scary movie – and in doing so accidentally made one of the funniest bad movies ever made.

Bad movies and folk music don’t often mix, but tonight I was watching Godmonster of Indian Flats (1972) for the first time and, captain! There be banjos!

Godmonster of Indian Flats banjo scene

Banjo players from Godmonster of Indian Flats

Godmonster of Indian Flats is not for everybody, but it is a surprisingly well made satire on the evils of modern society or some such blather. I am still a little too freaked out from this movie to have an opinion – but it has banjos and mutant upright monster sheep! How bad-good pr good-bad can it be?

Yet Another Milestone

We passed fourteen thousand subscribers on YouTube.

Right now the official numbers at this moment for the channel are 4,801,058
views and 14,002 subscribers.

We are still growing, learning and sharing the joy of folk music together. With each new video and each new subscriber we take another step closer to my goal of making the art of frailing banjo universal and accessible to all!

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.

Patrick’s Favorite Family-Friendly Horror Movies

Halloween is fast approaching. A lot of you may already know that I love scary movies. Here are a few of my favorite monster movies that manage to be scary without a lot of swearing, nudity and gore.

I added the IMDB link so that parents can check out the parents guide for each movie.

The Body Snatcher (1945)
Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi are mesmerizing in this Robert Louis Stevenson tale of grave robbers supplying doctors with cadavers for medical testing.


The Green Slime (1968)
Astronauts in cardboard spaceships fight slimy green monsters, but the story is actually pretty good. I love this movie!


The Thing From Another World (1951)
Space communists menace a north pole scientific outpost. This movie is a gem. The characters talk with snappy dialoge that makes you care about the people in danger.


Horror of Dracula (1958)
Christopher Lee is truly scary in this Hammer classic.


Duel (1971)
Truck driver messes with a commuter.


The Haunting (1963)
“Whose hand was I holding?”


Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)
Stretching the family-friendly concept here with a PG-13 title, but I love this movie. It’s about the most unlikely movie monster: killer klowns from outer space.


The Uninvited (1944)
“They call them the haunted shores, these stretches of Devonshire and Cornwall and Ireland which rear up against the westward ocean. Mists gather here… and sea fog… and eerie stories…”


Happy Halloween everybody!

God bless,
-Patrick