Soon!

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.

Watch for announcements soon. I can’t wait!

Just This Banjo Contents:

  • Introduction
  • The Rabbit
  • The Guitar Girl
  • The Core
  • Aunt Mannie
  • Paul the Beatnik
  • Tiny
  • Enter the Dobro
  • Why I Play the Banjo
  • Fine Irish Lads
  • Riding The Rails
  • I’ve Looked at Clowns From Both Sides Now
  • Harmonica Joe
  • The Old Man and the C Chord
  • Amish Elvis
  • A Show Of Shows
  • B♭
  • Mountain Music
  • Finding Elmore
  • Busted!
  • The House of the Rising Bouzouki
  • The Parade
  • The Tao and Uncle Tom
  • It’s A Sin
  • Tennessee Flat-Top Barf
  • Hootenanny!
  • The Parting Glass
  • Author’s Notes

Progressively Progressing

I just left 95% of the edited final draft of Just This Banjo on Dear Old Dad’s desk this morning. I was up burning the midnight oil catching tiny typos that turn invisible the first dozen times we edited the pages.

There is still a small amount of work to be done, so naturally my computer died. A new desktop tower should be here tomorrow, and then I will be able to finish up the book.

My brother Carlos created the cover image. Ten years ago Carlos also created a linoleum block portrait of me playing my Dobro 33H. I have to admit that I take great pride in having a friend who knows me well enough to capture me with a few shapes.

cover art for Just This Banjo by Carlos Vazquez

Once the last pages are edited I will get to work formatting the ebook edition and getting copies out to our patrons before making the work available for sale.

Once Just This Banjo is released, we will begin work on the next projects. We have some cool stuff in the works – including a new direction for The Banjo Dojo! 

Ten Years Later

On August 25, 2009 I was able to truly hear my music for the first time.

It was a life-changing moment, and ten years later the changes are still happening.

I can’t wait to hear what happens next.

Just This Banjo

Patrick in high school with his Dobro banjo.
Patrick as a teenager – right around the time many events in Just This Banjo take place.

My upcoming book, Just This Banjo, is almost finished. There are still a million things to finish, but the book itself is just about written.

Work has been impeded a bit by my health. The pain of peripheral neuropathy can be so overwhelming that it can send a potentially productive day down a dead end street. On some days the pain is so bad I just can’t think.

In spite of bad pain days, we are pages away from the final draft. Once that is finished we have to format the work and get it ready for release.

As a treat, here are the first couple of pages of the latest draft: Sneak Peek: Just This Banjo.

Next week I have some long days of medical tests and appointments in preparation for surgery to install a neurostimulation device on my spine to help manage my neuropathy pain. For the rest of this week into next week I will be putting The Daily Frail on hold so that I can finish up the last bits of writing and complete Just This Banjo.

Private lessons will continue as scheduled

If you have any questions about Just This Banjo, The Daily Frail, private instruction or electric banjos, call (410) 968-3873.

One Step Closer to a Cyborg

I visited a pain management clinic on Friday looking for help with my diabetic neuropathy.

If you have never experienced it, neuropathy pain sucks. The nerves in my feet are constantly signaling different kinds of pain. It ranges from shocks to burning, freezing, stabbing and tearing. Since it’s around the clock and constantly changing, there is no way to meditate through it. I can ride out a migraine headache because I know it will end eventually. Neuropathy just keeps on going like a hellish Energizer Bunny.

Medical marijuana has helped, but it is expensive and my insurance will not cover it.

The doctor at the pain clinic recommended a fairly new treatment: neurostimulation. They want to implant electrodes in my back that will change the pain signals traveling up my spine.

I already have my bilateral BAHA implant hearing aids, a ton of metal in my neck and a heart monitor in my chest. Electrodes and other equipment loaded into my back is going to make me feel like Locutus of Banjo.

Locutus

It is not a hard choice for me. While I dread another round of surgery, I am in too much pain to do nothing. Right now the plan is to go for it. We have already scheduled the tests and imaging work. We still have to work with the insurance to figure out the costs, but like I always say, “Nothing beats a failure but a try!”

Banjo Dojo, Private Instruction and More!

Getting ready to run up the road to visit a pain management clinic. Between peripheral neuropathy and migraine headaches I have had a rough summer. I am hoping they can help.

If they can’t help, I will just keep on fighting. I love my work too much to give up.

Speaking of work, I have held off posting a new Banjo Dojo lesson in order to give students a chance to work on the material in the first batch of videos. We will be posting the ninth video soon, beginning a deep dive into melody, harmony and improvisation. It’s gonna be a hoot.

We will be accepting students for private instruction soon. Watch our Patreon page for further announcements.

While we have been banjo-centric lately, that will soon change. I am too busy writing and teaching to take much more on, so we have our pal the mysterious Dobro Libre ready to step in as our resident guitar guru. 

Heading out the door now for Salisbury, MD. I will be working on cleaning up the final draft of Just This Banjo over the weekend. Keep on practicing and don’t miss the new Daily Frail series of workshops.

God bless,
-Patrick