The starving kitten that wandered into our backyard last year is growing into a beautiful cat.

He is gentle, patient and always ready to play. I don’t know how he found us, but we all love him. Even Dear Old Dad likes him, and he hates cats!

PS: He weighs 18 lbs!

Progress and Other Accidental Joys

A windstorm right before Easter wiped out our net and cable.  We are just getting caught up now.

Work is going well on moving the video archive from YouTube to Vimeo. I am impressed by the improved video quality on the new platform, and we have some cool stuff in the works.

Old-Time Banjo Without the Bullshit is still on track to begin at the end of the month. I am reluctant to discuss the form and flow of the workshop series until it is underway. This series is not going to be anything like the work I have done in the past. It will be best to go in cold.  

Oh, I forgot to mention: this will be an all-level workshop. If you have been playing for four days or forty years, there will be things to learn and discover.

In personal news, I finally picked up a copy of My Brother Larry: The Stooge In The Middle.

I heard about the book years ago. It is great to have a copy in my hands because I have a connection to Larry. My great uncle was Emmett Welch, the minstrel turned vaudevillian. He gave Larry his first job!

I have very little information about Emmett. My grandmother did not approve of her brother. I was floored to read in the book that Emmett pioneered the motive theater singalong. I never knew that.

Meatball the feral Maine Coon is thriving in his new home. He had his first trip to our veterinarian and got a clean bill of health. We are all kind of wondering how big he will get because he is already huge. Pooka can’t stand him, but she’ll get over it.

In my music, arthritic hands can get me down occasionally. Doing simple things like picking up a cup of coffee or getting dressed are studies in pain. I am so glad that I took picked up a Theremini. 

The Moog Theremini is the single greatest thing since the invention of waffles. I love this instrument! Now I need to start saving up and researching synthesizers.

I also need a pair of Devo Energy Domes.  

The harmonica and theremin have brought me a lot of joy through this cold and painful winter. I sent the folks at Suzuki a note about how much I love my new Pure Harp MR-550. They wrote me back to let me know that my note was read to the R&D team and the good folks working in the factory. I have to admit, that made me smile.  

I have gotten quite a few requests for workshops and performances on the theremin. While I am touched by the excitement, there is already a great deal on my plate now. Perhaps there will be opportunity and inspiration later in the year.

Making Progress

We have a new Patreon page:

Work on the video archive is slowly making progress. We have to download the video files from YouTube in bulk before uploading them to Vimeo.
The change of platforms is a massive task that has both of us bleary-eyed from sorting through so many files.

At the rate we are going, it won’t be too much longer before the entire archive is uploaded. Then we will be able to organize things into playlists.

The inaugural episode of Old-Time Banjo Without The Bullshit will go live on April 30th exclusively to patrons.

People have asked me about the show and the blunt title…

If you come to me asking for my recipe for biscuits, I would just tell you or write it down.

If you were to ask a similar question on a banjo forum, you would have to sit through several lectures on the history of grain, dairy products, baking, the sociopolitical implications of biscuits and on and on and on and on.

So, for Old-Time Banjo Without The Bullshit, the goal is going to just get things back to making music.

I will be posting a new video soon with additional information about this and some other irons we have in the fire.

Well, I have to get back to sorting and uploading files and Dear Old Dad is posting each file to Patreon. It’s a lot of work, but there are many happy memories of sharing music with you.

Old-Time Banjo Without The Bullshit

Old-Time Banjo Without The Bullshit

A master class In old-time banjo presented as an eight-part podcast.

Hosted by Patrick Costello.

Begins April 30th 2021.


Available to Patreon sponsors.
Note the new URL:

  • Episode One: Rhythm
  • Episode Two: Chords
  • Episode Three: Playing and Singing
  • Episode Four: Scales and Melody
  • Episode Five: Improvisation and Jamming
  • Episode Seven: Progress
  • Episode Eight: Stagecraft

At times workshops will reference The How and the Tao of Old-Time Banjo and A Book of Five Strings. Both titles are on Amazon and freely available under Creative Commons licenses.