Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Janet Carlisle from Demossville, Kentucky


What was it that first got you interested in playing the gutiar, mandolin or banjo?
I have been interested in playing guitar from a child as long as I can remember. I also have been interested in playing banjo and mandolin since my young adult years. I remember hearing my uncles playing those 3 instruments in a group and being featured to play and sing in many little churches down in the hills of Kentucky. I always admired them and especially remember such songs as “Rank Stranger”, “There’s a Light at the River”, and “It’ll Always be Springtime in Heaven.”

How long have you been playing and what’s your motivation to play?
I have been playing guitar since I was 8 years old. I just started banjo a couple of years ago, and am fairly new to mandolin. Growing up, we never had money for lessons and so I am self taught. It is so exciting for me now that the internet exists and I have discovered Banjo Ben. I am motivated just thinking of the endless possibilities of learning techniques and new material.

What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site and how has it helped you improve?
I like going back to the basics and making sure I am playing correctly. I like the song I am learning from Banjo Ben right now, " I Have Decided to Follow Jesus". It is helping me improve by taking me up to some of the higher frets.

What’s your goal when playing?
My goal is to play a few songs well and read tabs a bit more fluently.

What’s your favorite hobby?
As well as playing bluegrass gospel music, I just love to listen to it.

How long have you been a Gold Pick member?
I sort of lost track of time, but I think I have been a Gold Pick member for almost 3 years.

What do you do for a living?
I work as a Home Healthcare Aide.
My “real” work is with my church. I have characteristically always had guitar in hand when teaching a Sunday School class, Youth Group, Nursing Home, or just sitting around a bonfire. I own two 12-string guitars which are my go-to’s. I also play bass guitar in my church. I finally made it to the “big time” a few years ago when I played bass and sang some harmony for my Uncles on their first and only CD!


Florence Y’all!!!

Janet, I LOVE your identity, “my real work is with my church.” I wish I get to the point when someone asks me “what do you do” that what naturally comes from my mouth is Kingdom oriented.

Great to meet you!

For any that don’t know, “Florence Y’all” was what ended up on a water tower not too far away from Janet’s neck of the woods. It was a result of the great Florence Mall controversy.

Now I’m gonna go listen to Rank Strangers… great song!


Hi Janet congratulations on being select as this weeks Gold Pick Member of the week. I enjoyed reading your profile and getting to know you a little. It would be nice to have you join in as an active member on the forum and maybe post a video or two. We really need more lady’s participating on @BanjoBen 's Forum and I think you might just be the person to encourage this.

Nice to meet you Janet. What @Mike_R said about your identity… Ditto :slight_smile:

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I worked in the South on many occassions and driven down past those parts (KY is very striking countryside) many times with my fam… and passing that sign (either coming or going) was always a HIGHLIGHT!

I don’t know the Florence Mall backstory… but it makes no difference because that water tower was a landmark all its’ own that we enjoyed… and one my son and me spontaneously shout on occasion until today!

Awesome comment Mike to an awesome profile post Janet… which is why this “Picker of the Week is the BEST!

Janet, Congrats on the honor and insightful profile.


It’s nice to meet you. I drove through Kentucky for my first time this spring and I agree with Will, it is a beautiful place!


Nice to meet you Janet. Congratulations!

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Hi Janet! Congratulations on being gold picker of the week! Kentucky is one of the coolest places I’ve never been :joy: are you learning I have decided to follow Jesus on all three instruments?


I think I am going to just learn it on banjo for now.

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Thanks for the nice comments! So, I remember when the Florence water tower was first built. They painted “Florence Mall” on it in anticipation of the mall that was in the planning stages of being built. Someone countered that it was illegal to advertise something that did not exist So instead of repainting the entire thing, they simply changed the “Mall” to “Yall” and it stuck! Pretty creative, right?


Awesome - and yes… very catchy. Imagine… whomever created the idea… how proud the would be to know that we are discussing that signature landmark all these years later… across multiple state lines!

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Just to make you feel right at home @jcarlisle


Not exactly home for me… but the feeling of warmth fits all the same!

Thanks @jcarlisle! Funny how some of the most impactful and creative sparks happened “by accident”… or out of necessity!

I remember once… somewhere near this sign… we were traveling to the Deep South through Louisville… and we somehow missed the junction from I-75S to I-71W (to Louisville).

Well, we went to the next exit and took “surface streets” to double back to I-71 versus crossing over to head back up I-75N.

Anyway, that country, I fondly recall… was one horse farm after another. Now, from a suburban northern guy who knows NOTHING about horses, I recall the grass, the hills and trees… it was NO ACCIDENT that we were awestruck at the natural beauty in that area! And… this was before I bought my Banjo and discovered Bluegrass. Who knows… maybe it was another piece in the puzzle, nudging me in readiness… to where I am today?!

Another time, leaving Louisville there was an ice storm the night before. The next morning, at sunrise, we saw the rays glisten on the ice crystals on every branch of all those trees. Another beautiful “weather accident” of fortune!

Thank God for “accidents” that turn out to make a pleasant life memory in our hearts, minds & souls…

Nice to “meet” you, Janet. I’m about an hour and a half from you in Nicholasville, KY.

Thank you, Chelsea. Nice to “meet” you too

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Hi Janet! Great bio and nice to know you! Congratulations on GPOW!! My wife Rosana is a Certified Occupational Therapist for over 19 years who also teaches at the University and just started doing some home health care. You have to have a true Love of God and of your neighbors to follow that vocation and to do it well as I’m sure you do. So the way I see it, your “work” of helping those in need, and doing it with a Loving heart IS church! It is only when we bend our knees to help one in need, that we can move close enough to then see the face of Christ in them, and they in us!

Christ’s blessings and again, congratulations!

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HI Janet…Welcome to the “Best place to learn”. Congrats on the GPMOTW. That’s cool that you can play guitar AND try to learn banjo and mando. I would like to learn Mando, next after I get banjo somewhat figured out.