Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

John Mark Oliver from Conyers, GA

What’s your favorite lesson on Ben’s site?
Probably my all-time favorite is “Blackberry Blossom” … but after seeing and hearing this week’s lesson I think it is “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.” Probably because the greatest day in my life was when Jesus called me to Himself and gave me the faith to trust Him for my salvation!

What’s your instrument of choice and what was your inspiration to learn how to play?
Definitely the banjo. Although I love the Dobro (my dad was an accomplished steel guitar and dobro player.) I had a cousin who first introduced me to the banjo when I was about 12 years old. I would spend a week with him and his family during the summer. It was during one of those visits that he taught me to 4 basic fingering patterns along with “Cripple Creek.”

What’s your goal when playing?
To have an enjoyable time. When playing in a jam or performing with a group I make it my goal to compliment the other instruments and vocals. I want people to know there is a banjo without it being obnoxiously obvious that there is a banjo.

How long have you been playing?
Approximately 45 years.

What’s your favorite hobby?
I have three that I’m passionate about. In no particular order they are: playing music, woodworking and gardening (the non-edible type.)

How long have you been a Gold Pick member?
I think I joined around the time Ben’s site first went up … approximately 7 or 8 years. I first became acquainted with Ben through his Youtube videos and then shot him an email. That initial email sparked a friendship with occasional phone conversations and mutual fellowship around both of our loves for Jesus.

What do you do for a living?
By God’s grace He has allowed me to pastor for 25 years now.



Congrats John,

Hey, John Mark,
Nice to get to know you. Congratulations on joining the GPotW club!

Nice to get to know you!

Great to get to know you John Mark! Putting God first will always create blessings and you are living them!

God Bless and keep picking!

Mark Porter

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Good to know you John, God Bless!

Great picture of you and Ben, by the way,


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Hey John, glad to meet you neighbor. I go through Conyers all the time, I live in Gray. What church do you pastor?

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He’s at FBC Conyers:

Hey Bcaves, I’m in Macon, GA. If you ever want to meet up and play a few songs lemme know.

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Hey Crohnieks,
I just sent you a message.

I got to meet John Mark at camp. This guy is as good as gold.


JMO! This guy’s smile is infectious!