Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Musical Adventures

Thought this would be a good place to start a thread where we can share any musical adventures we have.

I’ll be spending the next two weekends + volunteeringhere

for the Fourth year now.

I grew up going to this festival with many friends who did also. Oldest continuous music festival of any kind in Michigan. I have an awesome time working my butt off and helping my old friend and ex-bandmate in different groups. When we were younger he would come here and appropriate guitar licks I’d play.

I’ll spend a few days running a Bobcat; moving picnic tables, traffic control pylons, and vendor wagons, filling dips in roads, setting up day parking, and then I’ll switch to tractor each morning for trash pick-up, cruise in a ATV or golf cart giving folks rides between the stage and the campground.

Somewhere I have to fit in a few hours of practice with some folks I will do a show with in about 6 weeks…Thy have me playing fiddle…and it’s a fiddler’s convention…I’ve much work to do.

Then the Sat of the festival I play a show in OH about 2hrs from the festival…two sets and then back up to the festival to hopefully set back for a bit (or take a nap)


Man, that looks like fun! I need to come up there and see y’all sometime.

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It’s a great jamming and family oriented festival Ben. I’m sure you’d have a good time.

Maybe you could deal with Wes Pettinger about helping with/ putting on a workshop or two :wink:

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Well, got called for a band, did a couple sets on a show a few week ago, then had a “vocal practice” this afternoon…I’m playing Bass & singing Baritone for this unit. Been quite a few years since I’ve enjoyed doing group vocals as much a I did today.

Also started getting together here and there wit two other musicians…one plays clawhammer banjo (he can also pick Scruggs style some) and does folk & bluegrass…the other is a very good young mando & guitar picker/teacher who does dawg, bluegrass, folk, and other stuff. Have loose future plans of getting the 3 of us together at some point.

Been having a ball picking with others again lately.after several years of basically playing alone.


Hey Ben, If you do decide to head up to Michigan to meet with Dave, how about organising and recording a slow jam session that you could post on the website for oversea and home grown students who for what ever reason cant make it share in your experience.


Hi Dave,

I would really like to be there and see Volume Five.

Do you yet know which day they will be performing?

I am thinking to ask some friends to go too.

I also think it is GREAT - no charge for kids younger yhan 16!

A great way to get young people exposed to some awesome music!

I hope you do head up to the “Enchanted Mitten”! It would be an honor to meet you sir!

Hey there Will,

The schedule isn’t finished yet, but i’ll try to remember to post it here when it gets published.

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Update: We’ve had a couple very productive vocal practices for the band, performed a long set on local jam stage and have picked up a couple gigs for the season. The guys all get along very well and looks like it may last a while as we’re pretty much all on the same page

Had a great time playing fiddle at a fish fry/jam session last night. Got lucky and had one of those elusive, wonderful
sessions where I played far above my normal ability…I love when that happens…a couple times i had to just look at my fiddle and wonder “did I really just pull that off?” haha

Got a call from a buddy today…Mike Lilly is coming up to hang out & jam next weekend and asked John to call me and see if I’d come play Bass…uhhh…YES! Always have a great time with Mike (and he’s one awesome banjo picker).


Well, the jam was everything I could have hoped for…so many great vocals that I just played bass and backed out of any singing.

~800 miles on the truck this week and four great sessions…every mile was worth it…super kickoff to the season!


My buddy sent me a few files from our jam last Sat…

Just a room recording…mix isn’t near as good as it was live.

the link sent me to Google Drive sign in then appeared a Send Request button for access to the material.

not sure if your friend will receive the request or you or does it matter?

Done…it’s my folder.

sorry for the needing to ask permission…

Link should be fixed now so permission isn’t needed

Great pickin’! That mando picker is on fire.

Jeff Tuttle on the mando & singing tenor. It was a rare treat to have him take time away from church & family to come pick some 'grass with us for a while

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Thanks for sharing these files. I thoroughly enjoyed them.

For a novice like me, these sound like a distant dream. But then again, I’m finding myself easily picking out certain licks on the banjo that not so long ago would’ve sounded like a distant dream.


Glad you enjoyed them!

Just keep playing and enjoying it…you’ll be surprised at some of the advances you can make over time.

If it’s any consolation there’s a lot of years of experience there. Average age is over 60 and all have over 40 years playing under our belts.

We’re all a little bit rusty, but have a lot of fun picking & visiting together.


Worked a show that a friend who follows our band put on last night.
Played a set on fiddle with one group last night…then two more on Bass with two other units.
Lots of hard core Stanley stuff with “the Lester Boys” up from Virginia.


Even got to pick a set with old Red Martin (sitting) who turned 76 this week…I followed him and his band around for years when younger and it was great to get to visit and pick with him again.



So far part of last nights show is only on facebook…

Up on stage we couldn’t here bajo but fiddle was plenty loud…weird how it was so different out front…not usually the case


That’s good stuff! I’m listening now!

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