Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Oldhat Is Bragging!

Well just wanted to brag and let you yahoo’s know that I scored tickets for me and momma to go see Old Crow Medicine Show and Pokey Lafarge at the Ryman (Grand Old Opry) on New Years Eve!

Eat you hear out! Never thought I’d pay this much for tickets but I figured “what the heck” it’s OCMS and on New Years downtown Nash to boot!


Oh, man! I was eyeing that show just last week. If I could pick any New Year’s show this year, that would probably be the one I’d see. I’m really jealous. I haven’t seen them perform since Willie Watson left the band. It will be weird not having his voice in the band.

There’s no video webcast, either, but at least Sirius is broadcasting the audio.

Speaking of New Year’s shows, Donna the Buffalo is live streaming video of all three nights of their New Year’s run for free. (Last night was the first night.) It’s electric music, but still pretty fun! Opening act (The Believers) starts at 8pm eastern.

It was a shame that Willie left…had a pretty “traditional” type voice. Last I heard he was heading to California to do his own thing…probably succumb to the life of many folk singers and get messed up in the drugs…more-so-than he already is.

No doubt that Wagon Wheel propelled them into the spotlight…probably one of the most well known songs from a string band in a long time. Just walk down the strip of Nashville and damn near every band is doing their version of “Wagon Wheel” and ZB’s “Chicken Fried”…those songs get played a lot on the strip…I mean a lot…out of the 20 bands or so playing at any given time you can hear at least 3 or 4 of them playing these 2 songs at any given moment.

I think that Old Crow outside of meeting Doc Watson and him inviting them over to his house really got their big kick-off at the Station Inn here in Nash where Ketch and the boys met Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings.

In other news…I called Joe Diffie and idiot the other day…ran into him and he had shorts on in the rain and it was 40 degrees…didn’t recognize him…he was standing waiting for the rain to end to head to his car…my buddy had on shorts also…Joe walked up and I said “I see you are an F’n idiot like my buddy here”…Joe Laughed…then I realized who it was!

I’ve heard disparaging remarks about Wagon Wheel at jams, too, so I think it gets overplayed everywhere.

— Begin quote from ____

I called Joe Diffie and idiot the other day

— End quote

Can’t be too careful who you call an idiot in Nashville, I guess. Everyone is a star or a wannabe!

Have fun tonight!

Will do, heading there shortly.

Gonna be a mad house downtown. With Vandy playing earlier today in the Music City Bowl “home game” at LP field (Titans stadium downtown) and winning, with New Years, and the shows…elbow to elbow. No doubt downtown Nashville knows how to party…took us 4 hours to get home 15 miles for the 4th of July Festivities…tonight will be a freaking mad-house and I’ll be right in the thick of it!

Well the concert went very well. Sold out show. OCMS just isn’t the same without Willie though as they are missing the sound of his voice…still well worth it!

I guess from this show the most striking thing was the age of the crowd. Momma is 43 and I am 42 and we were the “older ones there”. Good to see so many younger (21-30 year old) folks getting into string band music. I guess between OCMS, The Avett Brothers, and Munford & Sons I can at least say there is a group of youngun’s following good music these days.

Lots of weed smokers…young hippies for the most part.

Also the crowd was really nice, polite and friendly to all. Was pretty amazing.

Next date at the Grand Ol’ Opry is to see Ed Sheeren. Mmma and I got our oldest (13) 2 tickets for later this month, told her “You can take whoever you want as we will drop you off, hang out downtown while you are at the concert then bring you home”…and to my surprise out of all her friends she said “Dad I’d like you to go with me”…made my day!


SO I was talking with a musician there, told me I should listen to some of “.357 String Brand” as they are somewhat like OCMS. Well I did and figured I’d ask you if you have ever heard of them or this song? Is a really good song…reminds me a lot of Wagon Wheel progression/feel.

Figured I’d share this as it appears that you and I have strikingly similar interests in music and this one kind of stuck out.



Well I been a-waitin’
For far too many conversations
Keep on a-hailin’ for that time to come
Well they see it in the news
And they see it in the weather
But all that is it will be shall become
Well something ‘bout a king
And come something ‘bout a struggle that’s as good as done
But it’s no time to pretend
Well them people getting restless
With their foolish thoughts of death and lessness(?)
Well I say good is good because it is

Well Long they go they’ll tempt you with gospel
Little Long put down that gospel
Long they go they’ll tempt you with gospel
Little Long put down that gospel

Well I’m still a-waitin’
For that force of creation to awaken us to mold that setting sun
But nothin’ but hypocrites want nothin’ but nothingness,
Telling us it’s better when it’s done
Well that good is evil, wise is dumb, and a war that’s lost is a war that’s won
I can’t take it any more
Such a will and self-deception,
All for a glimpse of a heaven
That you can’t see right outside your door

Well Long they go they’ll tempt you with gospel
Little Long put down that gospel
Long they go they’ll tempt you with gospel
Little Long put down that gospel

Now I’m done a-waitin’
Now it’s time where we start takin’
Liken to a short time in that sun
‘cause I’m tellin’ you the end don’t justify the meaninglessness
Of all that we have done
Well there’s a heaven and hell inside of me
There’s a heaven and hell that lives and breathes,
Not above or far beneath
So stop wishin’ for the past and strivin’ for the future
In that moment, everything’s complete

Well Long they go they’ll tempt you with gospel
Little Long put down that gospel
Long they go they’ll tempt you with gospel
Little Long put down that gospel

— Begin quote from ____

we were the “older ones there”.

— End quote

It’s a good sign that you can keep up with the youngins, and them Old Crow boys aren’t exactly innocent youth anymore, either. They can’t be too far from 40. Glad the show was a good time.

The .357 String Band sounds pretty good, but unfortunately when I Googled them, it appears that they aren’t a working band anymore. :frowning:

Well Larry I went and done it, I joined a group/band today. All are/were pro musicians…decent guys, all are getting older and are just acoustic based stuff now and were looking for someone to add a bluegrass “twang”. So I was picked. Practice 3 days a week and 3-4 gigs locally each month around Nashville. Our 1st gig is at the “American Pickers” location here in Nashville in 2-3 weeks (as soon as we are ready). Gigs are paid and so is practice sessions, they have a studio locally that we are gonna be practicing at.

Told them I only play to have fun and that I liked the route they were going with their songs, feel, and atmosphere and that I need not be paid…Guy said “Well you don’t have to take it if ya don’t want to but it will be there for you”.

Wasn’t dong much else so I figured “what the heck”…so I jumped in today.

Nice to step into a working band! I bet it’ll be a fun experience for you, and getting to play with established musicians is a good thing, too. Once you guys are up and running, you’ll have to give us a listen.

I got the latest issue of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine today, and Dan Crary has an article where he argues that the best thing a flatpicker can do to advance his playing isn’t more repetitious practice at home, or even jamming, but rather performing a piece of music that’s been polished and perfected. You’re going to get lots of opportunities to do that now.

Some more Braggin:

Playing a round of golf tomorrow eve with the wife then it’s off to the Station Inn to see the Steeldrivers!

Oh did I mention that she got us Trampled By Turtles tickets for the November show here in Nashville?


I saw the Steeldrivers earlier this year at a festival here in Arkansas. They were the headliners I guess you could say and were the last band to play on the last day. I thought they were pretty good but a lot of people got up and left after two or three songs and it wasn’t just to beat the crowd to the parking lot. I think Gary Nichols’ vocals were probably a little much for a conservative/traditional bluegrass audience. Or it could have been the small crowd of rather peculiar people that followed the band here from wherever and acted a little strange during the band’s set. It was the first time I’ve ever seen anyone escorted out of an auditorium at a bluegrass festival. Again, good band - wrong venue. I especially liked Tammy Rogers. Most folks aren’t aware she co-wrote a hit song for Terri Clark back in 2000.

Hope you and the better half enjoy the show. I’ve never been to the Station Inn or the Bluebird Cafe but those are two places I plan on patronizing next time I go to Nashville.

Sounds fun, oldhat. I wondered where you’ve been.

We’ve got 4 days of Magnoliafest next week down here in my neck of the woods. Not too bluegrassy this year -the Travelin’ MCourys are about it, but I get to see Willie Nelson, John Prine, Kris Kristofferson and a bunch more. I love long festivals like this with multiple stages where I can wander around and stumble on new bands.

Steeldrivers were “ummm “ok””

I seen Prine and Kristofferson in concert a few years back…not together but different venues.

Only thing outside of being entertainers that they are that I can expand upon was that Kris was in a black suit and It was 100 degrees outside, was in an amphitheater and birds pooped on his suit about 10 times and he never missed a beat…I was front row…no birds got me!

I’ve never seen the Steeldrivers live, but I like the videos I’ve seen. Do you think they were just having an off night, oldhat?

I’ve never seen Prine or Kristofferson live, and it’s been years (like 20) since I’ve seen Willie. It should be a great time with lots of campfire pickin’ to boot. And the weather is just perfect this week.

Yep an off night I guess. Just didn’t like the over-all sound they were putting out.

In other news:

I am having a “jam session” at my house on Saturday (this Saturday) with a few fellas. If any of you YAHOOS happen to be in Nashville then feel free to stop by. We are gonna play maybe around 2:00-3:00 and then around 7:30 we are gonna take the wives and head to the Station Inn to listen to these guys:


I knwo some of you travel to Nashville from time to time, so if you are here Saturday (or any other time for that matter then let me know and I’d love to have ya over). Shoot me a pm and I will give you my phone number and address.


Thanks for the link. Michael Cleveland is amazing… great tone, taste and chops. Enjoy the show!
I’ll be headed that way around Thanksgiving, but I’ll be pretty busy making a whirlwind family tour. Some other time I am headed that way, maybe we play a bit or catch a show.

Yep. let me know if you are ever in town Mike…I’ll give Ben a buzz and have him give us a lesson or two and show up to jam with us.