Thursday, September 20, 2012


      The Fralic's hosted the second old time jam at their barn.  Lindsey and Phil played Angelina Baker on their fiddles while I added the percussion, using a technique called fiddlesticks.  To achieve the percussive affect, just use chopsticks to lightly tap the strings of the fiddle between the bow and the fiddler's left hand.  As a side note, we were inspired by this video of Tim Eriksen.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Angelina Baker

Angelina Baker
Angelina Baker's gone
She left me here to weep a tear
And beat on the old jaw bone

       Here is another old-time tune done in the clawhammer banjo style.  It is the first old time song I heard in a live, grassroots setting.  A week later, I bought my banjo.  The tune is called "Angelina Baker".  Despite the upbeat sound, the lyrics can be pretty sad.  The traditional Steven Foster lyrics are about a slave who mourns the loss of his lover after she is sold away.  There are some differences between this song and a later song "Angeline the Baker," but aside from the lyrics, I'm not exactly sure what they are.  If anybody knows, please shed some light on the topic.  This version is a combination of Mike Iverson's version I learned a while ago, and my own version.  In fact, it may actually be a blend of the two aforementioned songs, if they are indeed different.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Winemaking Tip: Leaving WIne on the Lees

      One thing I have noticed about home winemakers, mead makers, and brewers is how overly controlling many van be about making their product.  It is great that in this modern age, we have science, precise measuring tools and the technology to replicate earlier recipes.  However, one shouldn't get so involved in all the details that wine making, mead making or brewing loose their charms.  Too often, I have encountered brewers that have two-thousand dollars worth of equipment and fret over the most minuscule details, but their beer isn't all that great.  On many occasions people have even complimented me on one of my creations, and then after asking me how I made it, they seem upset when I explain my techniques and they then proceed to tell me what I did "wrong."  What is both frustrating and amusing is these people usually don't make wine, mead, or beer that tastes as good as mine.  Don't misinterpret me, I still use good techniques (e.g. proper sanitation, record keeping, utilize high quality ingredients), but I do believe that sometimes too much effort is invested for too little returns.  In these cases, it may be easier to just do it the simple way.  So, in my new series of posts, I will be giving little tips on how to brew, make wine, or make mead the simple (not to mention cheap and easy) way!  I have already discussed many of these techniques with both friends and strangers at bars and I've got plenty of resistance.  To any doubters I will say the same thing I say to everyone else.  Before you label my techniques as rubbish, come on over to my place and try some of my drinks that are made simply.  Then (like some ignorant people) you can tell me how wrong I am while we both drink some delicious, improperly-made drinks.  Any, I have vented enough, on to tip number 1!