i'm on the rag. the black mountain rag, that is. some of you know that i've been infected by the bluegrass bug for years. when i lived in the bucolic shenandoah valley, fresh bluegrass wasn't hard to come by. now that i'm a colorado resident, i find myself lacking in good quality pickin' and grinnin' (despite the fact that the most famous yearly bluegrass festival is held in telluride). one of my only sources for the tinny treble trinity of banjo, mandolin, and guitar is a local band called Grass It Up. i first heard them several months ago at my absolute favorite watering hole, Trinity Brewery, and my bluegrass fever shot through the roof.
after hearing classics like "sittin' on top of the world" and "take me in your lifeboat," an awesome version of "stickshifts and safety belts" by CAKE, and the BEST rendition of "voodoo child" that i've ever heard, i knew i had to get in on the action. during a set break, i struck up a conversation with Grass It Up's main guitarist, Shannon Carr, and arranged for a lesson.
i've "played" guitar for about 15 years now but i'll be the first to admit that i don't play nearly as well as i should for having played for that long. i've always played by ear and by watching others and i don't practice as much as i should. that said, my first lesson went well. i've self-taught myself some bad habits but i didn't leave feeling like a total boob. i made a CD of artists i'd like to emulate and some tunes i'd like to learn and after listening to it, my instructor decided that my first lesson would revolve around doc watson's version of black mountain rag.
here are three somewhat divergent versions of black mountain rag for your listening pleasure. doc's version:
chet atkins' version:
and brian setzer's version:
*blisters and hand cramps ensue*