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Casey Henry interview

LtoR Rachel Renee Johnson, Casey Henry, Me

I thought you might find this interesting. Last year Amy Harrison and the Secondhand Stringband played a gig in Reading supporting the Cole Porters and The Dixie Bee Liners. I knew Casey Henry was playing banjo with the Bee Liners and Amy suggested I ask her if she wouldn’t mind answering a few questions for my ‘soon to be’ web site.So, we emailed her before hand. She was very gracious , she said she’d ” be honoured” . I was over the moon. I’ve been a big fan of her playing for some time now and have followed her columns in the Banjo News Letter  with eager anticipation ( whats wrong with that ? :- )  ).

By the way, has anyone else noticed how nice these American Bluegrass players are ?  I haven’t met them all , obviously , but I’ve met quite a few now and I’m always impressed by how down to earth they are. I met Bill Keith many years ago in a bar in Bath ( there was a banjo festival on , by the way. Before you say “wow! what are the chances of that ! ) . The place was virtually empty , I look to the side of me and there is a smallish bloke, with a moustache and a large floppy cap on . He’s got a blue Carlton case on a trolly ( cos those top tensions are way heavy ) and he’s eating his tea at the bar. He glances down at my banjo case and say ‘s …..and these words I’ll never forget…..” Hi, …would you like a chip ? ” .  I kid you not !  There he is, ex blue grass boy , virtually the inventor of the melodic style, the man who sorted out the  scruggs tuners and tabbed out the book for Earl and did a whole lot of other stuff. He’s even gone to the trouble of calling them ‘chips’ cos he’s in the UK ! I didn’t want to take up too much of his time, cos he’d had a long flight and was eating his dinner but the bloke was lovely. Very funny too.

But I digress, back to Casey. I’d thought it only proper that I should bring her a something to say thanks. So it was off to Harveys Brewery shop in Lewes to find some unusual ales ( stuff I didn’t think she’d see in the States ) and a Thomas Paine coffee mug.

Casey Henry Interview August 2010

For anyone who isn’t that familiar with Casey, she comes from a very musical family who have become renowned for their teaching material, as much as their playing. Casey’s mother is Murphy Henry who has produced dozens of tapes and dvds over many years helping people progress on the banjo. They aren’t huge fans of tablature, believing it can become a crutch for beginers. They prefer instead, to teach by ear believing this will better enable a player to get involved with sessions and come up with their own ideas. And will prevent them from becoming a slave to ‘set’ solo’s etc. learnt by rote

So there you go. The interview isn’t very slick and is fairly short but it does give you a chance to hear a very experienced player and accomplished teacher give some insight. I hope you find it interesting.

When she got back to the states , she gave me a mention in her Banjo Newsletter column ! I was well pleased 🙂 I’ll put that up for you to see as well.

If you want to find out more about Casey Henry you can visit her website here.

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