Bartell's Backroads MISTER BANJO - John Green may be 91 and retired, but he still plays a mean four-string. See John Bartell's video about John as aired on ABC 10 in February of 2019.
We play 4-string banjos, with clear melody supported by strummed chords, like you would expect to hear on a riverboat or in Dixieland jazz bands. Our favorite tunes were composed around the turn of the 20th century - from the gay 90's through the 40's and a few from the 50's. Seniors are delighted to hear familiar tunes. Younger people are excited because this style of music is novel to them. How often do you see 15-25 banjo players happily plucking away together? Enthusiastic toe tapping, thunderous clapping to our rhythms, and joyous singing characterize our audiences.
Our band has other instruments too...a tuba, gut bucket, washboard, clarinet, fiddle, and an interesting instrument known as a stumpf fiddle. And yes, we have male and female vocalists, most of whom also play in the band. It all adds up to happy music in a style that is new and refreshing. In today's media-saturated world we encounter jaded audiences who think they've heard it all...until we change their minds! Then they are eager to buy our CD's. It's really quite predictable!
Some of our members are accomplished soloists. Can you believe that the William Tell Overture could be a feature number for a banjo soloist? Well, it is...and it's a highlight of our CD entitled "Side by Side".