Friday, December 7, 2012

“Sunflower Slow Drag”

A happy Friday, friends! & a Banjo Friday at that.

A new month is upon us, & so we have a new featured artist. After a fun month with the innovative Danny Barnes in November, we’re going back to the “classic banjo” sound with master Scottish banjoist (& lutenist, guitarist & uke player) Rob MacKillop (& see also this link.) MacKillop has appeared in previous posts here, & I’m a big admirer of his work in genres ranging from early music on the theorbo to Scott Joplin on the banjo!

Obviously, Scott Joplin needs no introduction—he’s one of the truly great American composers, a man who really brought the ragtime form to its true artistic heights. Of course, Joplin’s compositions were written for piano, the banjo is also a great vehicle for expressing his pieces—in skilled hands, the banjo can produce the delicacy of the compositions, while also lending its characteristically “American” sound. The “Sunflower Slow Drag” was co-written by Joplin & Scott Hayden & was copyrighted in 1901. It is a ragtime two-step.

As is typical of “classic banjo” playing, MacKillop is using a gut-strung instrument. His playing is precise, but at the same time is always marked by the sort of verve & panache that’s necessary to truly animate the tune.

I know you’ll enjoy this one!

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons – public domain

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