Kentucky Old-Time String Bands: An Ensemble Session
Kentucky Old-Time String Bands: An Ensemble Session with Brett Ratliff
This class will meet on four Mondays from 6-8pm: March 25, April 8, April 22, and May 6.
Crockett’s Kentucky Mountaineers. Kentucky String Ticklers. The Coon Creek Girls. Bill Livers and the Holbrook Idiots. The influence of Kentucky string bands on the national scene is vast. In the early 20th century our string bands gave rise to “hillbilly music,” informing the making of jug band, blues, bluegrass, and country. By mid-century rural Kentuckians were performing for the President, First Lady, and King and Queen of England at the White House. Perhaps most importantly, string bands have been the linchpin of Kentucky communities for generations, bringing neighbors together in homes and at dances, church potlucks, and political fish fries. Often driven by a strong fiddle, with banjo, mandolin, guitar, and bass in support, not to mention the necessary touch of stand-up comedy, string bands offer a versatile, complex, and fun exploration of community, tradition, and innovation.
Together we will:
- Learn by ear (reading-skills not used)
- Practice innovation in the context of tradition
- Experience hands-on ensemble learning in a low-pressure environment
- Practice dynamic, alternate lead playing and singing
- Practice dynamic instrument and voice harmony
- Learn various arrangements of popular tunes and songs
- Learn how to think as a band, practicing positive, audience-forward collaboration