Wade Mainer, Old Timey Banjo Player
February 1, 2009 6:01 AM   Subscribe

Wade Mainer played a two-finger style of banjo, between old timey and bluegrass. Here is an interview he did with David Holt at the age of 97. Part 2. Part 3. Still playing strong!
posted by RussHy (9 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Well, this is pretty splendid. Thanks, RussHy. Quite apart from the top picking, Mr Mainer wears a hat far more impressively than the interviewer too.
posted by Abiezer at 6:23 AM on February 1, 2009

love it
posted by SNACKeR at 7:56 AM on February 1, 2009

First I've heard of Wade. Love his relaxed style, very pleasing. Many thanks for this post, RussHy!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:45 AM on February 1, 2009

This is great. I have J.E. Mainer's Mountaineers album "Run Mountain" (highly recommended, btw) and have always loved the picking on it. It's so great to actually see him play - I've been trying to figure out exactly what he was doing for years.

Also, that dude doesn't look a day over 80.
posted by smartyboots at 9:22 AM on February 1, 2009

I saw Wade and Julia play in 2007, at Midwest Banjo Camp. Wade had just turned 100, and looked pretty spry. After a slightly uncertain start, they hammered out a great version of "I Can't Sit Down".

Wade's banjo (or one of them) was recently on sale for $130,000. Purists were all hung-up that Gibson had replace all the pre-war metalwork with new stuff, but that's what Gibson used to do.

Juneberry has some sample cuts: Wade Mainer, Mainer's Mountaineers.

I take some odd delight in knowing that one of Mainer's early sponsors was Crazy Water Crystals, a laxative later banned by the FTC.
posted by scruss at 10:21 AM on February 1, 2009

I've been trying to figure out exactly what he was doing for years.

Watching his right hand, it looks simple. Funny how often the simple picking sounds better than some blindingly fast chromatic run. I love the sound, it's good for singing along to.
posted by RussHy at 10:21 AM on February 1, 2009

Actually, I need to correct myself - Wade isn't playing banjo on Run Mountain. It's J.E.'s son. He is, however, playing Wade's style.
posted by smartyboots at 10:31 AM on February 1, 2009

Hooray, I welcome much more BanjoFilter in the future.
posted by tmcw at 11:39 AM on February 1, 2009

Man, I was learning his tunes way back in the day... he deserves to join cajun fiddler Dennis McGee (1893-1989) in the Real Old Timers Hall of Fame. Never say die!
posted by zaelic at 1:41 PM on February 2, 2009

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