Teach Yourself Banjo book under CC license

Patrick Costello's "The How and the Tao of Old Time Banjo" — a lyrical, engaging teach-yourself-the-banjo book — is now available for free online under a Creative Commons license.

"What have you got, kid?" The old man asked me around his cigar.

A banjo!" I replied.

"I know that you little dipstick." He said rolling his eyes "You think somebody as old as I am hasn't seen a banjo before? What have you got? Play something."

I thought about trying to say something to get out of this. As I stood there fidgeting the old man shook his head, picked up his guitar and started to walk away.

Oh man, I thought to myself, I'm really blowing something here. It was an August day. The festival was being held on this big open field and the sun was just hammering down on us. I knew a total of three and a half songs. I didn't want to make a fool out of myself but I also had the feeling that if I chickened out here I was going to miss out on something. I closed my eyes for a second, took a deep breath, moved my banjo strap a little bit on my shoulder and started to pound my way through a tune called "The White House Blues".

The old man cocked his head and nodded a little before he turned around. He stood there holding a beat up guitar while cigar smoke billowed around his head. He seemed to enjoy listening to me ruin a perfectly good song.


(Thanks, Patrick!)