The 2017 March Madness Winner
The votes have been entered, tabulated, and kept as far from the accountants at Price Waterhouse Cooper as possible.
And the winner of the Song of the Week March Madness 2017 Tournament is….
I must say, I’m not surprised by this result.
Like the winners of the past 2 years’ contests, Snowdrop and Wandering Boy, this is simply an outstanding song. And my job in playing it is to figure out how to best do it justice, and then just get the hell out of its way.
As I said in the original Song of the Week post for “Darling Corey,” there may not be a better tune for showcasing all that’s great about the banjo. It’s in a funky tuning that on paper looks ridiculous…until you try it. It’s about whiskey making. And murder.
A couple takeways:
Don’t resist the alternate tunings. It’s a natural tendency to resist using the alternate tunings on the banjo, especially if you have experience on an instrument where doing so isn’t commonplace. But don’t. Almost always, those tunings exist because they make a song
a) easier to play and
b) sound better.
That couldn’t be more true in this case. Sure, you could play “Darling Corey” out of standard G, for example, but it wouldn’t sound half as good.
A great song played well beats anything else. I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. For 3 years straight now, the winner has not been the song that’s the most technically complex or challenging to play, again affirming how little relationship between the technical sophistication required to play a song and the pleasure it delivers.
Music is still fundamentally about the transfer of feeling from one human mind to another. Anything that diminishes that objective gets the axe. The longer I play, the more I appreciate the value of subtraction.
Taking a great melody and playing it with good tone and timing really is what it’s all about.
And the runner-up spot, with a highly respectable showing, went to “Big Rock Candy Mountain.”
Thanks so much to everyone who took part in the voting. We’ll do it again next March!
[RELATED: The “10 Greatest Hits of Clawhammer Banjo” book of tabs was based on the results of the first two March Madness tournaments. Click here if you haven’t grabbed your copy of it yet.]
Level 2 arrangements and video demos for the Tune (and Song!) of the Week tunes are now available as part of the Breakthrough Banjo course. Learn more about it here.
Click here for a current list of all the clawhammer songs and tunes currently available inside of The Vault