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If it appears as if I had a good time in the creation of this installment of the Song of the Week, it’s because I did.
After all, how many sanctioned opportunities in life to you get to deliver your your best yodeling/train whistle impersonation. So when the occasion presents itself, one must be ready to take full advantage!
I was first introduced to this song via the Highwoods String Band, through their “Feed Your Babies Onions” album, which heavily influenced the version I present here.
I’ve since learned that it was originally written by Bob Nolan of the Sons of the Pioneers (who first recorded it in 1937), that it was a favorite of Pete Seeger’s, and that it was the theme song for the movie Raising Arizona.
With a protagonist who’s riding the rails out west, this song is particularly well suited to the pulsating sound of clawhammer banjo. Be sure to drive this train hard!
And special thanks to Ryan Marshall for suggesting this as a Song of the Week!
(RELATED: Breakthrough Banjo members can now suggest new tunes and songs. Click here go make your suggestion).
Way Out There
aDADE tuning, Brainjo level 3-4
Notes on the Tab
In the tab above, you’ll note I’ve tabbed out both a “lead break” (something to play in between verses) and the “vocal backup” (what I play while I’m singing). For this particular song, what I play as backup could also work as a solo break (it’s just an octave down from the other solo).
Notes in parentheses are “skip” notes – to learn more about skips and syncopated skips, check out my video lesson on the subject.
For more on reading tabs in general, check out this complete guide to reading banjo tabs.
PRIOR SONG OF THE WEEK EPISODES
- Episode 1: “Ain’t Gonna Work Tomorrow”
- Episode 2: “Gumtree Canoe”
- Episode 3: “Crawdad Hole”
- Episode 4: “Oh Susanna”
- Episode 5: “Freight Train”
- Episode 6: “Grandfather’s Clock”
- Episode 7: “Hop High Lulu”
- Episode 8: “Been All Around This World”
- Episode 9: “I’ll Fly Away”
- Episode 10: “Leaving Home”
- Episode 11: “Poor Orphan Child”
- Episode 12: “Mr. Tambourine Man”
- Episode 13: “Swanee River”
- Episode 14: “Big Sciota”
- Episode 15: “Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms”
- Episode 16: “Darling Corey”
- Episode 17: “Battle Hymn of the Republic”
- Episode 18: “America the Beautiful”
- Episode 19: “Bury Me Beneath the Willow”
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.