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Who is Billy, and what it is the nature of this low ground he inhabits?
Is he hiding out in a ditch? Does he reside in a home at or below sea level? Is he deceased and buried 6 feet under?
Alas, these questions remain unanswered, as there is little known regarding the origins of the title of this old time standard.
What we do know is that Billy In The Lowground (also known as “Billy In the Lowlands,” also known as “Fiddler’s Drunk and the Fun’s All Over” (no joke)) was part of the repertoire of several old time source fiddlers from multiple regional traditions, suggesting a distant common ancestor. We also know that most of them played it in the somewhat less common fiddle tune key of C.
Suffice to say it’s had staying power!
(RELATED: The tab-walkthrough for this tune is now available in the Breakthrough Banjo workshop archives. Click here to learn more about the tab-walkthrough videos).
(NOTE: For those considering acquiring a Brainjo banjo, the banjo played in this video is a “Hobart” model. Click here if you’d like to learn more, or claim one in the next batch.
“BILLY IN THE LOWGROUND”
gCGCD tuning, Brainjo level 3
Notes on the Tab
Notes in parentheses are “skip” notes. To learn more about these, check out my video lesson on the subject.
For more on reading tabs in general, check out this complete guide to reading banjo tabs.
(RELATED: 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