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A guest post by my wife, Jessie:
For a long time, I have wanted to learn to play banjo, and so this year Jake and I finally purchased one for me to learn on. It’s a handmade, open-back style banjo, the kind used in old-tyme and folk music, the kind you play clawhammer style (as opposed to bluegrass style, for those of you familiar with those styles of playing the banjo). I like the banjo for it’s plunky sound, and because it is easier for me to fret the chords on a banjo rather than on a guitar with my small hands. Anyway, I get frustrated with the learning process often as it’s always difficult to learn something new, so I’ve been making myself listen to more artists lately that include banjo in their music. It’s actually relatively easy to find bands that have a banjo-ist included that are not bluegrass or old-tyme bands now that banjo is becoming one of the more “hip” instruments to play, thanks to Bela Fleck, Iron and Wine, Sufjan Stevens, and others.