Friday, February 10, 2012

The After Dinner Magnet

We got home late from the kids' music lessons, 3 hours of back-to-back Suzuki lessons.  Everyone's hungry.  Huck wants to set up his new Hot Wheels Track; Gus wants to play a Lego game.  Daddy was listening to Bruce Springsteen and the Seeger Sessions on the way home and is fooling around with Oklahoma Home.  He asks if anyone else wants to play.  I'm doing the dishes; the kids say no.  

He plays it again.  I'm done with the dishes and grab my mandolin.  Gus gets his fiddle.  Huck picks up his washboard and thimbles.  They can't resist.  They're drawn together like magnets.  We meet up in the living room and attempt Oklahoma Home from the book.  Bruce Springsteen plays it in E, we think.  Gus grumbles about crazy keys and capos, so we try it in D.  It works pretty well.  We've got a new song and its a lot of fun.  The kids are singing the backup harmonies.  It may be a new favorite.  We play a couple more and its time to put the kids to bed.  That's it.  Three songs after dinner.   

Was it like this last year?  No.  Gus could hold down the melody, but generally played it too fast.  Eric and I could only play a couple of chords, couldn't get the changes in the right place, and didn't sing.  No way.  Huck was 5.  I insisted that we try it to play music together, and inevitably someone stomped away mad, or everyone did.  But it was something that we believed in, so we kept trying, and we kept practicing.  We practiced individually and together.  We started singing together and playing two chord songs.  Our first was Reuben's Train.  It's a great tune.  Its got a train.  What more do you need?  Our second was Crawdad Song.  Its also a great tune.  Its about fishing and its easy to write your own silly verses about Moses the cat (see below).   We kept at it.  It became easier, it became fun, and it became irresistible.

Crawdad Song

You get a line and I'll get a pole honey
You get a line and I'll get a pole, babe
You get a line and I'll get a pole
And we'll go down to the crawdad hole
Honey, baby mine
Moses in the basket watching us play honey
Moses in the basket watching us play, babe
Moses in the basket watching us play
Bluegrass tunes all through the day
Honey, baby mine. 


  1. Love it! Just wish I could get my husband to pick up that banjo! Keep on writing! Our joy this week was Katie playing back up harmony and Levi holding the melody to Allegro, while I banged along on the piano. We impressed ourselves- inspired by Leslie's group and Gus' harmonies last week.

    1. Great job Shana!! You guys have an amazing gift!!

    2. Heidi,
      That's awesome. Get Jim a washboard. Less intimidating to start and totally a valid part of Old Time and folk music. I'm not joking.
      I like the Allegro duet, and the Minuet 2 one, but Gus only knows half of it. Oh, and I got the guitar book for the Suzuki songs so I can play chords along with Huck when he plays the Minuets. Totally fun!
      I'm glad you liked the blog.

    3. Thanks Autumn! So is that a real fiddle?


Tell me about your family band!