Celebrating 50 years of the ‘Ignoramus’

The evolution of the ‘Ignoramus’

Many of you have learned to play the banjo from my book ‘Clawhammer Banjo for the Complete Ignoramus‘… and this year this method is 50 years old! The book has been rewritten a few times over the years, and each time I think it’s gotten even better, but it’s always had the same down home and easy approach.

I thought you might like to know the story of how the ‘Ignoramus’, as we like to call it, came to be.

The original book

It was 1973 when I landed a job in Charlotte,

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2021 Holiday Gift Guide

The Native Ground family is so excited to gather again for the holidays. This season is always a time for good music, tasty food food, and of course, gifts! The Native Ground catalog provides endless possibilities for thoughtful gift-giving and we’ve put together this short but sweet 2021 Holiday Gift Guide for you! Treat your friends and loved ones to any number of books on vintage baking or how to play their favorite instrument. Don’t forget that all of our books come in digital download form too!

For the Home Baker…

Vintage Baking Cookbook Set

Perfect for the holidays (or

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“Shortenin’ Bread” Ukulele Tab + Lyrics

“Shortenin’ Bread” has certainly wins a prize for longevity. After all, it has been around for over 150 years. This version of “Shortenin’ Bread” comes from my new book, Ukulele for the Complete Ignoramus!

I can’t tell you why, but I find playing Shortenin’ Bread almost addictive. When I start to play it, I can barely force myself to stop. I must not be alone because this song has been popular since the early to mid 1800’s. The song was first collected and published in 1915, and was known as a ‘plantation song.’ All this talk about shortenin’ bread

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Short Life of Trouble ~ Music, Lyrics, and the Joy of Sad Music

By Wayne Erbsen

This is an excerpt from Rural Roots of Bluegrass.

A while back I was invited to bring an instrument to a potluck party of some friends of mine in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. I brought along my fiddle in the hopes of finding some bluegrass musicians to jam with.

When I arrived at the converted barn where the party was being held, I saw a guitar learning up against the corner, so I sidled up to the guitar’s owner and introduced myself. As I shook howdy with him I asked him what kind of music

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“West Virginia, My Home” A Visit With Hazel Dickens Interview by John Lilly

hazelSongwriter and performer Hazel Dickens is among the most respected and celebrated folk or country music artists to come from West Virginia. She has recorded 11 albums, contributed to the soundtracks of nine feature films or videos – including such popular releases as Matewan and Songcatcher – and seen her songs recorded by artists such as Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Hot Rize, and others. Among the many honors and awards she has received is the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship, presented to her by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2001.

Born in 1935

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Hank Williams’ Lost Charleston Show By John Lilly

When he left his Alabama home on December 30, 1952, Hank Williams had his sights set on West Virginia. He was billed as the headline act for a gala “Western Style Revue” at Charleston’s Municipal Auditorium and was scheduled to perform two shows here on New Year’s Eve night. Sadly, he never arrived.

Little has been written about this Charleston engagement. Most authors, researchers, and fans have shifted their attention instead to Canton, Ohio, where Hank was expected to perform the following day. On January 1, 1953, in Canton, the first public announcement was made about the passing of this

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“Keep a-Goin’” Musician Everett Lilly of Clear Creek, West Virginia by John Lilly. Photograph by Michael Keller

everett_lilly_089pBorn in 1924, musician Everett Lilly has been going strong for nearly 85 years, living just a stone’s throw from the Clear Creek property where he was born. A casual observer might not realize that Everett, together with his late brother “B,” traveled the world over, performing and promoting the music of his Raleigh County home.

The Lilly Brothers, playing with neighbor Don Stover, introduced countless new fans to the down-home music of southern West Virginia at the peak of their popularity during the mid- to late 1960’s. Singing tight, “brother” harmonies and playing at a breakneck tempo on guitar,

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Playlist for December 16, 2012

December 16, 2012

Bonepart’s Retreat (Erynn Marshall)

Icy Mountain

Lonesome Road Blues

Boys, My Money’s All Gone.

Ain’t Gonna Rain No More (Fred Price, and Clint Howard)

Ain’t No use in Your High Hattin’ Me

East Bound Train

Surely I Will

Tough Luck

I’ve Gota Mule to Ride (Ralph Stanley)

Bound to Ride

Black-Eyed Susie

Waves on the Sea (Big Medicine)

Brushy Run

Texas Gales/Blackberry Blossom

Little Girl Dressed in Blue (Bill Clifton)

Sales Tax on the Women

Hobo Bill’s Last Ride

Methodist Pie

Hell Amongst the Yearlings (Adam Hurt)

Love of the Mountains (Blue and Lonesome)

Shine Hallelujah Shine

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“We Always Tried to Be Good People”: Respectability, Crazy Water Crystals, and Hillbilly Music on the Air, 1933-1935 by Pamela Grundy

If you are easily exhausted, or too nervous, you have headaches or backaches or can’t sleep as you should, if your complexion is sallow or your tongue coated; maybe you’re just being warned by Nature that the troubles with far more serious names may be on the way. Faulty elimination, the sluggish and delayed passage of waste throughout the system, causes many serious disorders, disorders with all kinds of names…. Don’t give up to pain and illness…. Why all you need is determination, ordinary drinking water, and Crazy Water Crystals. Won’t you try it? -Crazy Water Crystals radio advertisement.


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