In this third tune from our 2012 session with guitarist/singer Jimbo Lockhart and percussionist Abby The Spoon Lady, we hear a spirited version of “Polly Wolly Doodle.” For a tune that’s been around since at least 1880, it doesn’t sound too shabby at all.
In the muggy heat after a week of rain, Richmond, VA-based busker Banjo Ben Shirley performs the traditional tune “Sugar Hill” in front of the Woolworth Walk in downtown Asheville, NC. You may know him from his previous appearances on Busk Break with Abby the Spoon Lady, but he’s not exactly a slouch when it comes to solo performance. With a clear voice, a tambourine on his foot keeping time, and no shortage of talent, there’s a lot to like in his take on a classic tune. Continue reading Banjo Ben Shirley plays “Sugar Hill”
“I’m going to play this song because your fuzzy microphone cover reminds me of a rabbit,” Ben Shirley told me as he warmed up. After a moment, he added, “It was on the Three Pickers record, so this can be a tribute to Doc and Earl passing this year.”
This video of traveling buskers Abby the Spoon Lady (one of the few professional musical spoon players in the country) and Ben Shirley is arguably the most popular thing ever filmed for Busk Break. It’s not because they’re playing some ironic cover of an ’90s hit or something. (Unless you mean 1890s, perhaps.) It’s because they’re both stunningly talented. Or, if you want believe Abby’s take, it’s like 35 people watching the video 1,000 times each to learn how to play the spoons. Continue reading Abby the Spoon Lady and Ben Shirley perform “Li’l Liza Jane”