Clawhammer Lyrics Follow
Clawhammer, sometimes called frailing, is a varied banjo playing style and a common component of American old-time music.
The principal difference between clawhammer style and other styles is the picking direction. Traditional picking styles (classic banjo), including those for folk, bluegrass, and classical guitar, consist of an up-picking motion by the fingers and a down-picking motion by the thumb; this is also the technique used in the Scruggs style for the banjo. Clawhammer picking, by contrast, is primarily a down-picking style. The hand assumes a claw-like shape and the strumming finger is kept fairly stiff, striking the strings by the motion of the hand at the wrist and/or elbow, rather than a flicking motion by the finger. In its most common form on the banjo, only the thumb and middle or index finger are used and the finger always downpicks, hitting the string with the back of the fingernail.
Although much traditional clawhammer banjo playing is highly rhythmic, it typically includes elements of melody, harmony, rhythm and percussion. The varied playing styles emphasize these elements to different degrees, sometimes changing the emphasis during the performance of a single tune. The possibilities include sounding individual melodic notes, strumming harmonic chords, strumming and picking to produce rhythmic and percussive effects on the strings, as well as making percussive effects by brushing or thumping the thumb or fingers upon the banjo head or skin. This range of musical sounds and effects gives clawhammer banjo its artistic solo potential in addition to its traditional role as a rhythmic accompaniment to other musicians. In particular, the duo of a fiddler playing melody alongside a driving clawhammer accompanist once served as a basic Appalachian dance band, as recalled by Ralph Stanley in his autobiography, "Man of Constant Sorrow."
Musicians who use or who have used the clawhammer style of picking include Mark Johnson, Ola Belle Reed, Hank 3, Doc Watson, Barbecue Bob, Lee Sexton, J.D. Wilkes, Old Man Luedecke, Ralph Stanley, Hobart Smith, Neil Young, Bob Carlin, Dwight Diller, Dick Kimmel, Walt Koken, Brad Leftwich, Dan Levenson, Michael J. Miles, Ken Perlman, Leroy Troy, Abigail Washburn, Emily Robison, Julie Duggan, Riley Baugus, and many others. Actor/comedian Steve Martin played clawhammer banjo as part of his stage act in the 1970s and on his 2009 musical debut CD The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo. Scottish comedian Billy Connolly is also an accomplished clawhammer banjo player who was filmed playing his banjo at the North Pole in a BBC travelogue programme "A Scot in the Arctic". Early practitioners include Clarence Ashley, Fred Cockerham, Tommy Jarrell, Uncle Dave Macon, Grandpa Jones, Kyle Creed, David Akeman ("Stringbean"), Kirk McGee, Wade Ward, and Bashful Brother Oswald.
- Air Plant
- Hind Sight
- Ass Kisser's Union
- The Valley So High
- Caravan - Claw Hammer, Ellington, Duke
- Sugar Breath
- Black-Eyed Blues
- Day It Rained Pigeon Shit
- Queen's Lead Helmet - Claw Hammer, Bagarozzi, C.
- Olfactory Blues/Nose Hair
- Lazy Brains
- Each Hit
- The Bums On The Flow
- When Dan's In Town
- Blind Pig
- Five Fifths Dead
- Hollow Legs
- Bedside Coffee Table Roses
- Sweaty Palms
- Shrivel Up - Claw Hammer, Casale, Gerald V.
- Slappy Sings Dead Zeppelin - Claw Hammer,
- Come Back Jonee - Claw Hammer, Casale, Gerald V.
- Pumping - Claw Hammer, Daugherty, Jay Dee
- Sloppy - Claw Hammer,
- Blank Frank - Claw Hammer, Eno, Brian
- Satisfaction - Claw Hammer,