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PineCone Youth Jam with Jef Walter & Hank Smith

Sunday, February 19, 2017 @ 3:30 pm
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Jam Session

At the February 2017 youth jam, facilitators Jef Walter and Hank Smith will teach the fiddle tune “Clinch Mountain Backstep,” an instrumental written by banjo legend Ralph Stanley in the key of A.

This song uses the I (one) and V (five) chords; in the key of A, those chords are A and E. Jef will also have a chord chart for guitars/banjos, who may put a capo on the second fret (in which case, you’d play the G and D chord shapes). If you’re not sure what these “chord numbers” mean exactly, no problem–that’s one thing the facilitators will review at the jam.

The unusual thing about this tune is the “backstep” in the B part: an extra half-measure (one extra “Boom-chick”) played each time through the B part. Once you become familiar with this tune, it’s easier to hear/feel that extra beat than it is to count it out!

Of course, there will still be plenty of time for jamming together on a variety of other songs, too (sample song list below). Facilitator Jef Walter typically leads a few songs to get the jam started, then goes around the circle to give particpants a chance to choose a song they’d like to play. Participants are also encouraged to bring a prepared song to sing and/or play with the group, but this is not required for participation.

For those who don’t play an instrument yet, Marbles will have a build your own instrument station set up in Curiosity Square.

Sign up for e-mail updates about programs and opportunities for youth musicians; or call 919-664-8333 x103.

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Downtown Raleigh parking information

PineCone Kid Jam at Marbles logo - overlapping red, green and orange pick-shaped triangles with one instrument neck sticking out from each pick.

About the youth jam facilitators:

Jef Walter performs regularly on bass and guitar with a “who’s who” of North Carolina acoustic musicians, including Charles Pettee and the Iron Mountain Messengers. He is also the band mentor for The Carolina PineCones, a youth bluegrass band based in Raleigh. Walter will facilitate this year’s youth jams with a rotating group of special guest co-facilitators.

February’s guest facilitator will be banjo player Hank Smith, a Raleigh musician who toured full-time with Raleigh, NC jamgrass juggernaut Barefoot Manner. Smith toured the country extensively with Barefoot Manner until the band left the road in 2009, and he has since played in a variety of projects such as The Hotwires, The Kickin Grass Band, and No Strings Attached. Currently, he plays and tours with Hank, Pattie, and the Current, original band: Morning After Music, and the world’s first and only tribute to Bela Fleck and the Flecktones: Blu-Bop. Smith also teaches banjo.

Songs played at past youth jams have included:


  • Angeline the Baker (D)
  • Arkansas Traveler (D)
  • Soldiers Joy (D)
  • Whiskey Before Breakfast (D)
  • Liberty (D)
  • Old Joe Clark (A)
  • Cripple Creek (A)
  • Salt Creek (A)
  • Cherokee Shuffle (A)
  • Blackberry Blossom (G)
  • Billy in the Lowground (C)

Songs with Lyrics:

  • Bury Me Beneath the Willow
  • Nine Pound Hammer
  • Long Journey Home
  • I’ll Fly Away
  • My Home’s Across the Blue Ridge Mountains
  • In the Pines

Newer songs the group has worked:

  • Nine Pound Hammer (featured song in January 2017) – Key of A, Key of C
  • Hot Corn, Cold Corn (featured song in December 2016) – Key of G
  • Down the Road (featured song in November 2016) – Key of A
  • Meet Me By the Moonlight (featured song in March 2016) – Key of G, Key of E
  • (A) Worried Man Blues (featured song in February 2016)
  • (D) Swallowtail Jig
  • (G) June Apple
  • (G) Long Journey Home ($2 Bill)
  • (G) Red Clay Halo


Sunday, February 19, 2017
3:30 pm
Event Category:


Marbles Kids Museum
201 E Hargett St
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