Testing the road

Time to head north and get some cool! Bryce Canyon, then Salt Lake City, Boise and Bend, OR!

Travels past

Summer Update

Hi Folks,

Happy 4th of July! Time for my quarterly update! Well, I try for at least that. Lots of stuff happening this summer and next fall! It has been quite a spring and for those of you who might have missed it, 5 weeks east to PA, VA, MD, OH and the DC area via, CO (yep, both directions!) in April and May to see friends, family, play music and more. 5 dances, 4 concerts, several workshops and jams!  And a stop at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe - Don’t ask! Look it up and you STILL won’t quite get it – but worth the stop and quite the experience. The whole trip was so much fun we are planning on doing it again next spring! Let me know if you have a dance or venue you would like me to come to.

Summer travels have started and for the next couple of weeks, I’ll be in Santa Cruz to play some, teach, and help Emmy with a house-sitting gig. We’re scheduled to play at the Live Oak outdoor farmer’s market on East Cliff Drive July 8, 10AM-on, so come on down and hear us, have a visit or perhaps join us for a tune or two. I’d love to do some more music while I am here so please let me know if you would like to set up a workshop or concert or interested in some private lessons.

OH, and look for us in downtown Santa Cruz busking on Pacific Ave. Not sure where or when but if the weather is good and the spirit is moving we will be there. I should have some studio space in the area. We are also hoping to do some hiking and biking in the area. We will be back in Santa Cruz again towards the end of August so there is still time to set up a workshop for then.

Sometime around the 18th, we will head north. There is a possible stay in the Ashland/Grant’s Pass area again, then up to Washington state were we will be renting a house in Chehalis before going to play (and lead daily workshops again) at the Centrailia Campout (August 10-20) in, well, Centrailia, WA. Again, I will be available for lessons, workshops and house concerts.

We return to Santa Cruz right after Centrailia for a couple more weeks in the cool California climate before heading back to Tucson right after Labor Day where the Rounders already have a couple of dances and performances lined up.

The big news for the fall is England! I’ll be teaching several workshops for FAOTMAD in mid November and will post the details on my website shortly. And coming up in February a return to the Irish Appalachian Old Time Festival – yes, In Ireland – to teach and perform at that wonderful event.

Let’s call that “all for now” and I promise to get details up on the website (http://www.Clawdan.com) shortly. Call 412-551-0933 or email (no facebook messenger please) to get in touch.

Play Nice,

Spring travels 2018

Spring News and Travels 2018

Hi All,

Time for an update! Spring is here in Tucson and it has been a busy one indeed. I think I am playing more music now than ever. Lots of Farmers market dates and some dances with The Cat Mountain Rounders, we even did a real and for true concert! Been a while. And after a great trip to Ireland in February, it is time to get ready for the spring and summer travels.
Emmy and I are just about to head out for the spring tour East via Colorado – if you can believe that – and it looks to be a very busy trip. Details are on the schedule page, including links to all of the events, but I thought an overview would be nice.

Work starts for me in Longmont, CO with a concert Friday April 13, Fiddle and Repertoire workshops Saturday the 14th and private lessons available Sunday the 15th. A few spots are still open as I write this but attendance to all events is limited. Please pre-register (yes for the concert too) to guarantee you are not disappointed.

From there, I get onto Interstate 70 Monday morning and start driving east. I am still not sure where I will be stopping for the nights but I like to get in at least 8-9 hours driving each day. I have to be in Pittsburgh, PA by Wednesday afternoon to pick Emmy up (yes, she is flying that leg) so I’ll probably be able to make it to eastern KS or just into MO the first day and Columbus, OH the second. Any ideas on where best to stay the evenings is much appreciated; also for a night or two when we “land” in Pittsburgh.

Once we get to PA the fun resumes! We have formed Squirrelly Dan and The Eastern Rounders to play a series of dances. The band includes Emmy and me playing fiddles, long time Buzzard guitar player and friend Annie Trimble on, well, guitar and Suzanne Gates playing upright bass. (Bio of the band is on the webpage at http://clawdan.com/index.php?/about/the_bands. Scroll down to the Eastern Rounders for more about us.) We will be playing dances in Lancaster, PA (Saturday, April 21), Glen Echo (Sunday April 22), Baltimore (Wednesday April 25) and then back to Pittsburgh, PA for the May 4 dance there. (Rumor is that there may even be a Boiled Buzzard reunion as part of the Pittsburgh evening.) Then Sunday May 6, I will be doing a repertoire workshop (learn a couple new tunes!) and a house concert at Annie and Curt’s place.

Emmy and I are planning a hop down to Portsmouth, VA to see my older son, Jon, and his family, between the Glen Echo and Baltimore dances, then spend some time visiting Emmy’s old stomping grounds after the Baltimore dance. We pretty much are covered for housing in Eastern PA but once back in Pittsburgh, we are still looking for a comfortable place to call home while we visit my old stomping grounds and see my younger son, Josh and his family.

After the Pittsburgh weekend it is on the road again to head down to Southern Ohio, where I lived for almost 20 years, and a concert Tuesday May 8 at the Ariel Theatre in Gallipolis Ohio. Guitar bud Annie T. will be joining me again for some of that concert. It should be a wonderful evening in a beautiful historic theatre. Gallipolis is a lovely Southern Appalachian river town on the Ohio and was one of the first cities settled in Ohio in the late 1700’s. I am looking forward to seeing many of you there and getting to drive around through the hills and hollers I called home for so long.

Next, you guessed it; I start driving west towards Denver while Emmy flies back. I’ll probably head west on I-64 and aim for St. Louis the first evening. Anyone interested in a last minute workshop or house concert á la flash mob style? Let’s set one up and text the word out and out and out! Hey, it’s only an idea. Could work. Like tracking Santa’s sled progress on Christmas eve. “Where is he now?” “Will he make it?” Let me know. Maybe do another one around Topeka or how about Saline, KS? Could be fun!!!! I just have to be in Denver Friday May 11 to pick up Emmy and get to Durango for a May 12 concert. PHEW! I’m getting tired just thinking of the driving!

SO, like I said, Durango, CO for a concert May 12 then a dance in Cortez, CO on Sunday the 13th with Tony Holmquest and his band the Six Dollar String Band. They have offered to be our Rounders when we get there. It will be the big band experience. 2 fiddles, banjo, guitar and bass! LOVE that sound.

Then it will be home to Tucson to rest up and recover before playing the Tucson dance June 2, Rillito Farm Market the 3rd and the Phoenix, AZ dance June 9. So far it looks like home for June.
Sometime towards the end of June or early July it will start again, though a bit more civilized. I should be spending most of the month in Santa Cruz to help Emmy with a house-sitting gig. Actually, that will be a couple of weeks in July then again at the end of August through Labor Day Weekend. I have looked into studio space while I am there, so lessons will be available. I would also love to be able to offer a concert or two and perhaps some workshops while in the region, so if anyone wants to host or knows of a good venue, please let me know.

Between house-sitting gigs, Emmy and I plan to head north for the Centrailia campout (roughly August 10-20) in Washington State where we look forward to meeting friends for a week of music. Ray Leach who runs the campout has offered for me to do the repertoire workshop each day again (we had anywhere from 20-40 folks each day last year) so I am really looking forward to that. As you can see there is more open time around that, so if you have any desire to have me stop in the Northwest or on the way to or from Santa Cruz let’s talk.

I’ll to leave it there for now. Updates will continue to be posted to my website – http://www.Clawdan.com so keep an eye there. Facebook, too, continues to be a spot where I update the schedule and let you know what Emmy and I have been up to. There is a page there in my own name and another one called Dan € M.E.‘s Awesome Odyssey where we tend to post travel pics and events.

Thank you for taking the time to read all of this. I (we!) look forward to much music and friends along the road. It is you who make the miles worthwhile!

Play Nice

Winter is Coming

It is just coming into winter here in Tucson this fine December morning. It doesn’t really feel like it with the blue skys and temps in the 70’s during the days. Gardens growing, trees are still green. BUT, Chanukah is in full swing, Christmas on the way and the Solstice Jam coming right up. And, yes, I have been my bad ol’ self and not posted here for a while. Still, all is well. It was a very busy summer and fall and looks to be a busy winter this year as well.

Big news for me has been that I was selected by the Southwest Folklife Alliance to receive a Master Artist grant for the State of Arizona. It is funded in part by the NEA and presented by SFA who are the folks that now present the long running festival Tucson Meet Yourself (started by banjo great Big Jim Griffith). It is quite and honor and I am humbled by their award. The new photo (to be posted very soon!) was taken by professional photographer Steve Meckler here in Tucson and I just love it! I hope you do too.

I have gotten a new band off the ground. Squirrelly Dan and The Cat Mountain Rounders. I play fiddle in that one and am joined by guitar player John Walkenbach (J-Walk here on the Hangout) and bassist Jerry Weinert of Hot Mud and Red Hots fame. Fiddler Emmy Truckenmiller often joins us as does banjo player George Flink. I do get to banjo when we do songs so no, I haven’t given it up. We are doing dances here in Tucson and up in Phoenix as well as some of the farmers markets in town. It has been a blast and a great way to grow musically while just having a good “old time”.

NEWS!: We will be playing for the Phoenix, AZ New Year’s Eve dance on the 31st at the Irish Cultural Center. It will be the “big band” - 5 piece. 8 - Midnight plus a bit. Come on up and say hi, listen to the music and dance into the New Year!

February will take Emmy and I to Ireland where I am the featured performer at the first Annual Irish Old Time Festival - http://irisholdtime.com/ . Bob Denton here in the states has paired up with his buddy Andy Lambert in Ireland to make it happen. I’m told that Carl Jones and Erynn Marshell are going to be in the area as well so please come on over and help us show them what great old time US Appalachian music is all about. I do hope to have some tour time and perhaps even be able to do a workshop, lesson or so while we are there. We looked into making an appearance at the Gainsboro fest but it just didn’t seem to be in the cards for this year. Perhaps next.

April will find me heading East with Emmy and forming an eastern version of the new band for dances in PA, MD and DC. The 4 piece version will be Squirrelly Dan and The Eastern Rounders. Emmy and I will be joined by Suzanne Gates playing bass and long time Buzzard and musical friend Annie Trimble on guitar. There is even a rumor of a Boiled Buzzard Reunion happening for a part of the May 4 dance in Pittsburgh, PA with Ol’ Buzzard Mark Tamsula taking on the fiddle honors and me being able to shift over to banjo giving us that big band sound with double fiddles as well. A solo concert is also planned for Sunday the 6th at Annie and Curt’s home in Mt. Lebanon. I’ll get to see the boys and visit some old stomping grounds on that trip so I am really looking forward to it. I went west last year so haven’t been back east for a couple of years now.

I still have to plan the route east and back west (likely the southern route due to the time of year) so if you think you might like to sponsor a concert, workshop or such on my way please let me know.

Late spring and summer get pretty hot here in Tucson so Emmy and I are talking about going back up to the Northwest again. We loved the Centrailia campout and that region, Corvallis was great too and we played a lot of music and I did a bunch of shows. We got some bicycling and hiking in as well. Let me know if you would like to help us play up there for a dance or two and workshops, concerts and lessons. Hey, just a place to hang a bit and play music where it is cooler!

I guess that is enough for now. I’d say I’ll try to be better about posting more often but we all know how that has turned out. Feel free to drop me a line. So, till next time…

Play Nice,
Dan “Clawdan” Levenson
Author of Clawhammer Banjo From Scratch - a Mel Bay Publication

PS Thinking it is time to thin the banjo herd. That Custom Chuck Lee is in consideration to be needing a new home. PM me if you are interested. We can “talk”.

Spring has sprung, summer almost come!

Hi Folks,
As spring has happened - almost without any notice at all - the garden is in and growing in Tucson and I am almost ready to head out on tour one of the summer. Yes, I said Tucson. In case you missed it I sold the Ohio place last fall and now am a full time Tucsonian. That means that spring here is like summer there and the garden here is in mid grow while I would be just picking seeds and cleaning up there. It also means I’ll be touring in the west this year.

I head out in a couple of weeks for the Strawberry Music Festival (it runs May 25-29 this year - Memorial Day Weekend) in Grass Valley, California. I will be helping vend with The Music Caravan booth - http://www.music-caravan.com/ and will have my books and CD’s there for sale as well as an assortment of items and instruments. I don’t have a performance at this one but hey, perhaps you can stop by and schedule a private lesson in our green room.  Then I hang in CA for about a week before a show and workshops at The Strum Shop in Roseville, CA June 9 and 10 where I’ll be doing a concert as well as a clawhammer banjo workshop and fiddle workshop. Right after that it’s CBA (California Bluegrass Association’s) annual Music Camp in Grass Valley http://cbamusiccamp.com/ - June 11-14 - where I am teaching a String Band Workhop. The camp is followed by the ever famous Fathers Day Bluegrass Festival where again I’ll be helping out at Music Caravan’s booth. Molsky’s Mountain Drifters and The Freighthoppers will both be at the festival as well (Bruce is teaching at camp) so there is plenty for the Old Time crowd at this one.

Since I have some down time between events and it is a long (strange?) trip up and back, I’m still looking to fill in some dates with “on the way” gigs. Think house concert, workshop or private lessons. Email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and let’s get something going!

Not to leave my students for too long, I’ll be back in Tucson sometime later in the week of June 20 and plan to be around throughout July. I’ll be anchoring the Tucson Open Band for the July 15 dance so if you want to join in for some good old time music come on and “join the band”! I’ll also be playing the August 5 dance with my Cat Mountain Rounders.

Phew, almost up to date!

Okay, next up I am planning to head up to the Centrailia Campout August 13-20. Folks say it is awesome and I’ve just never been! ROAD TRIP! BUT of course y’all know me, I’ve scheduled a fiddle workshop and concert at Kennedy Violins in Vancouver, WA. The workshop is tentatively set for August 23 (a Wednesday evening) and the concert for Saturday the 26th at around 4. Details are still in the planning stages so stay tuned! I’m looking for some more gigs up that way (Oregon, northern CA) since be staying around until the Fall Strawberry festival which runs August 31 through September 4 before heading back down to Tucson (AGAIN) for some rest before playing the Phoenix dance Sept 9 with the Cat Mountain Rounders.

SO, a busy summer planned and I am looking forward to some travel to see y’all again. Get in touch if you want to schedule a lesson, concert, workshop or just to say “Hi” and I wish you all a wonderful musical summer ahead! Till then…

Play Nice

Time to travel west 2016!

Hello folks! Another summer in Ohio is coming to an end and it is almost time for me to load the truck and head west! No trailer anymore and yes, you have heard right from the rumor mill that it is also time to sell the Ohio Hippie-billie homestead. AND yes, the my last trailer sold last winter so it is just the truck and me heading back to Tucson via St. Louis gigs.

About 20 years ago I found a little place in Southern Ohio to call home. It was 40 acres and an old (1870’s) small house. There was even a mule grazing when I looked at it but I think he went home shortly after my purchase. Fast forward with getting the 40 acres next to it, cleaning the property, select cut timbering the land, putting in roads and trails and yes, saving – resurrecting? – the old house. Most folks who saw photos said, “So why don’t you tear it down and start over,” while my neighbor said, “Well, Dan, how come you aren’t living in it?” Well, it had no plumbing or electricity in it and he said, “Well, why don’t you did yo-self a hole and put up a little building?” so I did. I’ve been working on the place ever since. I’ve often referred to it as my “hobby house”.

Since then I got working starting with a handsaw, weed trimmer and a shovel. It soon grew to 83 acres, a nice garden, electric in the house, solid walls and insulation, new windows, county water, mod cons and a John Deere garden tractor to become the place you see now in my pictures. Some of you have even seen it in person with a visit, camp or residency over the years noting its progress and enjoying the land with me. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun. It has been a journey for sure. But, like all things in life, it is time to move on so it is time to sell it and move on to the next adventure.

So the home is up for sale along with the land. 83 acres (m/l), house, garden, trails and stream. Perhaps it would be something you would like to carry on. If so, you can contact me by phone or email and I’ll put you in touch with the Wood real estate company. I chose them to represent me for several reasons not the least of which is Allen Wood’s father used to own it so he knows the property and can give you the real story of the place and even show you the best places to hunt – if that is something you enjoy. His number is 740-446-1066 but feel free to contact me first if you have any questions. And yes, it includes the mineral rights to the land.

On the way back to Tucson, I’ll be stopping in St. Louis to do Repertoire and Fiddle workshops at the Folk School of KDHX and a concert at The Focal Point on Saturday September 10th followed Sunday the 11th playing for the Childgrove dance. I will have some limited availability for private sessions on Sunday during the day and perhaps Friday afternoon depending upon when I get to town. I am still looking for a place to stay while I am there so if you have any suggestions or offers please contact me.

I don’t have anything scheduled after that on my way back to Tucson but if you would like to put together a last minute event Monday or Tuesday we can talk. I hope to be home late Tuesday or midday Wednesday. There I’ll unload the truck and hit the ground runnin’!

First up will be a visit from Conversations with Old Time Performers videographer Craig Evans to interview me for his next volume of that series. Band practice will get going pretty quickly too since Squirrelly Dan and the Cat Mountain Rounders plays the Tucson dance October 15 – FULL MOON! We’ll be in Las Cruces, NM on November 18 too. I’ll also be playing the Tucson dance with Buz Lloyd on November 5th.

Other scheduled highlights include an appearance at this year’s Tucson Meet Yourself on Friday October 7th at 6 PM. And I have scheduled Clawcamp West 2017 for March 10-12, 2017. Info and registration can be found on my website. That camp was large the last time I had it in Tucson so don’t delay if you are interested in some sun, fun and banjo.

My students are already asking when we will get started again and I do have space for a few more this year if you are ready to get started or advance your skills in Old Time Clawhammer banjo, Old Time fiddle, guitar or mandolin. The regular jams at the Rincon Market have been going on all summer so I’ll be excited to get back to those. September 26 is the first one after I get back.

Speaking of jams, last year I ran a Jam Workshop where we got to go over many of the regularly played tunes at a moderate pace and break them down especially for those who want to get up to speed and learn the tunes, ins and outs of old time jam sessions. It ran monthly. Do you folks want me to set those up again? Another suggestion was that we start to have a monthly tune repertoire workshop for the more advanced tunes where we likewise break them down and bring them up to speed. In either case, folks I’ve talked to seem to be willing to make a donation for those sessions. I’m figuring $15-20/session if I decide to do those and we’ll work from the repertoire books I have out with Mel Bay. Those include Old Time Festival Tunes; Old Time Favorites and my latest Beyond the Waterfall which came out in June. Let me know what folks think about that and we’ll get them going – probably in October – once I get back to Tucson.

That should bring us up to date for now! So, back to the cleaning, fixing and packing. See you in St. Louis or when I get back to Tucson. Till then…

Play Nice,
Dan “Clawdan” Levenson

Spring update

Spring update – 2016
Hi Folks,

Yes! Spring has sprung which in the southwest means it can be 60 one day and 90 the next. It’s ok. I like the sunshine! In the east it means 60 and sunny one day, snow and freezin’ cold that also means I’m still in the west, but time to travel is coming up soon.

The garden is continuing to thrive though I have scaled it back a bit to only the cactus and ornamentals so there isn’t as much to keep going over the summer.  I will be back east in time to put the veggies in and stay long enough to enjoy them.

Squirrelly Dan and The Cat Mountain Rounders (my latest trio) has one more dance on April 30 this season. Tom Crisp will be callin’ the squares. This one will be at our home park Far Horizon’s East (7570 E. Speedway) and is open to the public. Come on over and square it up or just hang and listen to the music. Clogging freestyle is always an option (no taps please).

My current plan is to leave for the east on May 19 or 20 and start my summer “tour” of the east.
The schedule so far:
May 21 – Las Cruces, NM – Concert and Fiddle Workshop
May 24 – Kansas City, MO – Clawhammer Banjo Workshop at The Fret Shop
June 17 – Cleveland OH – Concert at The Bob Stop
June 18 – Cleveland, OH – Jam Repertoire Workshop at Heights Music
June 25 – Pittsburgh, PA – House Concert at Curt and Annie’s
July 7 – Vinton (SE), OH – Daylong Fiddle Workshop at the Homestead
July 8-10 – Vinton (SE), OH – Clawcamp Clawhammer Banjo Weekend at the Homestead
August 11 – Mountain View, AR – Fiddle Workshop at The Ozark Folk Center
August 12 – Mountain View, AR – Judging at the Arkansas State Fiddle Contest – Traditional Style at The Ozark Folk Center
August 23 – Columbus, OH – Concert – Split bill with Annie Trimble at Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza
September 10 – Repertoire and Fiddle Workshops at the St. Louis Folk School; Concert that evening at The Focal Point.
September 11 – Contra Dance at Childgrove Dances.

This should put me back in Tucson sometime the week of September 12 for another music filled season!

In other news, I am expecting my new book Beyond the Waterfall: Extraordinary Tunes for Fiddle and Clawhammer Banjo to be out either late May (just in time for the trip) or early June (just as I get back to Ohio). Once I have a more firm date, I’ll start taking advance orders. Cost should be around $20-25.

Clawcamp registration is moving along too. I am planning on adding a fiddle day right before it. Thursday the 7th or Friday the 8th which would allow us a joint dinner as banjo folks arrive. Any thoughts please feel fee to let me know. clawdan.com/index.php?/workshops/clawcamp_east/ will give you the details on that one. Here’s a review of past camps from a returning couple:


Thank you very much for running Clawcamp. It is a terrific experience, and offers a wealth of learning experience and comradeship. I can not even imagine a better experience or environment to learn or to improve what you already know on banjo and fiddle.

Anyone who has worked with your instruction books or DVDs can attest to your skill as a teacher, and would agree that you create interest and excitement to learn with your method. The only thing better is instruction directly from the “hand of the master!”

And that’s not all! The homestead is wonderful, and South East Ohio is as beautiful as one could ask for - a genuine country environment and experience, far from distractions and interference. And an added plus are the other Clawcampers: In the past several years that Grace and I have attended, the gang at Clawcamp has been wonderful, fun, interesting, and have become friends we hope to see each summer. And if that were not enough, on the occasions when our presence is graced by the beautiful and talented Ms. Jennifer, Clawcamp is even better.

We wouldn’t miss it, and hope to be there this summer for more music, fun, and companionship.

See you then -

Pete and Grace
Silver Spring,MD”

Remember too, that if Camp doesn’t work for you I always welcome private students at the Homestead for lessons be they an hour or a day or more. I also hope to be able to continue with Skype lessons as well.

Finally, (well for now anyway) I am working on a West Coast Tour for the late fall of 2016. I have a SF/Berkley area date of November 5 already as a core of the trip. Please contact me if you feel you would like me to come “your way” (north or south) from or before that on route to or from Tucson!
I’ll be updating this as I get closer to leaving so stay tuned and…

Play Nice,

Winter in Tucson

Here’s a view from the office this time of year.


Hello Old Time Music Lovers! I don’t write often and hope you won’t mind me dropping you a note to let you know about a couple of music events I’ll be doing over the next few months in the Tucson area.

First, coming up February 13, a dance with Squirrelly Dan (Levenson) & The Cat Mountain Rounders - Dan fiddles; John Walkenbach - guitar; with special guest bass player Carrie Jackson. Might even be a few guest musicians but ya never know! The caller for the evening is Tom Crisp and we will be jamming the tunes for you starting at 7PM at Armory Park, 220 S. 5th Ave. - Tucson, AZ. Call Tom for more info at 520-885-6833.

Next – February 19-20 (just the following weekend) I have a combination of events that could give us a foundation for a winter Old Time fest or at least the illusion of one! Starting Friday evening February 19th with a solo concert by me, Dan Levenson at the Tombstone Livery (Rt. 82 North of Tombstone, 1/4 mile west of Rt. 80). It’s an evening of old time music – clawhammer banjo, fiddle, songs and stories. Call Cowboy Doug 520-457-3559. The Arthritis Brothers (you know them, John Beland and Co.) will open the show and rumor has it there might even be a little jamming after. SO, bring your instruments. Then the weekend continues the next morning at Beland’s Barn! (Well, in the house really but hey, it sounds good.)

Saturday the 20th, 9am(ish) I’ll be running a Clawhammer Banjo Workshop at John’s home in Sierra Vista. And speaking of jamming, Saturday the 20th is the regular Arthritis Brothers Jam at the Beland homestead starting around 1 and going until, who knows! If there is interest we could even talk about a fiddle workshop Sunday morning, but no promises there.

Next is the Tucson Dance on March 5. This one is at First United Methodist Church 915 East 4th Street, Tucson, AZ. Squirrelly Dan (Levenson) & The Cat Mountain Rounders - Dan fiddles; John Walkenbach - guitar; with bass player Jerry Weinert plays and dancing caller phenom Claire Zucker – the concertina queen of the west calls the figures!

THEN, it’s jam day! March 12 at Far Horizon’s East – our home – we have reserved one of the clubhouse rooms for an all day jam 1-9pm. Details are still open but suffice it to say we have a room and a kitchen for Old Time Music and food and drink all afternoon and into the evening. You have to RSVP for this one, as we need to have a list at the gate so they’ll let ya in!

Only one more hard date on the calendar April 30th – a bit off but never too early to plan – is another dance at the Armory Park on 5th Ave. Squirrelly Dan and The Cat Mountain Rounders (Carrie on bass!) again with Tom Crisp at 7.

There are more details and links at my website http://www.Clawdan.com. Go to the schedule page. I am also attaching flyers for the next few events for you to print and share.

I’ve also just finished up my new book, Beyond the Waterfall: Extraordinary Tunes for Fiddle and Clawhammer Banjo – 40 less than usual tunes to play at jams and amaze your friends! I’ll let you know when I have a release date but it shouldn’t be too long.

Clawcamp East is happening again this year in Ohio July 8-10. I already have the first registration so don’t miss out on that. Info and registration forms are on the website http://clawdan.com/index.php?/workshops/clawcamp_east/

BTW, I do have a few spots open for students through the end of April. Banjo, fiddle, old time guitar!

I’ll also be starting east to my Ohio place so I’m lining up gigs along the way and students and residencies for when I get back.

So, I do hope to see many of you at these events. Any questions feel free to write.

The Road West 2015

Well, it’s coming on that time again. Time to head west and leave the Ohio homestead and garden for another year. As always, mixed feelings. Got to see the sunflowers and harvest tomatoes and melons but not going to be here to see the leaves change. Had lots of great students, but there are my western ones awaiting my return. Would love to sit on the porch and read into the cool fall days but itchin’ to be traveling! Didn’t sell the Airstream yet, but looks like the old Avion is going to be going to a new home. SO, you get the idea. Well, when?

As it looks now I’ll probably be heading out next Thursday. I have several gigs along the trip back but I think I’ll start by going up to the Hillsdale, Michigan Old Time Fiddlers’ convention. At the Hillsdale fairgrounds, it is a wonderful laid-back weekend and I haven’t been there for quite a few years now. Fest is on Friday and Saturday the 14 and 15th, but I think I’ll go up for early arrival on Thursday. Time to go back and visit old friends, make some new ones and play some tunes.

From there, I head down and over to Kansas City, MO. The Fretshop there has offered to host me on Saturday the 22nd for a fiddle workshop in the am, clawhammer banjo in the afternoon and a concert that evening. Private sessions may be available by appointment as well, but contact me directly to set those up. That Sunday (the 23rd) is the Fiddle fest in Lawrence, Kansas – not too far a drive – so I may go over there just to visit and play some. I hear Howard Rains and Trish Spencer are supposed to be performing there which would be a treat to see as well.

Next I get to go back down to Mountain View, Arkansas and the Ozark Folks Center. I play Friday afternoon August 28, in the village then that night and Saturday the 29th on stage at their theater.

THEN the LONG journey west to help staff the Music Caravan booth at Strawberry Music Festival in Westside, Tuolumne, CA over the Labor Day weekend September 3-7. I’ll have all of my books and cd’s available as well as an instrument or two to sell. I should have some free time to jam a bit or do a lesson if anyone is up for it. Still trying to get in as a performer as well but no luck so far. Let me know if you can help there.

From there the journey back to Tucson. I should be home there by September 11th and ready to start teaching and playing there. I’ll be stopping in Los Banos, CA to drop the Airstream off with Toscono RV where Dave Morse can help you make it your own! He has sold me several Airstreams over the years and sold a couple of mine for me. He is a wonderful fellow so if you are still interested after Labor Day, see Dave.

As I said, I’ll be home to Tucson September 11 so now is the time to set up those lessons for this coming fall. In person or Skype, beginners or advanced techniques, Fiddle, Clawhammer Banjo, Old Time Guitar or Mandolin. Give me a call and lets get ya going.

Finally, the last thing on the books at this time is the “10-10” Dance on, wait for it, October 10! Details on my web schedule but I’ll be playing as Squirrelly Dan and the Cat Mountain Rounders – John Walkenbach on guitar and Jerry Weinert on bass. Me? Fiddle mostly, perhaps some banjo, perhaps even a guest musician or two! Here’s what we look like!


Might look to set up a regular Square Dance if there seems to be interest.

In the works are several other gigs in Tucson and planning for a winter Clawcamp. As we say in the music world, Stay Tuned!

Per usual, there are always a couple of days from place to place that I’d like to fill in. A house concert, workshop, lesson or two, especially on a Monday or Tuesday. If you find you are on route and want to host an impromptu event, please email me or call and I’ll work hard to help you make it happen!
Well, that’s the news for now. I’ll be seeing you! Till next time,

Play Nice,
Dan “Clawdan” “Fiddledan” Levenson


Back in Ohio!

Hi Folks,

I’ve made it back save between the storms and flooding. I didn’t even hit any rain until Nashville and the weather since I got here to Ohio has been spectacular. I’ve been busy mowing, digging, planting and generally getting settled in and cleaned up for another summer.

I did find studio space to teach skype lessons at and am now setting up students for Wednesdays. I start there June 3. I do have some students signed up already but there are a couple of spaces left. Please .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)asap to get started or to get back into the schedule.

The new Clawhammer Masters book - Fred Cockerham and Tommy Jarrell is set to be delivered to me this week. Orders will ship by June 1.

Finally, I have 2 spots left for Clawcamp Bootcamp so do get your registration in as soon as you can if you want to join us. Limited enrollment.

Blog March 2015

Blog March 2015

Hi Folks,

It’s no surprise to most of you that I don’t write all that regularly here in the blogging world. I do aim for a quarterly note, but alas that just doesn’t seem to be in the cards. SO, while I finally got a few minutes I thought I’d catch yall up on things.

Seeing the harsh winter in most of the country I am glad that I decided to make Tucson (well, western AZ) my winter home some years ago. Most of you know that after about 5 years in Yuma, Miss Jennifer and I came back to Tucson around November of 2013 and this past fall bought a more or less stable home in one of the mobile home parks on the east side of Tucson. After more than 6 months here it seems like a keeper. We have had some large and many small jams here and I have several students coming on a more or less regular basis. There is always room for more in person or by videoconference mediums such as Skype.

While I don’t miss the eastern winters (even WE had ONE snow on new years day), I do sometimes miss the Ohio homestead so I will be heading back there again this May for most of the summer. Home there is about 20 miles rural to the town of Gallipolis, Ohio and about an hour southwest of Athens, Ohio. Nicely located in the Southern Appalachian foothills on 80 acres of land, folks can come for lessons and camp, hike, hang on the porch and enjoy the country like I do when I’m there. Yes, students are welcome for an hour, a day or multi day residency. I also plan on doing my some gardening and house maintenance as well as some writing and some more video recording. I have also scheduled two camps this year.

Clawcamp comes first – July 10-12. What is Clawcamp? Well, some consider it clawhammer banjo boot camp and others see it as just a nice chance to get away with their banjo and work on sharpening their basic skills and adding new more advanced ones in the company of about a dozen (max) other clawhammer banjo players. Perhaps it is really both! It is definitely as skills based workshop aimed at helping you become a better banjo player. For information about Clawcamp and to register to attend you can go to my webpage at http://clawdan.com/index.php?/workshops/clawcamp_east/ to find out more.
We are half full as of this week so I encourage you to register soon.

Next is Old Time Music Camp. This one is primarily for Fiddle and Banjo players to come together to work on playing together and building their repertoire. Other instruments are welcome (we had a mandolin player last summer) and encouraged to join us as we get into how the music is played within an ensemble context. We do some skills work as well, but the primary focus here is on the tunes. Again, you can go to the website at http://clawdan.com/index.php?/workshops/homestead_camps/ to find out more and register for camp.

The Road East: This year I plan on heading back around May 18 but that is a flexible date. The goal is to be back by Memorial Day weekend so tomatoes can go into the ground. That was always the idea back east, tomatoes in the ground by Memorial Day weekend. Sometimes you can push that a bit, especially in Southern Ohio, but Memorial Day is still the first considered “safe” date for planting.

BUT, I’ve also been a slug, which means I’ve basically ignored the “booking” world and not set up any firm stops for the route east. I haven’t even PICKED my route east this year. Yep, that means that I’m searching for gigs on route. Workshops, concerts, house concerts, lessons and all are fair game. Anyone up for sponsoring an event please email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to see if we can set up a show (or workshop…). In most cases all routes (I-10, 20, 30, 40 and 70) lead near enough or through St. Louis where there has been some talk of a workshop or two. However, like I said, nothing is firm yet.

I will be taking the Airstream but the drive will be a solo as Miss Jennifer will be at our Tucson place to keep working (she took a full time gig again this year – health care, yeah) and only coming east for a bit around my birthday (I’ll be 60, go figure) at the end of June and perhaps another one somewhere else over the summer.

The return trip west should be around the end of August. I’m booked at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas for some performances on August 28 and 29 after which I might head down through San Antonio to visit my older son Jon and his family at their new home there. Then back west to Tucson for another wonderful winter west. So, yes, anyone planning their fall schedule wanting to hire the Old Buzzard for shows along the west, it’s not too early in spite of my slacker ways.

Next week I’ll be involved again with the Common Ground on the Border shows March 12-14. You can find out about this fascinating event at www.commongroundonthehill.org/cgotb-about.html which is indeed related to Common Ground on the Hill back east. A three day celebration of music, art and culture. Then The Glendale Folk Festival up in Glendale, AZ (outside of Phoenix March 21 & 22) has invited me to do a performance and a couple of workshops there this year. Info on that can be found at https://www.glendaleaz.com/parksandrecreation/specialevents.cfm including downloading a schedule of all workshops and concerts that weekend. And hey, it’s free! Hope to see many of you there.

SO, that about tells the story for now. I’ll try to write more often but…Till next time.

Play Nice,
Dan “Clawdan” “Fiddledan” Levenson

Author of Clawhammer Banjo From Scratch; Old Time Favorites and Old Time Festival Tunes  For Clawhammer Banjo (both are also available For Fiddle & Mandolin) and a host of other Mel Bay books as well as recordings both solo and with The Boiled Buzzards Old Time String Band.

Summer at the Ohio Homestead 2015!

Hi Folks,

Welcome to July in Ohio! That’s right, still here in Ohio for the summer. Homestead Old Time Camp for banjo and fiddle together is coming right up. July at the homestead. There is still time to register for one of the 3 spots still available.
The Banjo Hangout Tunetorials have been going well. There are 6 up already and it will keep me busy doing weekly tunes. And Tunetorials is exactly what they are. Each tune is played three times up to speed, then three times slow. In those I start with a basic version and build the tune each time through. Next I play just the basic version slower before starting to break the tune down into phrases. Each phrase is played 3 times. Once in full view, once for the left hand (fingerboard) then once for the right (stroke). We do all of that once more with the advanced version too. Quite a workout! Each lesson runs about 30 minutes and only costs $6. Currently the tunes are coming from my latest book Old Time Favorites for Clawhammer Banjo. I plan to do fiddle versions as well but those have not started yet. Let me know what tunes you might like to have and see as well as how these videos are working for you.

On the home front, the garden is in, mowing happening and I even harvested my first cucumber last week. June 28 to be exact – my birthday present this year! Tomatoes are hanging on the vines (none ripe yet, dang!), more cucumbers growing, beans, melons and basil are all coming along and of course the flowers. The Black Eyed Susans are not doing as well this year. Great foliage but the flower petals are being eaten before they bloom! Internet suggests Japanese Beatles – I have found some – but if any of you have any ideas let me know. I’m missing the great yellow hedge of flowers in front of the porch. Trumpet vine is thriving and so is our hummingbird population – hmmmm… might be a connection eh? Cardinals, robins, woodpeckers, and this year, the Eastern Towhee has made several appearances – right up on the porch! He’s not shy – but we haven’t seen many goldfinches this year.

Other work this summer includes finishing up the latest Fred Cockerham and Tommy Jarrell – Clawhammer Masters book with Bob Carlin. I hope to have it to Mel Bay this month and released shortly after that.

I am taking students here at the cabin while in Ohio. Hour, afternoon, day or longer. It’s a chance to come to the country and work on your instrument away from it all. I’m a bit internet constrained this year here as we are far enough from town to NOT have any cable or strong phone lines so I have to limit my time on line. That has caused me to have to suspend skype lessons for the while, but if I have enough interest I may be able to get a studio in town to go in once a week.
I am starting to plan the return trip to Tucson and gigs along the way. The current plan is to leave Ohio on or around Labor Day and take a couple of weeks getting back.

Finally, it looks like Miss Jennifer and I will be playing Saturdays at the Gallipolis Farmers Market. That starts on July 12 for us and should keep us playing throughout the summer except for camp weekend.
Not much else new for now. Reading a lot, hanging, gardening and mowing, a visit from you perhaps. Keep an eye on the website (http://www.Clawdan.com) for gig updates.

Fall gigs include Tucson, a dance in Phoenix and a special concert at the NAMM’s Museum of Making Music. October 25 for that one. It is the close of their special Banjo exhibit, which runs all summer. I’ll have it up on the website soon, but for now, http://www.museumofmakingmusic.org/ should get you to their site.

Feel free to email me about upcoming events and as always…
Play Nice,

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