The November issue of Banjo NewsLetter marks the 35th Anniversary of continuous publication for this cherished 5-string monthly. And how appropriate that it follows founder Hub Nitchie’s posthumous receipt of an IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award in October 2008.
This issue contains a number of well-deserved tributes to Hub, his wife Nancy, and his sons Spencer and Donald who have run the business since their father passed away in 1992. Among them are remembrances from Roger Siminoff who recalls his first discussion with Hub about the possibility of starting a banjo magazine, and a transcript of Tony Trischka’s remarks prior to the presentation of Hub’s award at IBMA this year.
New content is included as well, but the most compelling material comes from the rich history of the magazine and it’s commitment to support all styles of music played on the five string banjo. Photo copies of several tabs from the early days are included, along with a precious snapshot of the state of the banjo world in 1973.
- Richard Keldsen, future president of Saga Musical Instruments, opened a retail store, The Fifth String, in San Francisco
- J.D. Crowe & The New South recorded a self-titled album not released by Starday until 1977
- Bela Fleck’s grandfather gave him his first banjo
- Earl Scruggs, Curtis McPeake and Doug Dillard each released albums following the Dueling Banjos phenomenon of 1973
- Jerry Garcia played with Old & In The Way. Their performance at the Boarding House in San Francisco was recorded and released on Rounder Records a few years later
- Pete Wernick was working on his Bluegrass Banjo book, which was published in ’74 and became a best-seller, enabling him to quit his academic job and try to launch a career in music
Former subscribers who have fallen away may want to pick up this issue as a keepsake – if not be spurred into renewing with BNL. Single issue and subscription information can be found on the Banjo NewsLetter web site.