Casey Henry Kel Kroydon banjo

Charlie Cushman and Casey Henry with their signature Kel Kroydon banjosNashville-based banjo picker – and Bluegrass Blog contributor – Casey Henry is the latest banjoist to debut a signature model in the Kel Kroydon line manufactured by Tom Mirisola and the American Made Banjo Co.

The Casey Henry model is part of the Charlie Cushman signature line, with each banjo designed with Charlie’s input, and final assembly and set up occurring under his supervision. It is an all maple banjo, with the pearloid fingerboard and brightly-colored inlays that were utilized in the original Kel Kroydon banjos prior to WWII.

Casey is delighted with her new axe, and shares a few words about how she came to be involved with Kel Kroydon.

“Tom Mirisola first approached me about a set of signature strings, which I was pretty tickled about. When he called me after IBMA about doing a signature model banjo I was so surprised I almost didn’t know what to say. I was flattered he’d chosen me to be part of the Kel Kroydon family, and although I’d never met him in person (and still haven’t) I knew that if Charlie Cushman was working with him, he was good folks.

I modeled my KK banjo on my Gibson style 11 that I’ve played for years–maple stained brown, with nickel plated hardware. I chose the pearloid fingerboard because the 11 had originally had one (the tenor neck I have hanging on my wall) and, why not? It’s distinctive. There’s no mistaking what kind of banjo it is from the very first glance.

I got my new instrument right before Christmas and spent quite a bit of time playing it over the holidays. It sounds absolutely wonderful. It has that deep flathead growl (Charlie Cushman set it up impeccably, of course) and I know it will only get better with time.

To my surprise I haven’t found playing on the mother-of-toilet-seat fingerboard to be that different. I guess I mostly look at the side of the neck, rather than the front, when I play. I really hope some people will be interested in buying one. I know Steve Martin just bought a Charlie Cushman model and I’m pretty pumped that Steve Martin and I have the same kind of banjo!”

You can see more photos and find additional details about the Casey Henry model on the Kel Kroydon web site.

Mirisola tells us that they have a number of new items to be introduced in ’08, including a Style 2 Kel Kroydon reissue, and a Dannick no-hole archtop tone ring. The Style 2 banjos will feature a walnut neck, simple inlays on a pearloid fingerboard and will be available with either a 1/4” brass hoop or the Dannick flathead or archtop tone ring.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.