I don’t remember when I first heard Clinch Mountain Backstep, but the first time I played it was at Avogadro’s number. The girls from Giddyup Kitty had come to the bluegrass jam on Wednesday night to promote the show they were playing on Thursday. I met the girls, and hung out with them, including their fiddler Nancy. After I finished my lessons on Thursday, I stopped by Avo’s to check out their all-girl bluegrass band in action. Nancy invited me up to play a tune with them, and asked me if I knew the Clinch Mountain Backstep. I asked her to play the first round on it, and then I joined in.
I really like the extra beat in the B part. I really like crooked tunes, but those extra 2 beats make this tune stand out to me.
This recording was made at the High Plains Music Festival in Douglas, WY. Playing with me are Warry Means – Banjo, Reed Buckley – Guitar, Fred Buckley – Mandolin, and Jamie Barton – Bass. Thanks to Katelyn Buckley for running the camera.
CLINCH MOUNTAIN BACKSTEP. Old‑Time, Breakdown. G Dorian. AABB. Composed and recorded by banjo player Ralph Stanley in clawhammer style in the 1930’s. Fretless/Alcazar Records, Sandy Bradley ‑ “Potluck and Dance Tonight.” King/Gusto Records, The Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys. Rounder 0132, Bob Carlin ‑ “Fiddle Tunes for Clawhammer Banjo” (1980. Source: Tracy Schwartz, who calls it “Liza Jane”).