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Monday, 27 June, 2011

Congrats To Big Jim Griffith
(with comments)

Tucson's legendary Big Jim Griffith: 2011 NEA National Heritage Fellow.

Griffith150For more than four decades, Jim Griffith has been devoted to celebrating and honoring the folkways and religious expression found along the United States-Mexico border. "Big Jim," as he is affectionately known, is the personification of the intent of the Bess Lomax Hawes Fellowship due to his influential work both as an academic and public folklorist that has proliferated into numerous cultural ventures, including directing the Southwest Folklore Center at the University of Arizona and founding the annual Tucson Meet Yourself Festival.

This award is the nation's highest honor in the folk and traditional arts and each of the nine recipients will receive a one-time award of $25,000. The NEA National Heritage Fellowships public programs are made possible with support from the Golden Corral Corporation.

I've had the pleasure of playing music with Big Jim several times at jams. It's much better when I put the banjo down and just listen.

He's recorded a few CDs with Meghan Merker on fiddle (under the name Arivada Ramblers). Unfortunately, they make it impossible to actually buy the CDs. And they have virtually no presence on YouTube. But if you'd like to hear what they sound like, go here and download #20, "Walk Jimmy Walk."


Permalink | Posted in Banjo |

- Reader Comments -

Following are comments in response to this item.
The most recent comment is at the bottom.

  1. By banjo brad. Comment posted 27-Jun-2011 @04:06pm:
    Congratulations, Big Jim!

    I have the first two albums, and keep looking for the 2 new ones he said were about ready for release (last year).

    Like you said, J-Walk, it's much better when I just listen, too.
  2. By wormpicker. Comment posted 27-Jun-2011 @04:46pm:
    How cool is that! Way to go, Jim!
  3. By J-Walk. Comment posted 27-Jun-2011 @07:38pm:
    Whitey and/or wormpicker and/or AZJohnB. Please learn that Walk Jimmy Walk tune on the fiddle. They don't get much easier than that, and it's a fun one on banjo.

    I might even be able to sing it if I practice it enough.

    And just think how impressed Big Jim would be when we play it for him. I'm thinking that his recording is the only time that tune has been recorded. But AZJohnB will know for sure.
  4. By Dave Kelly. Comment posted 27-Jun-2011 @09:30pm:
    J,
    An enjoyable listen, Thanks for posting the link.
  5. By whitey. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @12:04am:
    He told me about this guy: Lalo Guerreo. But also I didn't know that Charles Mingus was from Nogales.
  6. By dallasmike. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @08:32am:
    Jim Griffith has been devoted to celebrating and honoring the folkways and religious expression found along the United States-Mexico border.

    Stay away from this guy J-Walk. With him honoring religious expression and your hobby of ridiculing religion, things could get ugly.

    You better pack a backup banjo.
  7. By wally the duck. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @09:06am:
    So, how big is Big Jim?
  8. By J-Walk. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @09:15am:
    He stood 6 foot 6, weighed 245.
    Kind of broad at the shoulders, narrow at the hip.
    And everybody knew you didn't give no lip to Big Jim.
  9. By dallasmike. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @09:40am:
    Yeah, probably safer to ridicule religious expression from behind a keyboard. Rare good sense!
  10. By wormpicker. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @10:01am:
    Jim's a great banjer picker, but confesses he has a "Jailhouse" singing voice: he's always behind a few bars and can never find the key.
  11. By J-Walk. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @10:47am:
    The first time I heard him sing, it really caught me off guard.
  12. By wormpicker. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @11:20am:
    Put a lock on it, J-Walk.
  13. By J-Walk. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @12:04pm:
    Put a lock on it, J-Walk.

    Why? So you can be the solitary commenter in this thread?
  14. By wormpicker. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @12:28pm:
    You always think you have to get the last sentence, don't you.
  15. By J-Walk. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @12:37pm:
    Yes. I ex-cell at that.
  16. By wormpicker. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @12:41pm:
    GO TO YOUR ROOM NOW!!
  17. By wormpicker. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @01:54pm:
    Sorry--I just thought J-Walk's last comment deserved capital punishment.
  18. By J-Walk. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @02:10pm:
    I thought that upper case comment was an error because your iPhone doesn't have a correctional facility.
  19. By wormpicker. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @02:51pm:
    Nope. My iPhone works fine, though I prefer to write with the pen.
  20. By J-Walk. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @03:04pm:
    You say that with such conviction.
  21. By wormpicker. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @03:14pm:
    Ok, time to end this game. Ah quit.
  22. By J-Walk. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @03:19pm:
    Maybe someone will come along and replace you. If so, should I let him in, mate?
  23. By wormpicker. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @03:23pm:
    I'll have to ask my friend, Rollie, and send you the answer per Rollie.
  24. By J-Walk. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @03:54pm:
    Unfortunately, Rollie is not pronounced ROWLY. Good idea, poor execution.
  25. By wormpicker. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @04:15pm:
    As a matter of fact, my friend does pronounce his name like "Rowly." It's a native American nickname. Don't worry though, Rollie won't be upset that you mispronounces his name. That guy is one calm Ute.
  26. By J-Walk. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @04:22pm:
    Well, that's life.
  27. By wormpicker. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @05:31pm:
    Well, that's life.


    Ce la vie. (vie--that's a shorter term.)
  28. By J-Walk. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @05:56pm:
    Please confine your comments to English. Thanks.
  29. By wormpicker. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @06:11pm:
    Oh, please, can we just end this chain, gang?
  30. By J-Walk. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @06:21pm:
    I agree. I've used up all of my puns, so I'm gonna have to bail.
  31. By wormpickersmathwhiz. Comment posted 28-Jun-2011 @06:54pm:
    I refuse to participate in this pun slammer.
  32. By wormpicker. Comment posted 29-Jun-2011 @08:21am:
    Keep practicing, wormpickersmathwhiz. J-Walk, would you show this young punster to the door? And please make sure it doesn't slammer on the way out.
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