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Flatpicking Guitar Magazine

Free Monthly Lesson - January 2018

Grey Owl

Arranged by Cory Walker

Transcribed by Mickey Abraham

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Hello and welcome once again to Flatpicking Guitar Magazine’s free lesson portion of our monthly newsletter. This month I bring to you a cool obscure old-time fiddle tune called “Grey Owl.” This tune was taught to me by my long-time friend and picker extraordinaire Cory Walker.

“Grey Owl” is almost your typical AABB structured fiddle tune. What makes the tune crooked is the one measure of 2/4 at measure 8. While this measure of 2/4 would make “Grey Owl” a tough tune to contra dance to, it adds an element of listening interest. I love old-time tunes that play with time and add little extra measures here and there. “Clinch Mountain Backstep” and “Wildwood Flower” are a couple examples of popular tunes that incorporate crooked old-time language. I even enjoy using the word “crooked” when referring to old-time tunes with interesting timing.

I’d like to thank Cory for teaching me this great tune. We recently got a chance to hang out and pick down in the Florida Keys at the Baygrass Bluegrass Festival. I highly recommend checking out this incredible festival held in the middle of the Winter in a truly heavenly location. Robbie McClung is doing great things down there. Go to baygrassbluegrassfestival.com to find out more.

I hope you enjoy working on “Grey Owl” and adding it to your constantly growing list of tunes to flatpick on the guitar! As always, should you have any questions or comments on this e-lesson just drop me a line at michabraham@comcast.net