The Road to Malvern
Here’s my version of ‘The Road to Malvern’.
Here’s a link to download the track ‘The Road to Malvern’ from my album ‘Bobcat’
Download ‘The Road to Malvern’
Here is a link to download the music that was printed with the article.
Road to Malvern Tab and Notation PDF
Here is my article about the tune, published in ‘Banjo Newsletter’ in the June issue of 2016.
‘The Road to Malvern’ is an Old-Time tune that’s not old at all. It’s written by Jim Childress sometime in the last 25 years or so, and has become widely known and played in the Old-Time community. I learned the tune while living in Boston, Massachusetts. At the time there was a rather large group of fiddling friends living and picking around town. I can recall late night jam sessions with 6 or 8 fiddles playing this tune for what felt like twenty minutes. It’s one of those tunes that really carries a circular energy, and by the time the second part is ending, all I want to hear is the first part AGAIN, and LOUDER. I’ve always enjoyed the sound of 3-finger banjo being played in an Old Time ensemble. It’s a fun challenge to steer clear of the standard “three over four” picking pattern on the banjo, and lean more towards some two-finger style rhythms.
I decided to record this tune as a sort of ‘breath of fresh air’ on my album of otherwise arranged and relatively dense instrumental material. A nice, light-hearted break from everyone working so hard, haha. We just jammed on ‘Malvern’ in the studio for about 10 minutes, and then I went back and chose the most cookin’ two and a half minutes and gave it a fade in and out, as though you might be walking up to a good campsite jam a festival, taking it in for a few minutes and then wandering on to the next thing.
The TAB that I’ve written out is the basic melody of the tune. The first part is mostly built around a melodic-style major scale pattern, with a little single string phrase in measure 5 (over the E chord). The second part is phrased more in the Scruggs style, focusing mostly on open string and second and third fret notes and a more roll based right hand pattern. Throughout the recording I alternate between playing melody and backup. This version of the TAB is most accurately played on my recording from 1:46-2:15, with some mild variations. Since we were just jamming in the studio, we all took some liberties and had a little fun with the tune. Jon Stickley and Dominick Leslie play a nice harmonized version of the melody from 0:22-0:48 as well.
This album is available for purchase at my website, www.KyleTuttle.com/store. And as usual, if you have any questions or comments about this article or anything else banjo related, I can be reached at Kyle.Tuttle.Banjo@gmail.com
Visit the Banjo Newsletter online at www.BanjoNews.com