Banjo Brad's Prickly Pear Music


Who Am I?

I have been playing stringed instruments for my own enjoyment since the late 1950s. I am self-taught on the 6-string Spanish guitar, which I started in High School. I soon found that I enjoyed folk music much more than trying to play the popular music of the time. I took piano lessons from 3rd through 8th grade, so I did have a leg up by being able to read standard notation and having a knowledge of basic music theory. I started trying to play finger-style folk guitar after the popular groups of the period like the Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul and Mary, Bud and Travis and the Limelighters. With very little success. In college, I started teaching myself to play classical guitar from the Carcassi Method book, and continued playing folk music with other students. I also branched out into early Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Woody Gutherie and other, less commercialized, musicians. After leaving school, I received my Goya G10 guitar from a roommate who owed some back rent (thank you, Larry, if you ever happen to drop by). It has been my constant companion (although spending several bouts in the closet as life and work took precedence) ever since, and it helped me through many dark and lonely times, with never a complaint. About 1980 or so, I had my interest in Old Timey music piqued by an album my brother's string band put out. Although I didn't do anything more about it at the time, it hung around in my subconscious until the late 1990s. As my life started to become simplified, my interest in old-time music returned. In 2000 I bought a Deering Goodtime Openback banjo and set about learning to play clawhammer-style. As I got more deeply steeped in the music, my interest in learning the fiddle started to grow, so in 2003, as I retired, I bought an inexpensive fiddle and added it to my growing list of instruments to learn.
Fred Bradbury, aka Banjo Brad

Site Objectives

The main thrust of this site is to help preserve and promote the music that is dear to my heart. That music consists mainly of the Old Time tunes and songs that came from the Appalachian/Southern Mountains, and was performed mainly on fiddle, 5-string banjo, guitar, mountain dulcimer and voice. Much probably came from the English, Irish and Scotch immigrants, who brought their heritages and their music with them. I also like what is commonly referred to as "folk music," so you are apt to find some of that here, too! Besides the music, I may add other things that I am interested in. So, this may turn into a rather eclectic site, but then, I've always been a sort of eclectic fellow!