From: BANJO NEWSLETTER 5 Strings Attached ~ Vol 2
First I want to introduce you to Chris Coole and Arnie Naiman, two clawhammer players from Canada who have been playing together for several years. Arnie lives in Ontario, and Chris hales from Toronto. Their first album, "5 Strings Attached With No Backing" (1997) was to be, according to their friend and DJ Rick Fielding, an album that "no radio would ever consider playing." It consisted of eighteen banjo tunes with only guitar backup. Arnie says that they were "pleasantly surprised on how well it was received."
So, these banjo buddies kept playing and were soon being asked when the next album would be available, and fortunately for us, they decided to give it another go. The second release, "5 Strings Attached-Volume 2" is the first I had heard of the duo, and upon hearing it, I was immediately taken by their musician-ship and ability to write tunes that sound fresh while staying true to the clawhammer style (if such a thing exists, but then that is another article). I must admit to enjoying their original compositions most of all in both their albums. Volume 2 also shows more growth of their music as a duo than the first CD. The guitar work is stellar on both CD's and a budding guitar player would do well to listen to them both in order to hear how well it is done. Suffice it to say, I've been wearing these CDs out as I travel down the road on the aforementioned route and even more as I tabbed out the tunes presented in this month's article.
Now, these tunes are not intuitive in their tuning or playing, so I heavily urge you to write for their disc to hear these as they were composed. I had rough tabs and the tunings provided by Chris and Arnie who, by their own admission, are not tab "writers" and it still took several days and many revisions to come up with the written music you have here. Even so, I would hesitate to say that they are "exactly" as played, but they will get you started.
Some of the techniques you will find in the album include thumb melody notes on the 5th string, anticipated notes (ie. notes played before they actually are written), wonderful syncopation and timing that you will not get from the written music. You will even have to do some pull offs on unsounded strings which might be better described as left handed pluck-off's since a pull-off usually indicates playing the previous note to it on the same string with the right hand. Here are notes where the sounding of the string they are on is initiated solely by the left hand. And before you even get to that, there are the tunings!
Both these fellows are still playing in the Toronto, Ontario region together, as well as with other bands in the area.
“ The first release from Arnie Naiman and Chris Coole was justifiably very well received by reviewers and DJs. .... Volume 2 still features stellar banjo from both Naiman and Coole, sometimes solo, sometimes with guitar accompaniment, and occasionally with harminica, mandolin, and bass. The arrangements are expanded with the clawhammer banjo generally at the centre, but the overall quality has been maintained. Both Naiman and Coole are smooth and inventive banjo players.... This recording is highly recommended for those who like music centered around clawhammer banjo. “