Un Petit Voyage à Paris

Bonjour! I’m back from my little visit in France and you may notice I’m using a new website to send out these newsletters — definitely an improvement. The trip to Paris was fantastic, full of music and meeting old and new friends. I will share some highlights in this newsletter, along with:

  • Upcoming Gigs
  • Ragtime Banjo Revival Update
  • Highlights from Paris Trip
  • New Video – Subscribe to my YouTube Channel!
  • Book Reports

Upcoming Gigs (More Details on Website)

This Friday, Feb 10, I am returning to Integrity House at The Farm in Summertown, TN, for a solo concert with my friend Luke Richardson joining me.

Saturday I’m playing with Ben Belcher of Corn Potato String Band at the 38th Annual Alabama Clay Conference in Auburn, AL. (I released a record called “LIVE, Mostly” with Ben some years ago to little or no real fanfare but I still love it and want to make sure you all know about it!)

Sunday, Feb 12, House Concert in Birmingham, AL — Concert at 4:30pm, with jamming to follow. RSVP to Charlie at [email protected] for address

And then I will be in New Orleans for the week of Mardi Gras, sitting in with many great musicians and probably neglecting to use my phone very much to document any of it.

2/25 – Detroit Square Dance at the Gaelic League

3/5 – Detroit, MI – Classic Banjo Concert at Jeffereson Avenue Presbyterian Church – This is a free concert at 4:30pm with reception to follow, including duets with Stephen Warner, organ, and Alex Belhaj, guitar.

3/11 – Lansing, MI – Solo Concert at The Robin Theater

3/12 – Grand Rapids, MI – Solo Concert at ArtRat Gallery (3pm show)

3/12 – Holland, MI – Solo Concert at The Park Theatre

Now, if you look at that and think, “Aaron, you’re doing so much cool stuff!” you wouldn’t be wrong, but my schedule isn’t close to what it was like pre-pandemic. This means I am more available for lessons. Another way you can offer continued support is through Patreon — I’m planning to continue performing as much as possible, and I’m also putting a lot of energy into

Ragtime Banjo Revival

The update here is that I have one more recording session coming up next month with marimba ensemble and then the recordings, at least for now, will be complete. I can’t wait to share these fantastic recordings with you and the whole world. Join my Patreon for sneak peaks!

Highlights from Paris

Here are just a few:

  • Playing and recording with Thomas Bailey, with whom I made the “Wild Hog” album ten years ago — Stay tuned for a new release coming soon! And meeting and playing with many wonderful Paris musicians.
  • Meeting and rehearsing with Hassan Wargui, Berber banjoist from Morocco with whom I am collaborating for a performance at a certain European festival at the end of June, TBA!
  • Learning some traditional French fiddle tunes at a class with my friend Lydia (who also hosted me and took me to all the cool places throughout my entire trip — Mille mercis, Lydia!!)
  • Visiting the Cité de la Musique and enjoying a personal tour with one of the museum’s curators
  • Hearing the centuries-old pipe organ at The Church of Saint-Sulpice. The Chapel of Angels and striking murals painted by Eugène Delacroix were nice, too, but I was there to hear the organ and I was not disappointed.
  • Bumping into some old friends from Berlin and New Orleans and having some lovely jams with them and new friends as well. Meeting a couple of classic banjo enthusiasts who drove an hour into town to attend my concert with Tom. Spending an afternoon in the countryside with new friends and enjoying music, food, and trees!
  • Chinese New Year celebration at the home of a friend of a friend — such a gracious welcome and So. Much. Amazing. Food. It’s funny, I thought I would eat at a lot of restaurants, sit in cafes, at least visit some boulangeries and patisseries, but mostly I ate home cooked meals and spent most of my time playing music with people, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
  • Getting around everywhere by foot and by metro was honestly a treat. Although the weather was cold, the experience was quite pleasant. It was a small culture shock for me to come back to Detroit and see how the city is laid out in such a way that it is very difficult to navigate without a car.

New Video

From a backyard concert at Old McCaw’s in the summer of 2021 with Cami Celestia on piano, video shot by Jo Serrapere and the piece is “Banjotown,” by Joe Morley (which Cami and I recorded for my Mozart of the Banjo album). Subscribe to my YouTube channel!


Book Reports

On the plane to and from Paris I read a few short stories and I really enjoyed them. The first one I read, by Stephen Vincent Benét, was called “Johnny Pye and the Fool-Killer.” It had the timeless feeling of a fable, was beautifully written and highly enjoyable. “The Romance of Rosy Ridge,” by MacKinlay Kantor was also quite beautiful and took me out into the hills and hollers I still long for. This story also features a fiddler and a square dance, or something like it, so I very much appreciated that. And then I read “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” by Ernest Hemingway, which brought me a range of emotions, but mostly I felt sad for the fear so many of us experience facing death and the attachments to vanity, pride, greed, and achievement so many of us cling to.

Au Revoir

If you’re in Detroit on March 3, come to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church for Fun a Day presentations — For the month of February I and many other people are doing something fun every day that we will then share with everyone at this event. Keeping it a secret til then, but I’ll give you a clue — Very few people will be surprised by what I chose to do. Starts at 7:30, all ages, free, sponsored by Flying Cardboard Theater.

Until next time, let the cold of winter remind us all of the warmth we carry in our hearts.




P.S. Substack may invite you to pay for a subscription in order to access the archives or to send me a message but you can always access the archives for free via my website and you can always message me directly via [email protected] — This newsletter will always be free for all. Any payment is purely optional (and greatly appreciated.)