Portfolio > Oil Paintings/Charcoal Drawings_Old Time Songs & Stories

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Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Oil on Canvaas
60" x 60"

"Pumpkin Pie," "Reddleman and Green Jeans," and "Shady Grove," are a sub-set of my Old Time series and refer to the four seasons. Thus, landscape figures prominently in these paintings. I have yet to complete this series; "Winter" is next.

I entitled this painting after a tune of the same name. I learned "Pumpkin Pie" from the fantastic clawhammer banjoist of Mebane, NC Alan Julich. Alan learned this tune from the black fiddler Joe Thompson and Joe's banjo partner and cousin Odell Thompson, both also lived in the Mebane area. I wanted to learn Joe and Odell's fabulous tunes and was very fortunate to find Alan to teach me them. Joe and Odell were already dead at the time I learned their songs, but Alan had their seal of approval from the source, Joe Thompson. Alan played a lot with Joe, at home and professionally. I'd like to think I'm carrying on the tradition of these great African American Old Time artists. "Pumpkin Pie" is original to the Thompson family; I've not heard it played by anyone else.

I know 14 of Joe and Odell Thompson's songs and tunes, thanks to Alan Julich and Molly Stouten's patient tutelage! My fiddle pal who sat for this painting, Molly Stouten, also played a lot with Joe Thompson. She helped me interpret their playing style so that I have the right "Joe and Odell" sound.

"Pumpkin Pie" takes place in spring. Molly and I sit far a part, thanks to the pandemic, playing outside on my front porch in the mild spring weather. In the background are the nascent spring-red leaves of sunlit, shimmering "Bloodgood" Japanese Maples.