I am a bluegrass banjo player, as is the comedian Steve Martin. In the 1970s, he would often proclaim that you simply CAN’T sing a sad song with banjo accompaniment. Then he’d do it. It sounded absurd and he’d get a big laugh.
Nothing could be more untrue—you can play all sorts of depressing music with a banjo. (Here’s a brief discography to prove it.) But I can’t even tell you how many times people have repeated that Steve Martin line to me, apparently believing it
Short Life Of Trouble
For The Widows In Paradise, For The Fatherless In Ypsilanti
The Band Played Waltzing Matilda
The Devil Makes Three – A Moment’s Rest