The Banjo is a popular stringed instrument that has been a part of American folk music for centuries. With its unique sound and easy-to-learn playing style, the banjo has become a favorite instrument for beginners and experienced musicians alike. If you’re just starting out on the banjo and looking for some easy songs to learn, you’re in luck! There are many simple and catchy tunes that can help you develop your skills and build your confidence.
One of the great things about the banjo is that it can be played in many different styles and genres, from bluegrass and country to folk and rock. As a beginner, it’s important to start with songs that are simple and easy to play, with basic chords and strumming patterns that you can master quickly. Many classic folk and bluegrass songs, such as “Old Joe Clark” and “Cripple Creek,” are great choices for beginners, with their simple melodies and catchy rhythms.
In addition to traditional folk and bluegrass tunes, there are also many popular songs that can be adapted to the banjo. For example, songs like “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show and “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash can be played on the banjo with just a few chords and a bit of practice. With these easy banjo songs, you can start to develop your skills and build your repertoire, while enjoying the unique sound and charm of this beloved instrument.
“Cripple Creek” is a traditional folk song that has been performed by many artists over the years. The version linked is a lively and upbeat rendition featuring banjo and fiddle. The lyrics tell the story of a man who goes to Cripple Creek, Colorado to find work in a gold mine. The catchy melody and driving rhythm make it a popular tune for square dances and other traditional American music events.
“American Pie” is a classic rock song by singer-songwriter Don McLean. Released in 1971, it is considered one of the most iconic songs in American music history. The song is a reflection on the changes and tragedies of the 1960s, including the deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper in a plane crash (referred to as “the day the music died”). The lyrics are filled with cultural references and allusions to events and figures from the era. The song’s memorable chorus and catchy melody have made it a beloved and enduring classic.
3.Blowing in the Wind
“Blowin’ in the Wind” is a powerful protest song written by Bob Dylan in 1962. The song’s simple melody and lyrics, combined with Dylan’s distinctive voice, have made it an enduring classic of the folk music genre. The lyrics pose a series of rhetorical questions that challenge listeners to consider the issues of war, peace, and freedom. The song’s message of hope and the power of the people to effect change resonated with audiences during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and has continued to inspire social justice movements around the world. The song has been covered by many artists and remains a beloved anthem of protest and resistance.
4.Hush Little Baby
“Hush Little Baby” is a traditional lullaby that has been passed down through generations. The song’s soothing melody and gentle lyrics are intended to help calm and comfort a baby or young child. The lyrics consist of a series of promises from the singer to the child, offering gifts and experiences in exchange for their peace and quiet. The song has been covered by many artists over the years and remains a beloved classic of children’s music. The version linked is a gentle and tender rendition featuring acoustic guitar and a soft female vocal.
5.Ring of Fire
“Ring of Fire” is a classic country song written by June Carter Cash and Merle Kilgore, and made famous by Johnny Cash. The song’s upbeat tempo, catchy melody, and bold lyrics have made it an iconic hit that has endured over time. The lyrics describe the intensity and passion of love, comparing it to a “burning ring of fire.” The song’s driving rhythm and distinctive mariachi-style horns have made it a beloved classic of country and rock music. The version linked is a high-energy live performance by Johnny Cash, featuring his signature baritone voice and guitar playing, and a backing band that includes horns and backing vocals.
6.She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain
“She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain” is a traditional folk song that has been passed down through generations. The song’s upbeat tempo and catchy melody have made it a beloved classic of children’s music and campfire sing-alongs. The lyrics describe the arrival of a visitor and the preparations being made for their arrival, with each verse adding new details and activities. The song’s playful and lively spirit encourages listeners to join in and sing along. The version linked is a fun and upbeat rendition featuring banjo, fiddle, and a lively male vocal.
“Ground Speed” is a classic bluegrass instrumental tune performed by many artists over the years. The version linked features legendary bluegrass musician Earl Scruggs on the banjo, along with a backing band that includes guitar, mandolin, and bass. The song’s rapid tempo and intricate instrumentation showcase Scruggs’ virtuosic banjo playing, which is characterized by his unique three-finger picking style. The song’s melody is built around a series of fast-paced, repeating phrases that create a sense of momentum and urgency. The result is a high-energy and exciting instrumental track that is a favorite of bluegrass fans and musicians alike.
“Wagon Wheel” is a modern classic of Americana and folk music, written by Bob Dylan and finished by Ketch Secor of the band Old Crow Medicine Show. The song’s catchy melody and upbeat tempo have made it a popular hit that has been covered by many artists. The lyrics describe a traveler making his way south from New England to North Carolina, and the people and experiences he encounters along the way. The chorus is a rousing sing-along that encourages listeners to join in and celebrate the journey. The version linked is a spirited and joyful performance by Old Crow Medicine Show that features acoustic guitar, fiddle, banjo, and a group of backing singers.
9.Cotton Eyed Joe
“Cotton Eyed Joe” is a traditional American folk song that originated in the southern United States. The song’s catchy melody and lively tempo have made it a popular hit that has been covered by many artists over the years. The lyrics describe a dance party, with the singer recounting the events of the night and the people they encountered. The song’s distinctive “fiddle breakdown” section features a fast-paced instrumental solo that encourages listeners to get up and dance. The version linked is a high-energy and infectious rendition by the band Rednex, featuring a driving beat, fiddle, banjo, and a group of enthusiastic backing singers.
10.Dirty Old Town
“Dirty Old Town” is a classic folk song written by Irish songwriter Ewan MacColl in 1949. The song’s haunting melody and evocative lyrics have made it a beloved classic that has been covered by many artists over the years. The lyrics describe the beauty and hardship of life in a working-class town, with the singer expressing both love and frustration for their surroundings. The song’s memorable chorus is a wistful and melancholic reflection on the past. The version linked is a poignant and emotional performance by the Irish folk group The Pogues, featuring lead singer Shane MacGowan’s distinctive voice and a backing band that includes accordion, mandolin, and tin whistle.
“Buffalo Gals” is a traditional American folk song that originated in the early 19th century. The song’s catchy melody and lively tempo have made it a popular hit that has been covered by many artists over the years. The lyrics describe a group of women, the “Buffalo Gals,” who are known for their lively and joyful dancing. The song’s memorable chorus features a call-and-response section that encourages listeners to join in and sing along. The version linked is a fun and upbeat rendition by the legendary folk musician Pete Seeger, featuring banjo, guitar, and a group of backing singers.
12.Brown Eyed Girl
“Brown Eyed Girl” is a classic rock song written and performed by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. The song’s catchy melody and upbeat tempo have made it a beloved classic that has been covered by many artists over the years. The lyrics describe a nostalgic look back at a romantic relationship, with the singer expressing his affection for a woman with brown eyes. The song’s joyful and infectious chorus is a sing-along favorite that encourages listeners to join in and celebrate love and life. The version linked is a lively and energetic performance by Van Morrison, featuring his distinctive soulful voice and a backing band that includes guitar, bass, drums, and saxophone.