Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mary's First Day at School

Couple weeks ago I had breakfast with Nick in the little town where I live.  We talked about his dad, music and such.  It had been a long time and it was good to touch base.  We decided to gather up all of the tablature that his dad had created and create a book.  Will be fun and educational.

Afterward we went to the parking lot and I pulled out a banjo that I bought and played some music.  Nick played a song that his father had written.  It's called Mary's First Day at School.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Picture from Homerville

This popped up on Facebook.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cookin’ Country

Found this on James Hedrick’s Facebook page.  It’s an old picture I’d never seen before. 


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pictures of Our Trip to Kentucky

In the short time I knew Rod I was privileged to be included in a few of his trips.  Whenever I was around Rod and his family I was family.

My family was invited to go to Kentucky and see where Rod’s wife Helen had grown up.  The beauty of the land and the people down there still affect me.

I took some pictures that up until now I had forgotten to post.  Enjoy them.  They bring back some great memories for me.











Monday, June 1, 2009

Rod Singing

Here's another pic that Helen sent me, this one of Rod singing. I wish I had known him then.

Sunday, May 31, 2009


A while back Helen emailed me a picture of Rod with his banjo taken at Olan Mills. Here it is:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Nick's Banjo Tattoo

I got a message from Helen that Nick took Rod's banjo down to the tattoo parlor and had them tattoo it's likeness on his arm. It's a cool tribute. The picture is a little blurry but I'll take a better one next time I see him.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I've had an idea rolling around the back of my head for a few months. Why not make a documentary of Rod's life? I have hours of his playing and talking to me. Plus I have a few hours of video that I haven't been able to convert yet.

If anyone has any old photos, thoughts or recordings of Rod let me know. This will take a lot of work but will be worth it.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Video From Rod's Memorial

I just found this video from the memorial and although it is short is shows how relaxed and laid back everyone was.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rod's Memorial

When my good friend and banjo instructor RCCook (Rod Veverka) died back in December it was decided that there would be a celebration of his life down at his cabin. His cabin is located down by Dennison Ohio and I looked forward to going. I drove down Sunday morning with a terrible head cold but in good spirits. TomTom allowed me to relax, sip on my coffee and listen to NPR programs for the two hour drive.

TomTom took me down a dirt road and announced, "You have reached your destination!" I stopped and I was nowhere. I got out and took three pictures of the side of the road. I just combined them into a panorama. As you can see I wasn't quite near civilization.

I drove around a while and found the road. TomTom almost got me there so I can't really complain.

Rod's cabin is back in the hills and what is the closest thing to heaven that I've seen. Across the way are beaver dams and a swamp that is full of wildlife. The whole area is so alive. I saw this flower and had to take a picture.

I ambled up to the cabin and was surprised by how many people were there. I only knew a few but knew that by the time I'd left I'd have many friends. Not surprising, Nick was set up playing music with a bunch of guys. I found out that many of them had been in bands with Rod in the old days. Each were marvelous musicians and I spent a lot of time just watching them play.

There was lots of food and lots of stories of Rod. I didn't know he was a professional wrestler when he was young. Of course, I forget that I only knew him for the last year of his life. It's hard to believe that kind of friendship could be forged so fast.

Later in the day a ceremony was held where a minister said a few words and then Nick scattered Rod's ashes. Then the men fired off a few rounds with their rifles. When they finished there wasn't a dry eye for quite a distance. When the ceremony was over there was a solemn silence that lasted for a long while.

Nick went back to leading the music and I walked around listening to stories about a young Rod. I would have loved to have known him as a young man.

Just as dusk was approaching Nick took a group of us up to the peak of a mountain across the way and we looked down over the valley. The view was breathtaking.

We went back to the cabin and sat by the fire for a while. My cold was getting worse and I decided to head home. It was a little over a two hour ride and I was tired. Today had been a fitting tribute to Rod. It had been about music, stories and family. I hope we do it every year.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Helen and Rod

I was going through a box and came across this picture of Rod and Helen.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Nick and Willie Doing Salt Creek

I went to a jam on Saturday and Nick and Willie were on fire. I have more videos that I will be putting up soon but here is Salt Creek.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Nick Playing June Apple

Nick dropped by today to teach me June Apple. I can't wait to get it down.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rod and Ace

Going through the pictures that Nick brought over I found this picture of Rod and Ace. I don't know when this was but Nick tells me that Ace has a long beard now. Hopefully I'll get more info and when I do I'll update.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Cookin' Country in the 70's

Rods' son Nick came over today to give a lesson and he brought over some wonderful photographs. Here is one from the 1970s of Rod's band Cookin' Country. Then I have a blow up of Rod from the picture. I love the beard.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sally Ann

Rod was teaching me this song so he played it slower than usual.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Darlin' Corey

I recorded Rod and his son Nick doing a great version of this song.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Monday, January 7, 2008

A couple Halloween Pics

Halloween 2007 Rod stopped by to give me a lesson. His son Nick gave my daughter a lesson while Rod gave me my banjo lesson. Rod saw a witches hat and tried it on.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Rock About My Saro Jane

Rod playing a wonderful version of Rock About My Saro Jane.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Death of a Friend

I posted this originally on December 29th, 2007 on my personal Blog.

Last night around 5pm my good friend and banjo instructor Rod Veverka died. I've been expecting it for a couple weeks but it's still hard to take.

I started playing banjo back in 2006 and was lurking around a website called The Banjo Hangout. Rod had a post offering lessons in an old time style of banjo playing called Clawhammer (or frailing). I gave him a call and set up a lesson for the next day.

Because of my upbringing and general incompetence I got lost in Medina. I had to call Rod and have him guide me to his house. When I told him what I did for a living he let out a loud belly laugh. When I got out of the car at his house I heard the prettiest song I'd ever heard on a banjo, it was an old Revolutionary War son, Johnny Has Gone For a Soldier. I didn't know that a banjo could sound like that.

The lesson was held in a cluttered garage and he asked me to show him what I knew. I had been studying the style from a DVD that I got from Parick Costello. I also devoured his book The How and Tao of Old Time Banjo.

I showed Rod the basic clawhammer bum-ditty and played the couple of songs that I knew and he told me I was off to a fine start. Then he played a bunch of songs, Flop Eared Mule, Rock About My Saro Jane, and Sail Away Ladies. I had never heard any of the songs and it was hard to believe that there was just one person playing. I watched his right hand and it was like it wasn't even moving. Then his son Nick came out and played guitar with him, wow. I play guitar but nothing like Nick.

Rod then gave me a song to learn and I left feeling like I'd been in a wind tunnel. I wasn't sure if I could do it.

I went home and worked on what he told me and went back a week later. Rod was encouraging and each one our lesson always went on closer to three. I improved steadily and each week along with playing music he would tell me about the hills and culture of his home. Rod was part Native American and was anxious to expose me to their culture too. He taught me about guns, local archeology, Indian Mounds, and old time banjo.

As the lessons progressed Rod would take me to jam sessions in Homerville, Lafayette and Bellsville. The main rooms were always bluegrass but there were always a couple of rooms where clawhammer and old time was being played. In those rooms Rod was a star.

A couple of months ago Rod invited my family down to Eastern Kentucky to see the hills and where his wife's family is from. I had never been anywhere like this and when we weren't playing music we were exploring the small surrounding towns. I took the family to a gingerbread festival in Knott County.

We spent our final night in Kentucky with Rod taking us back to a holler and seeing Art Stamper's grave. Then we went over to a relatives' house and played gospel music until the wee hours. I came down with a really bad cold and could only sit back and listen but the music was beautiful and pure.

When the weather started turning Rod decided to build a studio to study in. While it was being built we had lessons over at my house. It was nice to have the fireplace going and Rod playing some music. His son Nick had been teaching my daughter guitar and it worked out really well.

Around Halloween we invited the whole family over and Rod and Nick played music for a couple of hours. The entire time I just sat there with a grin on my face. I played a couple of songs but mostly it was Rod and Nick. I videotaped the entire time and plan to convert it to dvd.

After that Rod cancelled a couple lessons saying he had the flu. Then he got colitis that kept getting worse. Eventually he was hospitalized and they couldn't stop the bleeding so they did exploratory surgery. They removed part of his colon and I had hopes that he would recover fully. I worried because he was diabetic. A couple days later he suffered a massive stroke and he never recovered.

When I first met Rod he told me his health wasn't good and that he wanted to pass his music on. I only knew Rod for nine months but it feels like I've known him my entire life. I learned so much from him and I'm grateful for the short time I've had.

Rod didn't want a funeral. Instead he is being cremated and there will be a jam session down at his cabin. There we will scatter his ashes. Rod was a kind and wonderful friend. He will be missed.