ur unique publications and recordings can rarely be found in common stores due to their non-commercial nature and our attitude towards the big world. These releases are however available from the Country Home mailing service.
Martin’s books, CDs and DVDs are first-class products of the original „cottage industry“ and appear in limited volumes. If you like them we gladly encourage you to recommend them to your friends and acquaintances.

Country, Bluegrass
& Old-Time Songbook (1)

Martin Žák

This Songbook includes 99 traditional American songs in English with guitar chords and tips for original recordings. Several chapters of the book will guide you through how you can play these songs with guitar, mandolin, mountain dulcimer, autoharp and fiddle (these chapters in Czech language).
You will also get a CD with clips of all 99 songs. The CD was recorded by Martin Žák himself and an excellent singer of American songs Petr Vacek.
The songbook’s nostalgic atmosphere of old times is also based on many period illustrations.
A must-have guide through traditional American music. An excellent tool for bands.

„I’d like to bring you several dozens of stories sung by plain people from behind the Atlantic ocean (from America) in times of first settlements. They sang them in their homes, farms, schools and churches, on horseback or behind their ploughs, in their free time or during work – anywhere and anytime. The poorer the people were, the more wealth they had in their songs. They did not want to entertain somebody else in those days, they just wanted to satisfy their own needs.
Nowadays when we have stores full of quality recordings and air awash with radio and television stations, we can hardly imagine the value a simple song had for whole generations of people...
In this songbook you will find a wide variety of topics from old ballads to playful mountain whooping songs, cowboy tunes, songs for lovers and about work, stories of gamblers, outlaws, soldiers and sailors, songs about moonshine, religious songs, quite old-fashioned and sentimental chants, but also witty tunes and stories describing some famous historical event or just a locally known incident…“

Songs in the book and on CD:
A Beautiful Life ~ Ain’t Gonna Work Tomorrow ~ All the Good Times Are Past and Gone ~ Angel Band ~ Banks of the Ohio ~ Big Ball In Boston ~ Black-Eyed Susie ~ The Blue-Tail Fly ~ Buffalo Gals ~ Bury Me Beneath the Willow ~ Captain Kidd ~ Careless Love ~ Cluck Old Hen ~ Cripple Creek ~ Cumberland Gap ~ Dark Hollow ~ Darling Corey ~ Dixie ~ Down In the Valley ~ Down In the Willow Garden ~ The Erie Canal ~ Fair and Tender Ladies ~ Footprints in the Snow ~ Frankie and Johnnie ~ Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad ~ Goober Peas ~ Goodbye Old Paint ~ Greensleeves ~ Ground Hog ~ Hand Me Down My Walking Cane ~ Handsome Molly ~ Home on the Range ~ Hot Corn, Cold Corn ~ House of the Rising Sun ~ I Truly Understand ~ I’m a Pilgrim ~ In the Pines ~ Jesse James ~ John Henry ~ Johnson Boys ~ Just Over In the Gloryland ~ Keep On the Sunny Side ~ Kumbaya ~ Life Is Like a Mountain Railroad ~ Little Birdie ~ Little Liza Jane ~ Little Mohee ~ The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane ~ Little Rosewood Casket ~ Little Stream of Whiskey ~ Lonesome Valley ~ Long Journey Home ~ Mama Don’t ’Low ~ Methodist Pie ~ Michael, Row the Boat Ashore ~ The Midnight Special ~ Mole in the Ground ~ My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean ~ My Home’s Across the Smoky Mountains ~ Nine-Pound Hammer ~ The Old Chisholm Trail ~ Old-Time Religion ~ On Top of Old Smoky ~ Pallet on Your Floor ~ Palms of Victory ~ Pick a Bale of Cotton ~ Pretty Polly ~ Pretty Saro ~ Railroad Bill ~ Rank Stranger ~ Red River Valley ~ Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms ~ Roving Gambler ~ Sail Away Ladies ~ Salty Dog Blues ~ Shady Grove ~ She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain ~ Simple Gifts ~ Sinner Man ~ Sitting on Top of the World ~ Skip to My Lou ~ The Sloop John B. ~ The Streets of Laredo ~ Sweet Betsy from Pike ~ Take This Hammer ~ This Train ~ Tom Dooley ~ Two Little Boys ~ Wabash Cannonball ~ Wayfaring Stranger ~ What Shall We Do with the Drunken Sailor? ~ Where We’ll Never Grow Old ~ Whiskey in the Jar ~ Wildwood Flower ~ Will the Circle Be Unbroken? ~ Wind and Rain ~ Working on a Building ~ Worried Man Blues ~ The Wreck of the Old Ninety-Seven

Price of the book including CD: 330 CZK order

„Martin Žák’s Country, Bluegrass & Old-Time Songbook I is so rich with information and old-time mood that it should be a reading book of all country and bluegrass musicians.“

Karel Soukop, Bruntál

Country Home,
svět písní a dávných příběhů
aneb ze zajetí velkoměsta
až na „konec světa“

(Country Home,
World of Songs and Old-Time Stories
or From the Shackles of a Big City
to the „End of the World“)

Martin Žák

60 period songs that wrote the history of the music of old American country-side (known nowadays as country music) with Czech lyrics written by the author and interesting historical information.
The book is framed with a true story of an escape from a big city to a place called the “End of the World” and includes both new and long-forgotten stories.
All is supplemented with a bounty of pictures, illustrations and number of enchanting old-time engravings.

„Go with us against the stream of time; in enchanting places where mother’s silent chanting and father’s guitar never fades. Where banjo rings down from foggy hills, dulcimer buzzes and autoharp of itinerant preacher pleases our tired soul. When lonesome cowboy scrapes the old fiddle against the crackle of night campfire. Where tiny french harp of careless hobo howls and where you can hear mandolin bark in hands of a musician born in the land of bluegrass, where jaw harp quacks in palm of wrinkled farmer…“

Songs in the book (with author’s Czech lyrics):
Až má milá najde cestu (She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain) ~ Betty Ann (Shady Grove) ~ Billy Kid (Billy the Kid) ~ Bouda v kopcích Jižních hor (The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane) ~ Boží milost (Amazing Grace) ~ Buráky (Goober Peas) ~ Celou noc být s tebou sám! (Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms) ~ Cesta prvním vlakem (Riding on the Dummy) ~ Cumberland Gap ~ Dáma se zelenými rukávy (Greensleeves) ~ Dárky (Simple Gifts) ~ Dědečkovy hodiny (Grandfather’s Clock) ~ Deštivé ráno (Dinah) ~ Domů zadními vrátky (All the Good Times Are Past and Gone) ~ Doney Gal ~ Dopisy ze staré skříňky (Rosewood Casket) ~ Drž mě víc! (Let Me Fall) ~ Dům v Modrejch horách (My Home’s Across the Blue Ridge Mountains) ~ Erijský kanál (The Erie Canal) ~ Hazardní hráč (The Roving Gambler) ~ Hezká Polly (Pretty Polly) ~ Holky z Buffalo (Buffalo Gals) ~ Hříbátko (My Pony Boy) ~ Kánoe z gumovníku (The Gum Tree Canoe) ~ Kapitán Kidd (Captain Kidd) ~ Kdy půjdem spolu k oltáři? (When We Gonna Get Married?) ~ Kolíbavka (Hush Little Baby) ~ Kolovrátek (The Old Spinning Wheel) ~ Kruh (Will the Circle Be Unbroken) ~ Líná řeka (Angelina Baker) ~ Lízo, vrať se mi zas! (Skip to My Lou) ~ Má milá spí za vodou slanou (My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean) ~ Malá Sadie a mizera Lee Brown (Little Sadie) ~ Metu, metu, metu (Sweepy, Sweepy, Sweepy) ~ Nad balzámovou strání (Good Old Rebel) ~ Nákladní vlak (Freight Train) ~ Návrat (Sweet Sunny South) ~ Nejstarší slepička (Cluck Old Hen) ~ Nelly (Nelly Bly) ~ Ó, Zuzano! (Oh! Susanna) ~ Oleana ~ Potulný kazatel (Methodist Pie) ~ Poutník (Wayfaring Stranger) ~ Proud řeky Ohio (Banks of the Ohio) ~ Setkání ve stínu vrby (Bury Me Beneath the Willow) ~ Stará Chisholm Trail (Old Chisholm Trail) ~ Sviští píseň (Ground Hog) ~ Svobodná, provdaná (Single Girl, Married Girl) ~ Taneček s ďáblem (Reel & Rock) ~ Tom Dula ~ Tunel (Swannanoa Tunnel) ~ U nás v horách (Sourwood Mountain) ~ Ve vrbovém háji (Down in the Willow Garden) ~ Velká voda (Waterbound) ~ Vesluj k mému břehu, Michaeli! (Michael, Row the Boat Ashore) ~ Ví Bůh sám (Kum Ba Yah) ~ Wabash Cannonball ~ Zimní noc (Hard Times Come Again No More) ~ Zlá zpráva (In the Pines) ~ Zpátky domů (Home from the Forest)

Price of the book: 160 CZK order

Country Home, svět písní a dávných příběhů… is a book whose content, graphics and technical form blows on readers from the first instant of turning the first page like the wind from bluish slopes of mountains of American South and Southwest…“

Slavomil Janov, magazín Western World, Czech Magazine

Banjo dávných horalů, farmářů,
kovbojů, tuláků a jiných dobrodruhů

(Banjo of Old Mountaineers, Farmers,
Cowboys, Hobos and Other Adventurers)

Martin Žák

Remarkable and comprehensive collection devoted to the poetic instrument – five-string banjo and traditional country music. The author leads us in distant lands and long-forgotten times.
This book accompanied with a CD also serves as summary of playing styles from the original „stroke style“ to contemporary bluegrass „picking“; the book includes tabs for your own playing and a lot of old-time songs.
The author also introduces us to some of the best contemporary players of American old-time music, such as David Holt, Wayne Erbsen, Mike Seeger, Phil Rosenthal, Laura Boosinger, Bob Flesher, LeRoy Troy, Michael J. Miles and many many more.
You will also be able to learn from experience of Marko Čermák, Czech pioneer and promoter of the five-string banjo. Jiří Tichota recalls his memories on his banjo years and Luboš Malina will take you to a little old-time trip.
On almost 300 pages of this book you will find over 400 stylish pictures and photos (many of them have a high historical value).
You will hear the ancient stories told by banjo and other traditional instruments, like fiddle, dulcimer or autoharp on the enclosed CD (72 minutes).
The whole collection is an outstanding work both by its content and the exceptionally diligent form.

„Every man who had set up to follow the footprints of banjo in its foggy past, has experienced the feeling of lonesome traveller in deep dark mountains. But trouble refines souls, fresh air clarifies minds, wandering brings new knowledge. So let’s all set up on the journey.
We will meet banjo in all its forms – in the most sleepy of all hollows, propped against corners of dark mountain cabins, in hands of headlong farmers and at evening fires heralding end of yet another day of bloody Civil war. We will hear the silent sound of banjo above meadows and by cattle trails, we will meet hobos carrying their banjos on their backs in threadbare sacks, but we will also go to the hills of California where banjo jingle gets mixed with clashing of pickaxes, shovels and gold pans. We will find banjo under covers of carriages heading for West, we will dance to the riveting rhythm of banjo with a black slave in dust of southern plantation, „Mr. Banjo“ will also pull us into round of minstrels. If you are not that brave you can still safely listen to the tones of banjo under a window of a parlour on the nice side of town…“

Contents of the book (names of songs are highlighted in italics):
Banjo - vyprávěč příběhů (Banjo - Storyteller) ~ Appalačskou stezkou (Along the Appalachian Trail) ~ Nový domov (A New Home) ~ Rok na horské farmě (One Year on Mountain Farm) ~ Muzeum Appalačie (Muzeum of Appalachia) ~ Písně kopců a údolí (Songs of Hills and Valleys) ~ Co je old-time hudba? (What is Old-Time Music?) ~ Housle (Fiddle) ~ Dulcimer ~ Kytara (Guitar) ~ Autoharfa (Autoharp) ~ Mandolína (Mandolin) ~ Brumle (Jaw Harp) ~ Harmonika (Harmonica) ~ Hudební luk (Mouthbow) ~ Vyrábíme hudební luk (Making a Mouthbow) ~ Valcha, lžíce, pytlíky… (Washboard, Spoons, Paper Bags) ~ Basa (Bass Fiddle) ~ Banjo ~ Banjo v proměnách času (Banjo in Different Time Periods) ~ Nástroj našeho srdce (The Instrument of Our Heart) ~ Open-back banjo ~ Bluegrassové banjo s rezonátorem (Bluegrass Banjo with Resonator) ~ Jak naladit banjo (How to tune the banjo) ~ Čas příběhů a písní (Time of Songs and Stories) ~ Tajemství výroby horalského banja (The Secret of Making a Mountain Banjo) ~ Tom Dula ~ Nejkrásnější hra (The Most Beautiful Play) ~ Až má milá najde cestu (She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountains) ~ Lízo, vrať se mi zas! (Skip to My Lou) ~ Buráky (Goober Peas) ~ Kapodastr (Capo) ~ Instalujeme skobičky pro pátou strunu (Installing Spikes for the Fifth String) ~ Kalifornie (Banks of the Sacramento) ~ Hrajte svému psovi (Play to Your Dog) ~ Umírající pastevec (The Dyin’ Stockman) ~ Tabulatura není věda (Tab is No Rocket Science) ~ Doney Gal ~ Půlnoční rychlík (Midnight Special) ~ Carter Style Picking ~ A vrátí se písničky (And Songs Will Return) ~ Banjové styly (Banjo Styles) ~ Clawhammer ~ Ó, Zuzano! (Oh! Susannah) ~ Uvítání v horách (Welcome in Mountains) ~ Černý muž (John Brown’s Body) ~ Erijský kanál (The Erie Canal) ~ Střecha nad hlavou, první jistota v neznámém kraji (Solid Roof, the First Certain Thing in the Unknown Land) ~ Ach, ty nehty! (Oh, the Wretched Nails!) ~ Starý zhýčkaný zajíc (Old Molly Hare) ~ Večer nad údolím (Evening Coming to Valley) ~ Jak vznikl skluz - pohádka před spaním (The Origin of Slide - A Bedtime Story) ~ Skluz (Slide) ~ Kladivo Johna Henryho ~ Příraz (Hammer-on) ~ Cesta na vrchol (Road to the Top) ~ Odtah (Pull-off) ~ Déšť nad náhonem (Rain Above the Mill-Race) ~ Vytažení (Choking) ~ Divoká kytka (Wildwood Flower) ~ Kruh (Will the Circle Be Unbroken) ~ Cesta k zapomenutému srubu ~ Nejstarší slepička (Cluck Old Hen) ~ Technika klesajícího palce (Drop Thumb Technique) ~ Neptej se, kde kůži vzal… (Don’t Ask Him, Where He Took the Skin From…) ~ Arkansaský cestovatel (Arkansas Traveler) ~ Běžte telátka malý (Whoopee Ti Yi Yo) ~ Z kovbojského žargonu (From Cowboy Lingo) ~ Vojákovo potěšení (Soldier’s Joy) ~ Zlaté pantoflíčky (Oh, Them Golden Slippers) ~ Kapitán Kidd (Captain Kidd) ~ Up-picking ~ Mašlička černá jak noc (The Girl with the Black Velvet Band) ~ Devítilibrové kladivo (Nine Pound hammer) ~ Hrajeme davům (Playing to Crowds) ~ Dvouprstový styl (Two-finger style)~ Svobodná, provdaná (Single Girl, Married Girl) ~ Krajina v zimě (Winter Landscape) ~ Starý Reuben (Reuben’s Train)) ~ Zlá zpráva (In the Pines) ~ Banjové spolky (Banjo Clubs)~ Banjo pana Scruggse (Banjo of Mr. Scruggs) ~ Tříprstový styl (Three-Finger Style) ~ Celou noc být s tebou sám (Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms) ~ Základní kameny (Stepping Stones) ~ Jesse James ~ Cumberlandská soutěska (Cumberland Gap) ~ Domů zadními vrátky (All the Good Times Are Past and Gone) ~ Ďábelský sen (Devil’s Dream) ~ Z toulavého rance (From Hobo’s Backpack) ~ Wayne Erbsen, ten, který mi ukázal cestu (… The One Who Showed Me the Way) ~ Red Rocking Chair ~ Mississippi Sawyer ~ David Holt, nevysychající pramen písní a příběhů (… The Eternal Spring of Songs And Stories) ~ Sail Away Ladies ~ Ragtime Annie ~ Laura Boosinger, zpěvavý ptáček z Jižních hor (… The Songbird of the Southern Mountains) ~ Sourwood Mountain ~ Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss ~ Will Keys, vlídný banjový kouzelník (…, The Kind Banjo Conjurer) ~ The Wearing of the Green ~ Robby Spencer, vzpomínka na Grandpa Jonese (… The Memory of Grandpa Jones) ~ Old Dan Tucker ~ Leroy Troy: Rozbil jsem jen dvě banja! (… I Broke Only Two Banjos!) ~ Phil Rosenthal, aneb trubadúři se vracejí (… Or Troubadours Are Coming Back) ~ Buffalo Gals ~ Bob Flesher a tajemný Dr. Žíně (… And the Mysterious Dr. Horsehair) ~ Bee Gum Reel ~ Michael J. Miles, dotek magického banja (… The Touch of Magic Banjo) ~ Suite De Schottisches ~ Greensleeves ~ Art Rosenbaum, průvodce horalskými styly (… The Guide To Mountain Styles) ~ Mike Seeger, posel zašlých dnů (… The Messenger From the Old Days) ~ Lost Gander ~ Banjo zvoní za humny (Banjo Ringing Behind the Floors) ~ Na rozlúčení, mý potěšení (Farewell, My Pleasure) ~ Luboš Malina: Bez předsudků (… No Prejudice) ~ Brazos Bottom ~ The Tree of Leaf and Fire ~ Pete Seeger, písně naděje (… Songs of Hope) ~ Jiří Tichota: Utajené začátky (Secret Beginnings) ~ Marko Čermák: Kruh se uzavírá (The Circle Closes In) ~ Vltavská Marína (Vltava Marine) ~ A tradice pokračuje (Tradition Still Living) ~ Doprovodná nahrávka (Attached Recording) ~ Přehled akordů a ladění (Chords and Tunings): G ladění (G Tuning) - C ladění (C Tuning) - Dvojité C ladění (Double C Tuning) - Otevřené C ladění (Open C Tuning) - D ladění (D Tuning) - G moll ladění (G Minor Tuning) - Modální G ladění (G Modal Tuning) - Cumberland Gap F ladění (Cumberland Gap F Tuning) ~ Doporučené nahrávky (Recommended Recordings) ~ Video ~ Literatura (Books) ~ Internetové stránky (Web Pages) …

Price of the book including CD: 990 CZK order

„With his fantastic book Banjo dávných horalů… Martin Žák has paid off a colossal debt of all the banjo players starting from Scruggs to all the old-time fellows who brought banjo to the light of day even before bluegrass.
I raise my hat to this great piece of work.“

Marko Čermák, pioneer of the five-string banjo in Czechoslovakia

Banjo dávných horalů… is the book to end all books; I guess it surely will stand among the most important books in its genre.“

Jaroslav Velinský alias Kapitán Kid, Czech singer, musician and writer

Banjo dávných horalů… Extraordinary book. This is really amazing work! You have done a fantastic job. This should be published all over the world.“

David Holt, singer from Appalachian Mountains, host of many TV and radio shows, Grammy award winner

„Book Banjo dávných horalů… is fantastic! I am shocked how good and professional it is. I’ve very impressed!“

Wayne Erbsen, renowned musician, historian and publisher from Northern Carolina, USA

„Book Banjo dávných horalů… is to me what BIBLE is to a believer.“

Jan Štefek, Pardubice

„Martin’s Banjo book is comprehensive, well-designed, and simply first-rate. It is one of the best books about old-time music I have ever seen.“

Scott C. Miller, master of playing the rhythmic bones and producer of bones from Missouri, USA

První krůčky s kytarou:
Jednoduchá country kytara
pro malé začátečníky

(First Steps with Guitar:
Easy Country Guitar for Little Beginners)

Martin Žák

A comprehensive guide for beginner guitar players which will help them to choose their first guitar, strings and other accessories. You will learn to tune your guitar, replace a broken string and other useful skills, but first of all, this guide will lead you from your first easy chords to a stand-alone song accompaniment.
On our journey we will slip into Golden Slippers, follow the The Old Chisholm Trail, sit in the Red River Valley, hear the bells Just Before The Battle, be introduced to the infamous Jesse James... We will experience many adventures.
You will see not only stylish photos, but also popular drawings of Marko Čermák (draftsman of many comic series and illustrator of books by famous Jaroslav Foglar).
A diligently arranged training CD (55 minutes) is also a part of this book.
And imagine that you do not have to read sheet music to play the guitar!!

„The decision to spend your time with your new girlfriend – a guitar is a lucky decision. I am proud of you. Hold on, don’t be discouraged by initial difficulties. The guitar will reward you later, will become a part of your life and bring much joy not only to you, but also to your friends and acquaintances.
Before we take the first steps, I would like to stress that this book is meant for small beginners. If you are eight, nine or twelve, then I guess the book is in the right hands. But that is not to say your parents or grandparents could not learn from it as well…
I can’t promise you that after mastering contents of this book you will become the greatest guitar player near and far. What I will teach you is primarily how you can use guitar to accompany your singing or chanting of your friend. And I guess that’s the most important thing... Then you can play and sing and spread the good mood. You will be a welcome guest at fireplaces, in camps, in mountain cottage… just about everywhere where people meet and love singing, nature and feeling free at least once a year.
I hope you’re glad that I won’t complicate the tutoring with complicated theory, learning to read sheet music and other boring things. Mainly we will just play and sing. No need to read the dots when you want to play the guitar. You may be surprised to hear that many great players can’t read sheet music either.
Our school is open mainly for those who love songs from the big family of country music. And it doesn’t matter whether you heart belongs to the arid plains of Dakota, porch of an old cabin in Appalachian mountains, rocks of Český ráj (locality in the Czech Republic) or banks of Sázava (popular river)...“

Contents of the book (names of songs are highlighted in italics):
Před mnoha a mnoha lety… (Many, Many Years Ago…) ~ Než uděláme první krůček (Before We Take the First Step) ~ Vybíráme vhodný nástroj (Choosing the Right Instrument) ~ Odborníky za pár minut? (Experts After Few Minutes?) ~ Co se nám ještě může hodit (What Else Could Come in Handy?) ~ Konečně začínáme (Starting At Last) ~ Nejprve musíme naladit (Tuning Comes First) ~ Vyměňujeme prasklou strunu (Changing a Broken String) ~ První akordy (First Chords) ~ Zlaté střevíčky (Oh, Them Golden Slippers) ~ Pec nám spadla (Our Oven Has Fallen Down) ~ Texaská stezka (The Old Chisholm Trail) ~ Nové akordy (New Chords) ~ Šly panenky silnicí (Maids Went Along the Road) ~ Zlaté střevíčky (Oh, Them Golden Slippers) ~ Jako dědečkovy hodiny (Like Grandfather’s Clock) ~ Červená řeka (Red River Valley) ~ Akord C (C Chord) ~ Montgomery (Just Before The Battle, Mother) ~ Dva mollové akordy (Two Minor Chords)~ Tisíc mil (Five Hundred Miles) ~ Tříčtvrťový takt (Three-quater Time)~ Irene, Good Night ~ Hrajeme trsátkem (Playing With a Pick) ~ Hra na basových strunách (Playing the Bass Strings) ~ Akord F (F Chord) ~ Jesse James ~ Malá obměna doprovodu (Small Change in the Accompaniment) ~ Zatracenej život (Before I Met You) ~ Tabulatura (Tab) ~ Ta zem je tvá zem (This Land is Your Land) ~ Rozložené akordy (Arpeggio) ~ Montgomery (Just Before the Battle, Mother) ~ Změna tóniny písně (Changing a Key) ~ Kouzelná pomůcka - Kapodastr (Capo, a Magical Helper) ~ Základní akordy (Basic Chords) ~ Kudy dál?… (Where to Go Next?…)

Price of the book including CD: 290 CZK order

„I’ve flown through the whole book První krůčky s kytarou at once (and then again and again)… I’ve never read so many nice things written about a guitar or banjo in my life.“

Jiří Fadrný, Svitavy

„Thanks to Martin Žák for the book První krůčky s kytarou. It’s grand. Even an absolute beginner will get to know the basics. When you don’t get it and need a detailed explanation, that’s what Martin Žák does best“

Helena Prušáková, Dřínov

Bluegrass Songbook 1
Martin Žák

Eleven bluegrass songs with tabs – banjo tabs: Hot Corn, Cold Corn, All the Good Times; mandolin tabs: Salty Dog; dobro tabs: Wabash Cannonball; guitar tabs: Banks of the Ohio etc.
First publication of Country Home – a songbook made with great zest, a true homecraft production.

„$25 for every song accepted – this might have been the wording of an advertisement of a recording company in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1920s. Musicians and singers went down from mountains and settled in front of hotels. Recordings from that time show folk music in its pure form, not affected by the city and fashion.
The universally acclaimed founder of bluegrass Bill Monroe branched out of this style called hillbilly music or old-time music (the word bluegrass came to use in fifties and was derived from the name of Monroe’s band The Bluegrass Boys). Even devoted fans and musicians differ in the exact definition of bluegrass. What we know is that this style is based on a defined set of string instruments (banjo, fiddle, guitar, bass and mandolin) and prefers high (often lonesome) singing. Gradually the original set of instruments began to widen and the style absorbed many influences.
But the luminous beauty of the time of old farmers, miners and workers who often knew only parts of the songs and simple method of strumming from their fathers and grandfathers never really went away. So let’s close our eyes for a while and pick up the banjo from wall of the forgotten cottage in far-off lands…“

Songs in the book:
Will the Circle Be Unbroken ~ Banks of the Ohio ~ Hot Corn, Cold Corn ~ Log Cabin in the Lane ~ Wabash Cannonball ~ All the Good Times Are Past and Gone ~ Salty Dog ~ Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms ~ Footprints in the Snow ~ Keep On the Sunny Side ~ Amazing Grace

Price of the book: 19 CZK order

Bluegrass Songbook 2
Martin Žák

This Songbook includes twenty bluegrass and traditional country songs in English, sixteen of them have also got Czech lyrics.
Every song is supplemented with standard sheet music and chords, you will also find here five tab sheets for five-string banjo, a summary of the most common finger positions when playing the guitar, mandolin and banjo, a lot of photos etc.

„Don’t hesitate, come closer and sit down by the fire, now it’s the right time to forget all problems and let old stories carry you away. Some of them are sentimental and so sad they will bring you to tears, other will make you smile or dance instantly.
If you have your instrument ready, that’s good. You can’t play any instrument? That doesn’t matter, everyone can at least sing.
No worries about your singing. What kind of old-time mountaineers would every care about that? They used to have other trouble and singing always helped them overcome them.
And now when our new barn has been built, crops are in and your mule is also enjoying its well-deserved dinner, we have twice as many reasons to sing.“

Song in the Book:
Ain’t Gonna Work Tomorrow ~ Angel Band ~ Auld Lang Syne ~ Clementine ~ Cora Is Gone ~ Cotton Fields ~ Cripple Creek ~ Crying Holy ~ Down the Road ~ Frankie and Johnnie ~ Handsome Molly ~ Home, Sweet Home ~ In the Pines ~ Jesse James ~ John Hardy ~ Little Magie ~ Midnight on the Stormy Deep ~ Nine Pound Hammer ~ Red River Valley ~ Wayfaring Stranger

Prize of the book: 35 CZK order

We offer you original programs with traditional country music and period instruments targeted at clubs, schools, summer camps etc., as well as concerts, festival shows, music for museums and open-air living history museums, musical lessons and seminars. See more information with video click here.

sirka 560px

Dear traveller, you have just come to www.martinzak.cz pages
devoted to old-time country music of Martin Žák and his band Stará Almara.

About Martin Zak | Martin Zak & His Old-Time Country Band | Traditional Instruments | Songs
Musical Programs | Recordings & Videos | Books | Contact

Martin Žák would like to thank everybody who showed him the way, first of all
Wayne Erbsen, David Holt, Mike Seeger, Pete Seeger, John Hartford, Janette and Joe Carter,
Laura Boosinger, Will Keys, Michael J. Miles and other old-time heroes,
including the ones whose names are now gone with the wind.
And also Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Gordon Lightfoot, Merle Haggard, John Denver…
© 2009 Martin Žák