The phrase "old-timey" has many connotations in the life of Reed Martin. For one, it's a good description of the kind of banjo-playing he'll most likely unveil at the 6th Annual Washington Folk Festival, which is scheduled for Glen Echo Park next Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Martin, who works in the pathology museum at Walter Reed Hospital, is one of 400 Washingtonians who will participate in the free festival. He came to Washington after "growing up in Indiana, moving to Washington many years ago, living in Baltimore, Boston, Kentucky."
"I like all kinds of banjo," Martin says, "but when I was growing up, the only style around was the old-time style. When I first got a banjo, the people that I found in Indiana were elderly people who played the old-time style. I probably played that way for five years before I realized that I would not be shunned if I learned bluegrass." A winner of more than 15 national banjo contests, Martin was the 1979 old-time banjo champion at Union Grove, N.C.
Martin, who performs a variety of styles with guitarist Dan Blum every Tuesday night at Kramerbooks & Afterwards, appears at the Folk Festival on Saturday at 4:30.