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Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith
Ben Smith is the founder and editor of Oldtime Central. As an ethnomusicologist, applied anthropologist, luthier, and oldtime musician, he is particularly interested in nurturing the oldtime community worldwide.


Cameron Knowler: Melodic Guitar in Oldtime Music

Although oldtime guitar is arguably one of the most underrated and overlooked instruments in the tradition, Cameron Knowler is quick to point out that strong, engaging back-up is crucial to the “nutrition” of any fiddle tune.  Cameron uses...

Creating a Safer Space in Traditional Music

In October of this year, a small group of active traditional musicians established a new Facebook group called "Traditional Music Today." In the few weeks of its existence it has grown very quickly and gotten strong responses from many in the community....

Laurel Premo and “The Iron Trios”: An Interview

“When I interact with American fiddle music, it’s hard to distinguish between the sounds that I’m actually hearing and the music that is happening inside of me. From the rhythms of my body reacting in dance, or the way vibrations from...

Old Folks Get in Bed: fiddle lesson with Craig Judelman

In the 1920s, Georgia fiddler Oscar Ford and fellow bandmate Walter Morris made a number of great recordings including this one: Old Folks Get in Bed. Craig Judelman teaches this great tune and gives some tips on adding drone strings and...

The Functional Art of Old-Time Back-Up Guitar

One thing I love about playing old-time music is that a good tune or a good session is a collaborative effort. Each individual plays a part in creating the overall sound. This is how the music functions and this is how...