Gimme that Old-Time Rhythm

At first, as I was coming to love oldtime music as an adult, I found it curious that percussion and rhythm instruments seemed to play such a minor role. Having played...

Katherine Jackson French: Kentucky’s Forgotten Ballad Collector

Congratulations on publishing your new book, “Katherine Jackson French: Kentucky’s Forgotten Ballad Collector” (University Press of Kentucky). Who was Katherine Jackson French? Katherine Jackson French was a remarkable...

Clawhammer Banjo and the Great Fingernail Dilemma

There are some fine clawhammer banjo players who have unbelievably short fingernails, trimmed or bitten to the nub. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how they manage to get...

One in every pocket: the rise of the harmonica in old-time music

“It has changed a lot, but it shouldn’t have changed. It should be the same all the way through, ’cause people that comes to see the Grand Ole Opry, they’re coming to see –...
The Mountain Minor film poster

“The Mountain Minor” Movie Review and Interview

The Mountain Minor is a fictional film to be released in October 2019 that tells the interrelated stories of oldtime music, family, place, and history in the Appalachians.

Oldtime in the Golden Age of Instagram

When fiddler George Jackson first saw a banjo player post an Instagram video of themselves playing “Dorrigo”, an original tune off Jackson’s new record, he was flattered. He didn’t expect that...

Review: Bartlett Fiddle Mic

Quick Summary If you're looking for the Goldilocks of fiddle microphones, then the Bartlett Fiddle Mic might just be it. There are many cheaper mics and pickups, there...

Turkey in the Straw – harmonica fiddle duet

Seth Shumate is one of a small handful of great oldtime harmonica players. What he can do few others can. Here Seth and Ben Smith (fiddle) sit down to play the...

10+ Ways to Get Better at Your Instrument

Benjamin Smith, James Peterson and Richard Osban It's an unfortunate truth that the best musicians are usually the ones who are willing to spend some of their...

Is oldtime out of tune?

Whether we admit it or not, almost all of us have had that moment of listening to an oldtime fiddler – it's almost always the fiddler – and cringing. "Oh good...