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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...

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...
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.

Strum Machine or How to Have Fun Practicing

For most of us, the best part about playing oldtime is playing music with other people. It is a rare joy of human existence to connect with others as we sound...

A Reasoned Defense of Notation in Oldtime Music

There is some controversy in oldtime communities around the use of musical notation – both tablature and standard notation – in learning tunes. What role does notation have? Is it ok...

Ten Places to Start for Oldtime Fiddle

Oldtime fiddle - The Devil's Box? Let's be straight – oldtime fiddle is not for the faint of heart. It might be scratchy and "mossy", played all kinds of ways by generations of folk musicians,...

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...

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...

Get Up in the Cool: Interview with Cameron DeWhitt

How did Get Up in the Cool get started? I listen to podcasts constantly, and I have for years. I got my first smartphone and then it was...

Banjo Roots and Branches: Exploring the African Roots

This is post 1 of 4 in the series Banjo Roots and Branches. When I started learning how to play the banjo in 2006, I...