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 the drums while...

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 all downhill. It started with well-known NPR...

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 – what they...

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 Lord Almighty, that...

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 iconic "Turkey in...

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 three weeks later...

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 time consistently focusing on the things they're...

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,...

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 was unaware of the rich and complex history of the instrument....

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 together, recall old...