Decolonizing the Music (Room)

Brandi Pace is an African-American music educator, now teaching elementary music in Fort Worth, Texas for almost a decade.  She is also an accomplished instrumentalist and singer focusing on jazz, oldtime, and...

Bad Festival Neighbors

When you roll up to an old time festival, you know you aren’t checking into the Presidential Suite at the Ritz. It’s going to be crowded and noisy and dirty, and some of...

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....

The Cabin: tradition & place in Romney, West Virginia

Traditional Appalachian musicians from Hampshire County, West Virginia and the surrounding area are fortunate to have a great venue where they can share their music and friendship. The Cabin, as it is...

Banjo Billy’s “500 Fiddle Tunes: Old-Time Archive”

When I was nine years old, my fiddle teacher sent me to a workshop from the “Famous Fiddlin’ Banjo Billy Mathews.” Having played less than a year and being deathly shy,...

Digging through to the sky: rhythm in oldtime music

Before anything, there was the rhythm.  I was a high-school student in Ithaca, N.Y., classically trained on the violin, when I first saw fiddlers play on the dusty...

What fiddlers like in oldtime backup guitar – in their own words

You might get the impression that oldtime backup guitar doesn't get a lot of attention. But once you start asking questions, you find there are plenty of opinions. Several thousand people read...

What is oldtime anyway? Heresy and Orthodoxy

The joke goes something like this: Two Old-Time oldtimers are taking their sweet old time on a morning constitutional through the sunny glades of Clifftop. They pass a tent with a...

Missouri Rules of Harmony?

For over 20 years I played guitar in the Hoover Uprights, with Bill Schmidt (fiddle), Dave Rice (harmonica), Kate Brett (banjo), and Kevin Enoch (bass, ukulele, or 2nd guitar). Since Kevin...

Larks and Ravens

I want to talk about Larks and Ravens. I know that there is lot confusion and controversy about the current push to switch to non-gendered terms. I know that a lot...