Memories of Clyde

I grew up listening to Clyde on the old LP's my dad got when he was working as a seasonal at Pickett State Parkin 1979 under Bobby Fulcher. The album was "Tough Mountain Music,"...

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 "the Black...

Antisocial Media

These 19th century cowboys dancing to fiddle tunes, posted to a Facebook group, is but the latest case in point. A kindly member of our oldtime community ran across the photograph, found it interesting,...

Finding My Tribe

Most of my life, I never felt like I had a tribe.   I was always an outlier. I was voted “Most Intellectual” in ninth grade in one of the worst schools in one of...

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 fiddle-and-bongo duo. “That...

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 stages of the Grassroots Festival in Trumansburg,...

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 and I both...

The Berlin Old-Time Scene: An Origin Myth

1. Sheriff Greyson in the Sandbox It was a typically overcast Berlin Saturday in late spring. The playground at Arkonaplatz was full of kids churning up the sand and swarming over the wooden fortifications like...

Fiddlin’: an interview with the makers

Fiddlin' (2019) is the first full-length documentary about one of the greatest oldtime festivals around: The Old Fiddler's Convention in Galax, Virginia. Directed and produced by two sisters local to the area, the film...

Myth and Reason in Oldtime

I have played old-time fiddle for a very long time. In 1970 when I was twenty years old I moved from an industrial city in northern New Jersey to an eighty-acre farm in the...