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...

Ola Belle’s Banjo: A Banjo Story with Cathy Fink

From the early 1980’s until her passing, my partner Marcy Marxer and I paid many a visit to Ola Belle Reed and her family. Each visit included Ola Belle’s soup and...

Can Old-Time Community Save the World?

The staff door popped open as I careened in to work two minutes late with bean skins still stuck in my unbrushed teeth from the drive-through burrito I’d gulped down in...

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...

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...

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,...

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...

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...

The Bones and Musical Repatriation

Dom Flemons, quoted frequently in last week’s article by Timothy Jones on rhythm bones and old-time music, here tells his story of discovering bones, and how he has integrated them into his...

First Annual Queer and Trans Oldtime Music Gathering: an interview

“A shared vision.” “Healing and transformative.” “Exceptional togetherness.” When Clive North and Willi Carlisle talk about the First Annual Queer and Trans Oldtime Music Gathering, it’s easy to see...