fbpx

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...
video

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,...

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...

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...

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,...

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 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...

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...

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...

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...