Monday, December 27, 2010

Cyril Stinnett just for fun

I have not posted anything on Cyril Stinnett for a while. I am over due. Cyril was a farmer in N.W. Missouri who could play the fiddle about as good as you can as far as I am concerned. He was said to practice endlessly.

He been gone for some time now. Thanks to folks who cared, we can see him play.

Prairie Acre doing "Chase the Banshee"

I had not posted about them for a bit. If you don't know, they are a Lawrence Ks area Old Time Band that I believe is my favorite. They do it and play it right IMHO. Nice folks too!

Big Sciota on flatpicked Guitar

This is from Randy Webb??? Not sure. From Webbfeets youtube site.

Since Jeremy Myers posted a fiddle version of this tune I thought this a good counterpoint in guitar. Nice job here. enjoy.

I will have to learn this one. BTW. Notice how he holds his pick? I could never do it that way. My hand is open like Doc Watson's cept I can't play near that good. Not even close

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

It always seems to come at me faster each year than the year before. It's now Christmas Eve in the afternoon. I have the chili simmering on the stove and the beer is out on the unheated front porch along with the Irish Creme Liqueur and the Wine. The presents are stacked in the corner and the wife is getting dressed for the company due in a couple hours.

I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas! I hope you take time to remember the real meaning of Christmas as well as enjoy the cultural traditions that make it so enjoyable for us.
I have Christmas music on the cable tv channel and it's warm inside the house. We had a light snow fall this morning but it's all melted now. At least I won't have to worry about the travel safety of my visitors.

I have taken note of a number of my favorite blogger becoming weary of blogging and for a time it happened to me a few weeks ago. I am happy to report that I think that has passed my by and I feel a sense of renewed purpose for the coming year.

I am grateful for all the new friends I have across the land because of this blog. I have not met you but wish I could and for many, perhaps I will someday. I hope so.

Old Time music is alive and well across the midwest. It's being kept alive by some of the nicest folks I have ever known.

Lets have a good 2011!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


In College we had a discussion in Philosophy class under Dr. Cochran as to whether beauty was objective or subjective.

I concluded that it was objective.

The search for beauty is indeed a noble quest and worthy of our efforts. It rewards us with yet more beauty and a deeper appreciation for it and the realization just how bad ugly really is.

Too often we live within a drab world and adjust to it and accept it. We often do not know better. It's all we know.

My New Years resolution is to turn my back on drab and embrace the beauty of this world. It can only make me better.

In practical terms this means for me...planting more flowers this coming spring. Playing more music. Listening to more music. Looking around the world for more positive developments and trying to let the negative drive me down as much as I have.

In music, I have always had a special love for especially melodic tunes. It's time I started playing more melodic tunes.

This year, I really want to learn "Quail is a pretty bird".
When I hear John Hartford play that I get ecstatic in a way I can't describe.

A second observation about beauty. I think it's best when it's "elegant" in it's simplicity. It's one of the reasons I much prefer Old Time over Bluegrass.

It's why I love Frank Llolyd Wright, Shaker style, Amish ways, Ozark and Appalachian ways, rural ways.

I just never had the thirst for "fancy".

I have always known that soon enough we are all going to die. No exceptions. In the end, all that you have labored for will pass to others and you will take none of it with you.

In religion, simplicity is best. Read "The Sermon on the Mount" again this year. Listen to our Lord's simple yet powerful message to you on how best to live. Listen to his words as a child and lay down your tortured concerns about esoteric theological questions.

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

As Christmas is fast approaching, I hope you have a Merry one. For many this is much harder than it might seem to others of you who have borne no sorrow or pain. Some are living with broken hearts that feel as if they will never heal.

Our loving Father is there for us all. No matter what your Christmas is like. Happy or sad. He is there.

Now go play

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Devil in the Haystack. Illinois tune.

Proof of the Devil in Old Time. It seems fiddlers play more tunes about the Devil than the Lord! What?! Why is that?

Old Time Christmas tunes

I discovered this last year. Not much out there that I know of for Christmas songs in the OT way. Don't you find this odd? Nor do you find much gospel in OT. Why? You would think you would find religious expression in this music but you really don't find that much.
How odd. Maybe fiddlers really were minions of Satan! LOL!

Flatpicked Guitar /Blackberry Blossom

To keep my own interest up, I am going to start doing more posts about the guitar than I have done in the past. Here is a nice clip of Blackberry Blossom that I enjoyed and thought you might to.

Last spring in Mountain View Arkansas

Here is a nice little clip of some fiddlers goin to it in Mountain View Arkansas at the spring festival. Jeremy Myers is one of the fiddlers. Don't know who the others are. Nice tune.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

One year of blogging OT

It's been a tad over one year blogging about Old Time Music in this part of the midwest. I am a tad under 10,000 views which seems to be a decent enough readership. I have really enjoyed doing this and yet increasingly the worries and concerns of everyday life grow more difficult and my enthusiasm for the fun things grow less important.

I have decided to keep doing the blog and I feel that in time my gloomy outlook will lift and will become more upbeat. The election cheered me up and a small glimmer of hope returned and the economy is kind of muddling along. Better than last year, so far.

I have seen a lot of activity out there and people and places I did not know about and I find that most encouraging. I mentioned this in my attempt at speaking about the state of OT here in the midwest. Things are alive and well.

My arm was badly injured this last spring and combined with a prexisting rotator cuff injury, playing my guitar became difficult beyond brief periods. It seems to be improving and I will be trying to play more. I just needed a vacation.

I still intend to return to my thread of "The state of OT".

Thank God for my wonderful loving wife who stands by me steadfastly.

Thanks to God for His everlasting amazing grace.

Thanks to kind folks like you for stopping by this humble blog. I appreciate your readership and take my responsibility to make it worth your time, seriously.

I was humbled by my attempt at doing a jam. I learned alot. About what? People, Jam mechanics and dynamics, a little about music.

Yes, myself too. Enthusiasm is not enough.

I still say, that we continue to suffer a huge hole in the culture with the loss of Mountain Music Shoppe. We miss you Jim Curley and your Mom and the employees. I find it sickening to see who has taken the place they had in Shawnee. Sad excuse for a music shop imho. Is there a commentary about our society in this? Yes.

If I had the money I would find a way to do concerts like they did somewhere in Shawnee or environs. Maybe someday.

Well, I have to end this and get up and clean house and get some prep going for this weekends festivities. Take care.

Monday, December 13, 2010

OT Music Gatherings List Added

Watching that fiddler in the last clip posted perked me up some. I sure needed that.
In discovering the clip I discovered the Big Yam Potatoes Old Time Music gathering in Mississippi and realized that this blog was missing a vital element. A list of Old Time Music gatherings. Henceforth, I will now add this feature. A new list will appear on the right.

Breaking up Christmas

NOW this fiddler flat tears it up buddy!!!!

Performed at the Big Yam Potato's Old Time Music gathering at Jefferson College in Washington Mississippi. The players are, Valley McGee on Bass, Buzz Sibley on Banjo, Jack McGee on Fiddle (WOW) and Buddy McClure on Guitar.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hal Sappington, fiddler, plays "South Missouri"

I did not know about Mr. Sappington but here he is doing a nice job playing "South Missouri"
Where: Johnson County Mo. Warrensburg

Down Home Rag

One of the former jammers at my old jam is playing in this next clip.

I have got to start traveling....

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pause for friends

Friends of mine had a tragic loss in the family today and I am behind posting the follow up to the previous post.

The death of a young person is a terrible thing and the pain to the family is beyond description.

So, be patient. I will continue in a day or two.

Please wear your seat belts and wear them properly. Don't neglect to use the shoulder harness. It matters.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The State of Old Time Music in the Midwest

This blog is approaching it's one year anniversary and it seems appropriate to address the past year in what I have found out there and what kind of state the music scene is in these days.

I want to provide a kind of a summary of what and who is out there to help you plug into this broad "community" of Old Time music folk.

My goal for this blog was always to be a resource for others in this area of the midwest. That goal remains my primary motivation. I can provide no great expertise in musicianship nor can I claim to be a trained musicologist in this area.
I am a simple man who likes to (try) to play this music, I buy this music and I occasionally attend performances of this music. I listen to this music a great deal but not exclusively.

So my point of view is that of an enthusiastic consumer and participant. An eyewitness to what I find. Nothing more or less. There are others nearby that know a great deal more but they have not stepped forward to provide this service for the midwest.

Most others are more broadly based and not limited to the midwest. Some focus on an instrument. Some on a tradition or geographic area.
I am trying to bring this all together for you so it becomes a handy resource. I am still hoping to reorganize this blog better with more pages available and I need to spend the time to do that.

So having said all that here is my summary of resources and people out there that you should know about. It's not an exhaustive list but certainly a good starting point for you.


If your interested in learning about Fiddling and it's history in Missouri and the Missouri Valley (includes Neb and Mo and Iowa.) then the starting place is Charlie "Possum" Walden and his websites. Charlie has done a wonderful job of preserving the history of the tunes and fiddlers in our area. He deserves high praise and accolades for his efforts. There is no other place with so much information that I know of concerning fiddling in Missouri on the web.
Charlie is himself a particularly fine fiddler and has several recording which are well worth your owning. My own personal goal is to have each and every one of his albums eventually.
Charlie knows what he is talking about because he was born and raised in Missouri and learned his fiddling there. He personally knew and played with many of the fine old fiddlers of the past and competed in many fiddling contests in the past throughout Missouri. Unfortunately for us, he no longer lives in Missouri and seeing him play live is a rare treat for those who can attend certain festivals he attends each year. None of those are in Missouri.
Here are his websites. Do yourself a favor and drink deeply. The first website is called Missouri Fiddling Dot Com.
This should be your starting point for discovery. Recently he has updated the site and it looks even better than before.
An easily found link is found there of his Blog Missouri Fiddling Blog
If your a Facebook person, Charlie can be found on Facebook as well.!/profile.php?id=1129066495
Another easily found link there is to his Missouri Fiddling Traditions pages
If you have not heard "Possum" play, here is a great example. Perhaps my favorite clip of him playing.

Your next stop should be Banjo Billy Matthews. Banjo Billy is from the Northern Arkansas Southern Missouri area and has been at it since the late sixties or early seventies. A transplant from Colorado, he came to Arkansas as a kind of back to the lander and integrated himself into Ozark society and culture. He took up the fiddle and banjo has become one of the more important musicians that are preserving the old fiddle tunes as found in the Ozarks. It is a genuine treat to be able to attend a Banjo Billy concert. Especially if Colin Blair is sitting in like in this clip.

I will never forget that concert with Colin Blair and Banjo Billy at the old Mountain Music Shoppe in Shawnee ks several years ago.
Banjo Billy is an important living link to the living past that you need to check out for yourself. His recordings are like Moonshine right out of the still. It's potent stuff. No filters. It's the hard stuff uncut.

Gordon McCann is the one we all owe the most to when it comes to preservation of the Old Time Music as found in the Ozarks of Missouri. He spent decades recording fiddlers throughout Missouri and Arkansas.
To add to this, he played backup guitar with Art Galbraith for many years and is himself a particularly fine example of a back up.
I have been told by those who know that his style is a bit unusual and maybe so. In any case it is my favorite style. I will also add that he plays a really nice old triple ought Martin.
We get to enjoy the fruits of his labor through several recordings available to us today. The most important is the Rounder three disk series, "Traditional Fiddle Music of the Ozarks". This is a must have for fiddle music aficionados.

Gordon McCann also is responsible for helping preserve the recordings of Lonnie Robertson which are also still available. One at least. Lonnies Breakdown.

A good article from the Musical Traditions magazine website from Great Britain, is found here. This is about three recordings by Lonnie Robertson, Fred Stoneking and Cyril Stinnett. They are helpful reviews well worth reading. There is a link to a nice article by Fred Stoneking himself with his reminiscences of Fiddling.

This is probably as good a place as any to mention the Musical Traditions website of Great Britain which has lots of good old timey info.
Only a small part of the data there is about Missouri or Ozark or Arkansas Old Time but what is there is good stuff. That's why it gets included here.

This will have to be a multi part posting as I am getting this done in slow motion and I feel I should post something soon.

I will expand on this for the next post. Stand by for part two. I expect several parts if I remain true to the inspiration I received.

Part two will focus on certain musicians and their links and info. I have posted about all of these folks previously and most of the info is already here if you dig into it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I wish to extend a Happy Thankgiving to all of you readers of this humble blog no matter where you are. Times are hard and hard things are happening but I can still say I have much to be thankful for. Who knows what next year will be in light of what has happened? It could get even worse. Still, I am thankful for what I have.
I will enjoy gathering around the table with family to enjoy a wonderful meal.
I hope you will find yourself with family as well or what serves as family and that your day will be a pleasant one.
I hope to begin blogging again later this weekend.
Thanks for coming here. I hope I have provided something good for you worth reading.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Slow blogging

I apologize for the slow blogging these days. My heart is just not in it at this moment in time. These spells seem to be getting longer in duration. I hope to return to posting pretty soon. I have the idea that a little retrenching into the core material would be called for. I have an idea for a post that is a kind of summation of what's out there for us here in the midwest. I will probably do that later this week. Sorry for the navel contemplation.

Meanwhile, it's time for one last cup of coffee and then off to finish my project.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Shape note singing for the soul

I'm going through a time when I see the need to be close to our Lord. Times are hard and I can feel Gods comforting presence more and more. I thought it would be good to hear some real old timey Shape note singing for this blog. It has a message from the past to you today if you can hear it.
The people who sang this was were people who lost babies routinely, were devastated by drought and crop failure and had no safety net to catch them.
So they learned to lean on the Lord. Just like me. I hope like you too. The Lord is a loving Father who is there for you. No matter what.
Enjoy these selections




Saturday, November 13, 2010

Standing in history and streams of consciousness

Forgive me this liberty to ramble a bit. I would like to offer a few meditations with a "slightly" broader perspective. Somehow I will relate this to music. Old Time music. Today I took my aging Pointer on her final hunt for the wiley Quail in N.E. Kansas. Coincidentally, this favored spot I return to again and again is located on the Oregon/California Trail in Nemaha County, NW of Seneca.
This branch of the trail was used during the Gold Rush phase in 49 and begins in St Joe Mo and extends to Marysville Ks.
I actually trod over ruts that remain from those wagons trudging up a hill and then eroding a permanent print upon the land. The Quail I shot was just a few feet from these ruts.
I know that out of the thousands of Argonauts that passed that way, a few of them had fiddles. It would be the lucky "train" that had a fiddler to entertain them on this long long journey. I actually do know that fiddles were present and you should not be surprised to know that we still play some of the same tunes they played then.
You might be amazed to learn that nearly everyone walked the whole distance. Only the most infirm elderly folks rode. Even very young children walked.
These folk were hardy. Much more so than us. They had a patience we lack.
We are piled on with distractions to a degree that it's a wonder we accomplish anything at all. Like learning new songs and how to play that instrument you bought or the new one sitting in your corner waiting for your attention. The old folks had only the basic concerns, like food, shelter. Us? Ipods, brainy cell phones that allow you to interact with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter.
If that's not enough, the TV, Computer, video games, world news,politics and pending economic disaster and collapse compete with draining the last drop of blood from your soul.
Listen to the old folks who were more in tune (horrible pun) with life in the nitty gritty. Find out what's really important. I mean really important and act it.Cast off these impediments to your life and embrace the real.
I listened to Lonnie Robertson on the way out of town this morning and every time I hear him I am reminded how much I really really enjoy his playing.
Then I listened to the "Old and in the Way" Cd and their versions of the old Stanley Brothers 'hits' from the past.
Music really is a balm to the soul.
I knew I would end up taking a couple days to work this thread out here.
To further elaborate, I am talking about resuming some pattern of simplicity in our lives in a manner not unlike what our ancestors had.
The benefits are that we will provide a much clearer focus to the things we love and cherish. Like our music. Our families. Our faith. Our conscience.
When I pick up my guitar I have to fight the barrage of worry and concern that my experience in this world evokes. Hence, getting into it is hard and getting harder.
I have always had a tremendous sympathy with the Amish/Mennonites way. I just thought they took it too far and was too severe. At this point in my life I am re-evaluating that. The self imposed limitations of a simple life reap benefits that might be worth that but I am still not ready to go that far.
One big step I took was to find complete satisfaction in what I had for musical instruments. I had pushed hard and got my 'good' Martin guitar bought at some sacrifice and also got my backup rosewood dred bought too.
I used to have constant gas for other new "killer" guitars as well but I got over that.
I am lucky to have what I have and enjoy it a great deal. I am still not worthy of my Martin but in another year or two I think I will be.
I will just not give up on my learning the guitar. Yes,I know I have a long way to go. I am long long past the early days of the neophytes enthusiasm.
I don't post many long winded things like this. I hope I did not waste your time here. Kind of a ramble huh?
Oh yes! Time to reread Zen Guitar. Good book I recommend highly. Good ideas.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

There is more out there than you or me know

I am always amazed at the new players and folks I discover out there in this region of Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas and Nebraska and Iowa. There are a lot more folks out there playing this Old Time Music than we can see. The well is deeper than we think but admittedly we are scattered around some.
I hope you continue to share this journey of discovery with me some more. I know I am hooked. I hope you have learned some things you did not know before. I know I have.

"Sprout Wings and Fly" movie clip

I don't think I posted this before but if I did you probably don't remember anyway.
I love Tommy Jerrell. A lot.

I don't know if this movie is still available. Anyone know?

Who is Kathy Summers?

Dunno but she can play the fiddle.

Missouri State Fiddling Championships 2009

Junior Marriott Beats Prozac

I was having a bad day today. Just one of those days where you feel like your scrapping bottom and you lost the map to the ladder.
This evening I was checking in on Facebook and Fiddlin Arkansas posted a clip on Junior Marriott.
Honestly, I had failed to listen to him before and it was like shot of prozac when I heard him play. Seemingly effortless and smooth. Soothing to the soul. I know he has no idea how medicinal his playing can be.

Take a shot for your self.

This last one is a bit short. Too bad

I believe he is an Arkansawyer. I really don't know enough about him. Yet.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Interesting Radio program here in KC metro

I just caught an interesting radio program that's on Saturday mornings at 10 am. on KCXL. Believers and Bluegrass. Today they had a square dance caller join them while fiddle tunes were played. Benny Martin was the fiddler on many of the tunes but these tunes were more generally true to Old Time than Bluegrass. Certainly some had a Bluegrass tinge but not so much.
Check it out. I will try to make it my habit to listen in every Saturday.
The host is strictly old school rural Missouri which in my humble opinion makes it all the more interesting.
We just don't have any Bluegrass on the Radio channels here locally as far as I know. I will have to research this some more. At least there is an hours worth on Saturdays. Give this a listen.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tim Eriksen, Yankee Fiddler

I love it when I stumble onto someone new who is so good. I love his singing. I love his fiddling style. Powerful in it's simplicity. Elegance.
Here are some selections of his playing for your edification and amusement. Folks often assume that your talking the Appalachians or the Ozarks when you talk fiddling but as many of you know, there is a northern fiddling tradition as found in New England and Canada.
Mr. Eriksen is a fine example of our Yankee bretheren. I was not aware of him but he has been around and that significantly. Played on the "Cold Mountain" soundtrack and with many famous musicians. Where have I been?!
He rates one of my exceptions for being non-Ozarkian/Missourian/Akansawyer and is going on my links list as well as favorites list. His fiddling combined with his singing is fantastic.
He is a great example of how the fiddle and that kind of singing is a kind of "wayback" machine for me. It sends me to another place long past.
I think I have previously mentioned Nickolai Fox did a wonderful documentary on a group of New England fiddlers called "Music for the Sky" (caveat here is the musicians were playing southern style)
On his YouTube page, he mentions Doc Watson influenced him. Nothing wrong with that!

This tune below, is a New England tune

You can find Tim on YouTube or on his website.

Walking in the garden

When I was a child in Illinois and attending Lutheran Church services and watching tv on Sundays, I would hear what became a favorite hymn. In the Garden is still my favorite.
If you know the song you will understand me when I share that I had one of those golden moments this morning when in warms rays of fall sunshine I yet again felt the loving presence of a loving God who walks with me and he talks to me and he tells me I am his own.
When I was young there were many unfortunate voices warning of God's wrath and judgment and of dark destinies of hell and damnation.
Now I know God is far more loving and forgiving than all that and my fears relieved.
I said this to explain, that as I was searching YouTube for "In the Garden" I fell upon this clip which I liked and lot and wanted to share with you my friends.
God bless you all today and please enjoy this tune.

The fiddler is Tim Eriksen. Perhaps more on him later. Maybe today.

Monday, October 25, 2010

John Hartford toward the end

Here is John Hartford playing "Squirrel Hunters". He has his band with him, of really great musicians. Chris Sharp on the guitar dressed like Lester Flatt in the forties, Mike Compton, on the Mandolin, Mark Schatz on the Bass.

This was in 1998. John lived a couple/three more years but you can see that the disease had been taking it's toll on him. Most folks would have hit the couch and stayed there but music was his genuine passion and he loved to play for people. I believe he felt he was doing something important in keeping the fire burning. I agree that it was. And is.

Are you keeping the fire burning my friend? Is the fire in you and it has to come out? I believe John knew just how delicate the old music is, in hanging on in a culture like ours.

Music is a lot like Church. It really is. And like Church, there is a kind of succession of Bishops that really seems to matter. (Google that term if your not sure what it means)
John learned it from the old Missouri fiddlers and Banjo players. They were the real deal. In time so was he. They passed it on to him and it stuck. He was playing his heart out to pass it on to us. Will it stick?

I was late coming to the John Hartford appreciation society but the impression was made deep. Like a brand on my heart.

Bill Crahan once told me that he was not sure yet if I was a "musical person" while I was taking a lesson from him. I was a little shook over that. I knew I was not a "natural" by any means and if he decided I was not such a one, I thought he might give up on me like my first instructor did. (who's name is not worthy to mention)

I may not be a "Musical person" like Bill was looking for. I am not sure. I do know I love the music and I enjoy playing it but my laziness is holding me back from doing that well. I do know one thing. The fire is in me. That's why I write this blog. It's why I want you to know about the wonderful musicians I discover. It's why I hope you stick with that instrument your trying to play so you too might become a fine musician someday.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Reflections on Mike Seeger and playing

Just a thought here but I think you will appreciate this. There is a point when a person along his musical journey to discover this Old Time music, that you become more than an imitator. You become the real deal. You become the authentic. Your the one who is now channeling that thing you found in the old timers from the back woods. Now it's you.

Look at Mike Seeger when he was playing. He went from being a city boy in search of the real deal to becoming the real deal. The very embodiment. A musical incarnation.

It will happen to you too if you keep at it long enough. Someday someone will drive four hours to sit in a jam your playing at and will talk about it to others later. Imagine that!?

Simeon Magby

Simeon Magby is a North Arkansas fiddler who some years ago put out a CD. On that performance he had a Banjo player (woman). She was GOOOOOD. Anyone know her name?

Please tell me! Someone!?

The Cuckoo

I got fired up watching Mike Seeger and am posted this one of them playing "The Cuckoo". I love that song.

And I love me some Doc and Seeger.


Clawhammer Banjo is my favorite

I picked out the following clips to illustrate my favorite banjo style. Call it "Clawhammer" or "Frailing" or any one of similar descriptive names, it's the quintessential banjo style for Old Time.

I won't go into the history of the banjo or of the Bluegrass three finger style championed by Earl Scruggs or Reno.

Suffice it to say, there are many styles of banjo playing and "clawhammer" is what your going to hear in Old Time jams and festivals.

For me, this style speaks to me in the same way a fiddle played in the old Ozark way does. It plucks a chord within me not touched by anything else and it leaves me wanting more.

Bill Monroe used to talk about those "ancient tones". This is what I am speaking about too. Or to get more high falutin, and recall my Jungian framework, "Primal Archetypes". These things are often hard to put your finger on but when you encounter them YOU KNOW.

Clawhammer makes me have one of those YOU KNOW moments as does the Ozark Fiddle.
It's like you've heard it before in the way you remember hearing your Mother call "Supper time!" when you were a kid. It's a call home ET moment. You feel like your being called home but you can't really say you've been there before.

Jung calls this a phenomena of Archetypes that fit those deep places within in that are magically filled by these expressions.
I think this is why so many of us respond to a most non-commercial musical expression. We don't care that the vast crowds are not hearkening to this sound. It's irrelevant to us. We just HAVE to have it. So much so, that most of us will take up an instrument and try to learn to play just to scratch that itch within us. Many or most will never really get good at it either but we won't mind so much. We just HAVE to do it.

For me, it started when I first heard Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys. I soon bought my first album and I was hooked.

Then came others.

And the more I learned, the more I gravitated to Old Time. As Bluegrass got more commercial and "Pop", I went in the other direction and went to Old Time and more specifically, Ozark Old Time. I have of course expanded that in recent years.

I kind of got off the track on the idea of this post which was how much I like Clawhammer banjo. enjoy these clips. No specific connection to Kansas or Missouri. Just good playing I found.



God, I miss Mike Seeger. The more I go on the more I am pulled towards his work. I just miss him terrible and wish I had the chance to meet him. Maybe I will get to later on down the path. Who knows what that great end will really be like but I can hope.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Playing and injuries update

Some of you know that I have been out of regular work for two years now. Because of that I do not have health insurance. I only go to the Doctor when I think I might die or nearly so. I have had to depend on my abilities as a former Army Medic to nurse myself along.

I injured my arm this spring pulling at a board in an attempt to remove it from a rotten roof. I seriously sprained/strained it and after a week off for recovery, resumed the project. I probably tore my tendon. I have gotten by pretty well with it over the months and doing my share of heavy lifting with no problem.

Along the way it became clear that playing for extended periods, like at a jam was not feasible as my arm would become sore and weak. In fact, my arm has been bothering me more as I play so I find myself playing for short periods.

Oddly, I keep experiencing the phenomena of playing well when I return to play in spite of less frequency of practice. This does not make sense to me as high levels of practice "should" result in better playing. Usually it does but for me, not always. You would think less practice would mean less skill in your playing but it seems not to be always so.

Still, consistent practice seems to be best over the long haul. It's just getting harder with this injury. I hate getting old for the creaky aches and pains and loss of resiliency.

You really have to be careful when you try to play with an injury. You never want to stress the injured part. Ever. This will only hinder the healing. All this talk about pushing past the pain only applies to Navy Seals. Not you and me.

Over the years I have read some good advice. One is keep your hands relaxed. I have tried to incorporate that more and more and that seems to help. Locking your arm and hands in muscular tension hinders your ability to move smoothly and stresses your muscles in a negative way.

I have often wondered how I would handle an injury that eliminated my ability to play this guitar. That would be a devastating blow to me, even if I can't play all that well. I do have enough moments of playing well in my practice periods that I find myself pleased as punch that I have stuck with this.

If you have been fortunate enough to avoid an injury that affects your ability to play, then count your blessings and hope that you never have it befall you. My resolutions to woodshed just get frustrated with the reality of my injury and it's demands on me.

I failed to mention that this is my right arm which is injured. IMHO, the right arm/hand is the real battleground in your learning experience in the quest to play well.

It's frustrating. I really need to have this seen but I am waiting for a bureaucrat to approve me for benefits. Yeah, gotta love the bureaucrats.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Jam session worth sharing

I got this from "Fiddlin Arkansas"'s Facebook page and youtube. The fiddler is Matt Hartz, the guitar players are Joey McKinzie and Junior Marriot.
This is well done fiddlin. Don't miss watching this one.

This was down in Oklahoma at the fiddling championships there. Thanks to "Fiddlin Arkansas" for the clip.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What Makes Kansas Unique in OT

I am not a purist when it comes to Old Time. Most are not. In Kansas, Old Time music can include this strain of the pioneer era and is just as valid as other tunes and types we all think of in Old Time.

I have really been remiss in posting about this kind of Old Time. I have always meant to include it. It's part of the flavor of Old Time in Kansas. Well established OT bands such as The Alferd Packerd Memorial String Band plays on this tradition successfully.

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in "Cowboy" music and one notable Bluegrass Band, "Bluestem" converted to that genre. (all bands being mentioned are local/Lawrence bands)

This blends in with Appalachian/Ozark music very well. It's what makes Kansas different

Here are some nice selections of that Kansas music. "Home on the Range" was written in a dug out/sod house in north central Kansas. You can still visit the spot. The song is really pretty nice and makes a good campfire or front porch tune around early evening when the coffee and apple pie are finished.

We don't have the big hills of the Ozarks nor the Mountains of the Appalacians. We have the big sky of the prairie with endless vistas of green in the spring and it's not all flat. We do have the Gyp hills of south central Kansas or the Flint Hills of eastern Kansas and don't forget the Smokey Hills of northern Kansas. They all move you to marvel at their beauty.

When your there, you just feel natural to sing and play a song like "Home on the Range". And it is my home. I may have to reside in the Big City but I can escape from time to time and soak up that old range.

Here is a real nice song by Dan Reeder with a nice video to watch along with. Call's it, "The Cowboy Song"

Jimmy Driftwood wrote a really good Cowboy song that does not get enough play these days. Please give it a listen. You would think it was an authentic old tune. He captured the time well.

Kansas is perhaps about as authentically "Cowboy" as it gets. The real cowboys still ply their trade here and the history of the trail head towns are where the legend came into it's own. Dodge City, Abilene, are two well known names that conjure up primal images of rowdy young lads strutting the mud streets in search of liquor, lust and fun.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Art of the Irish Fiddle concert

This event news via Missouri Valley Folklife Society.

The Missouri Valley Folklife Society and the Irish Museum and Cultural Center would like to invite you to join us for an evening of true entertainment. Deemed "a rare beast, a master of both the fiddle and the guitar" by the Cork Examiner of Ireland, Randal Bays accompanied by Davey Mathias will surely not disappoint.

Randal Bays and Davey Mathias The Art of the Irish Fiddle
Friday, October 22

Irish Museum and Cultural Center
Union Station, lower level, west wing
Free Parking (we will stamp your ticket)

Tickets are:
$20 for the general public
$15 for MVFS members
$10 for members of the Irish music community of the KC area.

for tickets and more information call 913-205-8798 or contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

I know a couple of you that will be interested. If I am flush I might just go myself.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Shenandoah by Connie Dover

Shenandoah clearly qualifies as "Old Timey". Just not a fiddle tune. But old. It's one of my favorite tunes. One of the first I could play on the guitar and I still love to play it simple.
The song moves me like few others and I can't explain it. I get tearful hearing it sometimes and I don't know why. My heart is just moved by those ancient tones that seems to cause it to tremble and my eyes water. I just don't understand it's power over me that way but then I quit over analyzing long ago.

This version is from Connie Dover who is a wonder and a jewel from KC. I think she still lives here but I am not certain. She sings like an angel and I need to see her live someday soon.

Go visit her website and learn more. In the meanwhile, enjoy this traditional song done superbly. Don't be surprised if it tears you up...but maybe it's just me...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Woodshedding progress

Since I perked up musically, and restarted my moribund musical journey I have also been a bit daunted by the enormity of the task at hand. I have to start learning my scales. I have to start learning by ear. I have to start digging into music theory in a more serious way. Hey! That's real work!

I have some aids and instruction books to help me and they seem to be very good ones at that.

I am also practicing more often but perhaps not as long due to my arm injury. This has caused me to recall everything I have ever read on the forums I have been a part of and from all the magazine articles I have read all these years. I recalled that keeping your arms and hands relaxed is most helpful. I have found this to be true.

Not playing too long helps. Never push through pain. That is garbage advice unless your a drill Sargent who is trying to prepare young soldiers to charge into the jaws of death!

The light is coming on about keys and capos and scales so progress is being made.

Now if I could only just sing passable. I am finding it hard to sing and play at the same time. Sigh....

I am sticking with the guitar exclusively. I just think I have waited too late to try the fiddle. I need more competency on the instrument I do play before thinking of adding another. If I ever add one, and I might. It would be the Banjo. I love clawhammer banjo and might give it a go.

This is what I see as the "strength" of this blog. At least from my point of view. I am a learner. Not so much a beginner but a learner. Much like many of you. I am trying to learn how to play this guitar I have upstairs. I love old timey music. I love to hear it and I like playing it. I am not an old hand like some are.

You know what? I am gonna end this post and go play right now.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Alita Stoneking

She is Fred Stoneking's daughter.! She does a great job in this contest. I think I have posted this clip before. Sorry for the repeat but I was thinking of her and look forward to the day I get to see her play live.
She is carrying on the tradition and doing it up right.

Take note that this is Missouri fiddling. Different than Appalachian. I am not expert enough to explain the differences but I can tell that it's different. Charlie Walden could explain it better so go visit his site for that. (See my links)

I do know that she is getting out there and is playing. I just don't know where. I will have to work on that.

And she is versatile. Plays guitar here

That's Tom Weisgerber on the fiddle and that lad can fiddle.

Computers been down

Just to let you know. My Computer has been down. Miraculously, it began working fine today. I nearly spent $100 on diagnosis but the counter guy suggested a self repair which upon booting up, noticed all was well. At least so far!

I hope to resume posting again tonight or tomorrow.

I will say that I am feeling more positive about ending the Jam. I really need to woodshed up and focus on learning music theory and such. I have said this before but I have become less depressed about the failure of the jam to thrive over the long term.

This means, more new jams to visit and discover. See you later.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Colin Blair

I have not had a post specifically about Colin Blair but I have posted a clip or two of him playing. I saw him play with Banjo Billy Matthews at the old Mountain Music
Shoppe in Shawnee back in 07. They often play together.

I won't go into him too much right now as I must get out the door. I have not posted for a week now so I wanted to do something before I let this go too long.

Colin Blair is based in St Louis. Lucky them! Because St Louis is about three hours away I have not put much of a spotlight on them over there but I plan to change that some in the future.

Here is Colin Blair playing the fiddle. I love the piece.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Shawnee Jam comes to an end

After consulting with Martin, I concluded that it was time to bring the jam to an end. I am glad I tried it and we did have some really good sessions but in the end, I am just not as good a player as I need to be to run a jam. Attendance just kept petering out and clearly it was just not what it needed to be.

I will miss it and I am very glad to have met some many folks who I would not have met otherwise. I know we will bump into each other at other jams and events.

Yeah, it's sad for me. As I have said recently,my interest is renewed towards learning and playing and it is probably time to woodshed for a while.

Maybe I will try it again next year? Who knows? Or a different group will start a new jam? I will be off to Jackson Co. to check out some Bluegrass jams over there and maybe even to Lawrence.

If you came to the jam, thanks for coming. See you around? OK?

Oh, not to forget, Martin has started a jam in Kearney Mo. and I will certainly be visiting that. I don't know if he has it on folkjam but will post info about it here later.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Saturday Jam Status

Seeing that I have a class to sit in all day Saturday I am calling off the Jam for Saturday evening. My arm is not doing well either. Sorry about that. I am trying to decide if I even need to keep trying to keep the jam going to tell the truth. It is doing me a lot of good but attendance is way down. Summer? Maybe. I will try to do the next one in October.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Welcome new followers

I see a few more followers have been added recently and I welcome them. It's nice to see people interested in this blog.

The strength of this blog in my opinion is the collection of info in one place that can save you a lot of trouble in trying to find it for yourself.

I feel pretty good about what I been able to do with this blog and hope to improve the quality of the material over time.


If your going to Winfield this year check their website because they have changed the land rush day to Saturday. There are heavy rains there and flooding is a worry. Yes, again! I won't be going this year but hope to next year. I am ready for another Winfield fix. If you have not gone yet, GO! Trust me. You really cannot pass up Winfield for a quality music experience along with that incomparable Winfield "community feeling". Take your instruments but finding a jam cold is not as easy as has been suggested. If you have a bold personality you can but if your timid you will have some trouble. Unless it's after hours in the Pecan Grove and you join a roving jam.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Serendipity of Playing Old Time

I don't know if you can practice enough. I know I need to step it up. I don't practice enough. Do you ever?
It's a relief to be pulling out of this slump!
I used to play at least an hour a day. Now I have been too hit and miss with more miss than hit. Sound familiar?

Progress is so slow your efforts are not always self reinforcing enough to reward your efforts. Still, on occasion you can find yourself making real progress and that gratifies.

The Jam has really helped me but I need to step it up apart from jamming. I will repeat a truth that has been confirmed to me out of this experience. Jamming is vital to your progress in learning to play. You will not progress in as good a way until you play with others.

I have said this before, I know but some time ago.

This blog is about Old Time Music as appreciated by an enthusiast who is learning to play. I am not a skilled musician or have played for thirty years nor have I been a part of any special group of enlightened aficionado's. I just love the music and I love the guitar. I am much like many of you. I am the guy that attends concerts and dances and buys the CD's and MP-3's. I write a blog about what has become a great blessing to me.

It's just that simple. The so called experts around KC have not risen to this task so I thought I would try. It's about my journey and what I can find on the web and other places. It's about the really fine people I meet and who helps me along the path to deeper enjoyment. When I find something I like to share it. On occasion I find the so called "experts" might just have it wrong and my own experience is validated in another direction. Just get me started on getting an instrument that fits your hands and body ergonomically.....

Maybe in the fullness in time I will aquire some "expertise". About the time I die perhaps seeing that I am soon to turn 60. Jeez!

If your reading this and you have always wanted to learn to play an instrument...I say, DO IT! Go ahead and no matter your age, get that instrument and find a teacher and go at it! In some ways it's easier, some ways harder. It's worth it.

It was during another period of unemployment that found me driving past Mountain Music Shoppe in Shawnee Ks and having the light go on. I walked into the shop and saw the guitar and I answered the call right there. My life was changed that day.
Your can change too. If your getting called to play...answer.

More Ozarks Watch tv

Here is another excellent program from the Ozarks Watch TV program. This is a don't miss.

Watch the full episode. See more OzarksWatch Video Magazine.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

More Jam sessions and such in Missouri

Here is a very nice program as seen on Ozarks Watch Video Magazine on Ozark Public TV.


Watch the full episode. See more OzarksWatch Video Magazine.

Gordon McCann is interviewed at the beginning. That alone is not to be missed. Gordon is my hero and I am not embarrassed to say so. God bless him for what he has done to preserve our beloved Ozarks music. Between him and Charlie Walden, we know a great deal about Missouri and Arkansas Fiddlers and music. Not to exclude any others. Howard Marshall, John Hartford and others not yet named have all had a part in the task of keeping the fire burning.

Flatpicking guitar tab and song resource

Here is a great resource for you guitar players out there. Especially if your like me and very much a learner. Kim Davis and Mike Stangeland have a site with loads of excellent guitar tab with chords in tabledit format. This allows you to practice along with the music at a tempo you choose. I really like this feature for practicing guitar back up/rhythm.

Interestingly, these two folks travel full time in a large Winnebago type camper. They post some interesting blog entries and photos of their journeys.

Oh yes! Free! This is not a commercial site.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Branson Fiddle Festival coming this weekend

August 27 – 29, 2010, Branson, Missouri. The 22nd Annual Downtown Branson Fiddle Festival & Mid-American Fiddlers Championship. Contest preliminaries begin at 10:00 a.m. and end at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 28th. The Finals begin at 12:00 noon and end at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 29th. Location: On the Banks of Lake Taneycomo at the Branson Landing. Six divisions: Pee Wee (9 and younger); Junior (10 thru 16); Senior (60 and older); Cross Tuning (Unique to our area); Seconding (Guitar/Bass accompaniment); Open (any age). There is no charge to enter the contest. All winners (except the Cross Tuning and Seconding) will compete on Sunday. for the Grand Prize Title. Total prize money is over $5000. There will be several fiddle events in the Historic Downtown area . The contest is free to the public. Contact the DBMA at 417-334-1548 or Bill Lennon, 417-337-7468

More Jeremy Myers

Doc Brown's Dream

More McClurg

Ashley Hull and Jeremy Myers playing at McClurg. Old Bob Holt is gone but his music lives on.

It's in good hands too

CBS and Harry Smith on the McClurg Jam

That's old Bob Holt on the fiddle. I thought I saw Ashley Hull too. Jeremy Myers plays there these days and helps keep the fire burning. One of these days I will sit in that circle and play too. Where is this you ask? McClurg Missouri, a small bump in the road in Southern Missouri west of Ava and really in the sticks. God's country. I used to Coon hunt not so far away back in the day. Got some too. Went out with the Parmenter brothers.
One time we were in a small hollow and the coyotes were mad that we were there and put up a fuss like you won't believe, all around us. Kind of spooky. Put us all on edge.
I sure wish it was not so far away. I lived in Norwood those days and had no idea what I was missing in Bob Holt just a bit south of me. I kick myself for being unaware of the music around me then.
Elmer Shudy did take me to shape note singing in a small church several miles south of Norwood. I wish I had done more of it. All my days there were in the late 70's. After that it was off to Kansas City.

Leonard Smith, Missouri One Armed Fiddler

Born in Arkansas and moved to Missouri. Passed in 2000. Missing an arm due to a gun handling accident.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Just like when I lived in the Ozarks and attended the annual Revival at the Baptist Church,so also did the Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championship revive my musical spirits. It's fun to play again and my interest is generally revived in learning new stuff.

I bought a new learning book at the event to help me a bit on theory and playing without all those tab books. I will do a review of this later after I work with it a bit. I bought this from a fellow I met at Stringband Rendezvous's saturday morning jam. He came up with an idea he calls, "Fretboard Toolbox".

It looks interesting so I went for it.
I still want to get Martha Haehl's "Play well with others". This is another jam aid.
Update: I bought the "Chord Wheel" today. Circle of fifths thing. It will be my new jam crutch along with the Fretboard Toolbox.
I will try to get "Play well with others" soon.

I believe I am ready now. That is always the "key" isn't it. Pun? yes!

Wish me well.

I have no financial interest in anyone or anything.

Monday, August 23, 2010

New blog found

I am adding this blog to my links list. It looks like a nice blog. Check it out.

Not very many entries. What I do see is good. Hopefully he will write more.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Kansas Fiddling and Picking continued

I also want to point out that some real fine bands played at the event today. The Alferd Packer Memorial String Band, The Midday Ramblers, Josh Hungate, High Falutin' String Band played amidst all this contest activity.

I only caught High Falutin' String Band. I heard part of Josh Hungate. I enjoyed both bands. High Falutin' is a bit eclectic. They played two gypsy tunes as well as OT and Bluegrass. My first impression is that they are kind of typical for an accoustic BG OT kind of band in this area. They use humor and an eclectic playlists to keep the crowd entertained. I enjoyed them.

I would have liked to see The Middday Ramblers as they are one of my favorites but could not leave the Youth Fiddling contest.

I enjoy the Alferd Packer Memorial String Band but was too pooped out and had an hour drive ahead so I passed and left.

Again, it had lots of great music for all who came. Just very well done. Great atmosphere and I always enjoy people watching when I am in Lawrence and this event did not disappoint.

30th Annual Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championships


Today's contests at the annual Fiddling and Picking Championships were great. I attended the Banjo, Guitar flatpicking, Mandolin (part of), Fiddle and missed the fingerstyle.

The weather was not that hot and sitting in the shade with the breeze lightly blowing was not all that bad. While there was a snow cone vendor, there was no ice cream vendor which was a shame. The food was pretty good from the vendors and there was a decent selection. I had the Reuben sandwich and it was pretty good.

I will take a small cooler next time with cold drinks. I will also take my big golf umbrella for shade when the shade moves away from me.

Let me make the following comments about the contests as far as general impressions.
1. Banjo: Pretty good players of differing styles. A real good mix and I enjoyed them all. My favorite player was Noah Musser who plays with The Prairie Acre. A particularly fine performance of clawhammer style playing. Just wonderful.
As with all the contests, you never hear the contestants names (which stinks) so I can not report many names here now.
I also don't know the winners names yet but will post later when I find out. There was a contestant that played with killer timing and execution and was a fantastic bluegrasser style player with the three finger roll style. I have to think he won.

2. Flatpicking Guitar: While all five were fine players only one was of Winfield level and this was the banjo player I mentioned earlier. He was unusually good. However, he exemplified the style now current in the flatpicking world as seen at Winfield that is really pretty sophisticated and well beyond anything like Doc Watson played in the sixties and early seventies, which happens to be what I personally like the most. This is not to knock these especially talented musicians who can take the instrument to the next level. The trouble is, when they do they leave some of us behind. There is no answer to this really.
At any rate, this contest had the "weakest" (poor choice but I can't think of better right now) field and it brings me to say what I had to be a growing impression that Flatpicking guitar playing is in decline in our area and the other traditional instruments are more popular than in the past. I could be wrong and as I said, this is only an impression based on inadequate data.

3. Mandolin: The playing was pretty good overall. I only caught the first half because the Fiddle contests were beginning and I left to see that.

4. Youth Fiddle: Some really fine young players. Mostly good young girls/teens. A couple of young boys played well enough to make their parents proud and a very young and tiny little girl who stole our hearts with her basic learners playing with that big smile and sweet little spirit. I loved it all.

5. Open Fiddle: Here is where the depth of talent really shined. Lots of really good fiddling by several really excellent players. One guy played Missouri Valley style really well and I like that a lot. Again, I wish I could tell you their names but they did not tell you who they were. This has to change!
My favorite performance was the fiddler and guitar player for The Prairie Acre band, Tricia Spencer and Greg Yother who really were excellent. Greg does an excellent job of playing backup. I really like how he does it!. Tricia was spot on the mark and I understand she only made third place but she could easily have won it. The bar was really high here by the quality of the playing.
This is a really fine fiddling contest. Don't miss it next year!

6. Fingerstyle Guitar: I actually missed most of this but caught snatches of it and from what I heard there were some really talented players there. next year I will try to catch more of that. If your a fingerstylist, this is a good contest to see.

I was overall very favorably impressed with the quality of this event. It clearly is the premier OT event in our area and the fruit of the deep field of talent in Lawrence Kansas and surrounding area. This is a labor of love now lasting for thirty years and the organizers are to be commended for keeping faith with this huge effort. Good job!

If you have never gone you must find time to do so next year. This is a very well done event. We are so lucky to have this so close.


2010 Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Winners

Banjo: First Place, Matthew Oliphant; Second Place, Jai Stecker

Miscellaneous Acoustic Instruments: First Place, Larry Carter; Second Place, Don Spain; Third Place, Dave Hooge

Open Fiddle: First Place, Jake Duncan; Second Place, Cara Oliphant; Third Place, Tricia Spencer

Mandolin: First Place, Bruce Graybill; Second Place, David Barnhill

Ensemble Folksinging: First Place, The Nightengals and Guy; Second Place, Park Sisters

FlatPicking Guitar: First Place, Ken Plummer; Second Place, Steve Luper

Finger Style Guitar: First Place, Steve Gouge; Second Place, Jeff Jackson

Youth Fiddle: First Place, Paige Park; Second Place, Cecelia Cook; Third Place, Lidia Strecker

Overall Youth: Matthew Oliphant

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Early Doc Watson

My Favorite Doc is early.

This is the time period of Doc that I listen to. I don't often listen to his more recent stuff. The early period was just wonderful. Treasures for the ear.

Flatpicked Angelina the Baker by Chris Moreton

I just discovered this player. I like him. I have decided to post more about guitar than in the past. I need the inspiration too.

Apparently a Brit. I appreciate his style.

Blast from the past McEuen at Mountain Music

It's been nearly two years now since Mountain Music went dark. Sad.

Kansas Fiddling Contest tomorrow and other ramblings

I was tied up in Lodge all day today and had to take a nap when I got home. Long day.
Tomorrow I will attend the Kansas Fiddling Contest and watch the fiddling and flatpicking contests.


Original content to arrive sunday night! Yes, this blog will provide original content. A real milestone huh?

We have some real good flatpickers in our area and I will cover that as much as I can. I will try to split my time 50/50 at each contest.

Don't worry. I won't be playing in the contest. Not in this lifetime.

I see that there is a Music Store in Ottawa Ks that carries a number of Folk/Traditional instruments and looks to cater to the former customers of the old Mountain Music Shoppe in Shawnee that closed in 08. Google Ottawa Music Store.
Sorry, but that is too far to drive to buy strings and such. Instruments? Maybe.

Things seem to be getting worse for the economy and I don't mean theoretically. Even Kansas saw it's unemployment rate rise this week. I would expect this will increase even more this coming year. It's a good time to recall the things that bring meaning to your life. Whether, family, faith, friends, or music, I hope you are finding your way through this OK.
I well remember quite clearly, hearing my Grandfather relate the extremes they endured and how tough it was to survive. It's our turn now. They made it and we can too.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Charlie "Possum" Walden's website remodeled

I would encourage you to visit Charlie Walden's web page to see the changes there. He has improved the look and I think you will find it interesting.

He has posted some neat videos of his playing at Clifftop this summer on Facebook. From looking at his schedule, he never seems to play near us here any more. I still want to see/hear him play live someday.

I know I have posted about him here in the past but if you do not know who he is, please visit his web page to find out more about him. He is a native Missourian who now lives in Chicago and has done great work in helping to preserve Missouri fiddling and tradition and the history. He has posted a lot of excellent information on the web about all this that I am very indebted to.

He is a really fine fiddler too. He knows his stuff, as they say. I like his playing.
Please go check him out and have a listen on youtube.

Electronic press kits


Take a listen!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New Link Of Note

Check out this new link I found. Interesting site. Free music downloads.

Looks pretty good. It's going on my list

Mountain Boomers

Enjoy some of these folks music. I really really like them.

Thats Mike Parks on the Mandolin. He does a great job of spicing it up without leaving the reservation. Great job! I love this band!

They are from Arkansas. I think I already did a post about them earlier. I will do another soon.

Lunchtime musing on the Internet

At first the Internet and computers only seemed to further isolate us from each other. However, in recent years, since MySpace and Facebook the reverse is now true. These social networking services are opening the Old Time Music "Community" up to new faces and people around our world. We are becoming aware of bands and players and other folks that just like to listen that we had just about no chance to find otherwise.

This is good. If you take advantage of this, your life can be richer and more fulfilling through interactions with others who share this music.

I personally celebrate this "new media" and think it's clearly superior to the older forms that favored commerce. You would only hear about something or someone if there was money in it for someone, generally. This was the prime mover. Money. Even in so called publications devoted to our music, money was still involved. Not that money is bad. It just flavors the stew.

We now get the option of a different flavor.

Take advantage of these new networks and reach out and find others like yourself that enjoy our music.


I just visited Jas Obrechts great blog on music and was just so impressed with his writing ability. His latest entry is on Hendrix (Jimi) and this caused me to think that hopefully some day, such journeyman writers who actually know what they are writing about, can have a place to make a living doing this. When you encounter a blog like this that has the hand out, I hope you can oblige if possible.

This economy is destructive to a lot of people right now. We need each other. Bad.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championships

I was nodding off as to my duties on the blog. The summer doldrums had me fogged out and I nearly forgot about this.

The Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championships are coming up this Sunday. Actually there are concerts starting friday but the key contests are Sunday. I WILL BE THERE. You be there too!

There are Flatpicking guitar, Fiddle, Mandolin, banjo, Fingerstyle guitar, Misc Instruments and Ensemble Folk contests. All on Sunday on various stages.

Some good bands will be performing Sunday too. Midday Ramblers are a Lawrence Bluegrass band and I really like them. They are good musicians and employ some humor as all good Bluegrass bands should do on occasion.

The Alferd Packerd Memorial String Band is also going to play and I have spoken about them previously. Not to be missed. Seeing them is more fun than I can tell you.

The HighFalutin String Band will be playing as well. I have not heard of them and can't tell you much about them.

Events start at noon. It's at the park just south of downtown Lawrence Kansas. Runs to five pm.

Be sure to visit their website for more information. There are some workshops as well and you should check those out. Tricia Spencer who plays with The Prairie Acre band will conduct the one on Fiddling.

Steve Goeke the Banjo player for Alferd Packerd will lead the Banjo Workshop.

Jim Faris of the Faris Family Bluegrass band will lead a workshop on the Bass.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fiddles and Frets in Merriam Ks

There is a new instrument store in Merriam kansas and it's called Fiddles and Frets.
It will emphasize Fiddles. They are affiliated with the next door KC Strings folks who you may know about, there in Merriam on Merriam Drive just south of Johnson Drive. KC Strings emphasis is on VIOLINS and not Fiddles so they have Fiddles and Frets to work that part of the music market. The owners of Fiddles and Frets, Michael and Jamie are both great musicians and fiddlers and are highly knowledgeable in what they are doing.

They also sell a small number of guitars, focusing on quailty learners of mid range cost and are not selling the cheapo junk nor the high end stuff. They have a few banjos and Mandolins as well.

I have had their website that they use for online sales for some time on my links list.

This should be good news for Johnson and Wyandotte County Ks folks. Now you can get dedicated Fiddle experts and service in this area.

This means that Lawrence Ks has Steve Mason's shop, Independence has Wyatts shop and we in JO Co Ks has Fiddles and Frets. Three stores to cover the three regions I talked about earlier.

It's steps like this that help rebuild what was lost nearly two years ago.

Please stop by and meet Michael Richwine and Jamie Logan and support them when you can. I stopped by and had a great visit with Michael and am very enthusiastic about what they are doing. Great guys and a good start. They are still building and doing this on a shoe string.

When I first set up this blog I checked out the violin and fiddle resources for the area and there are quite a number of Violin and fiddle makers and luthiers in our area and as I said, this is the hub of a very vibrant musical community and we are blesssed to be part of it. We just don't get together enough.

Fiddles and Frets is located next door to KC Strings in Merriam Ks at 5842 Merriam Drive. 913-677-0400