Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kathy and Dave Para clips

"Waiting for the Belle"

These are clips from this December. Be sure to catch them at the Big Muddy Festival in Boonsville, Mo this spring. I will find a way to go myself.

Compare this with Pink's performance on the Grammy's. I will take this.

Uptown Hoedown, Lawrence ks

I have not been to one yet. I hope to go to the next one. I know I have said this once before. We will see but I can hope.


This is something all Old Time music lovers should know about. Here is a good place to see what Old Time was before it was old. LOL.

Please visit the Uptown Hoedown site for detailed info on the next upcoming event in february 19th.

This is all part of what they are calling "Midwinter Meltdown" described as Dances, workshops and parties over that weekend.

Peghead will be playing. More about them at this website

Little Dixie Old Time Fiddle Club

1st and 3rd Thursdays, September to May:

Due to popular demand (that's right), in September 2009, after a year's hiatus, the Little Dixie Old-Time Fiddle Club will return to the Boone-Walters Historical Museum in southeast Columbia, Missouri. The sessions will again be held on each first and third Thursday of the month, September through May, from 5.00 to 8.00 pm. Our emphasis is on traditional fiddle music. All levels of experience are welcome, but we ask that everyone observe "jam session etiquette." The Boone-Walters museum is in Nifong Park, southeast Columbia (from US63, east off of US63 at the AC / Grindstone Parkway exit, then south on Ponderosa Drive to the Museum). Our host will be the Boone County Historical Society (thank you Jennifer Flink!). Contact: Boone County Historical Society, (573) 443-8936, email BCHS@Socket.Net, or Howard (Rusty) Marshall, club secretary, (573) 642-6226, email HMarshall@Socket.Net. "Lay it on, Leon!"

I am trying to get up to speed on events. I am behind but will catch up today

Early reminder-Big Muddy Folk Festival

It's only 68 days until the 2010 Big Muddy. Mark your calendars for April 9—10, 2010

Big Muddy Folk Festival
April 9—10, 2010

Thespian Hall
Main & Vine
Boonville, Missouri
and nearby venues

$20 per evening
$35 for the weekend

You can order on line this year!

Want more information?
Download The Soundings

Banjo Billy Matthews Fiddle Workshop

Feb 5-7 Mountain View Ark. Still time to register and go. Openings exist! GO!
This is the seventh annual workshop. You love to fiddle old time tunes? This is the guy to go to. The real deal. The man.
Go to his site for more info.

Sorry I did not post this long ago. It snuck up on me. Dang it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A new task for this blog

While reviewing the Website I just wrote about, it occurred to me that I needed to create a discography list for 1. Traditional Music of Missouri Valley and the Ozarks 2. Old Time Music from our region's artists including St.Louis, Kansas City and all points around including Arkansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.

I am just thinking out loud here but I am not sure how I will do this if it gets very long. We need a place to find out about what is really out there. Time to roll my sleeves up.

I am gonna have to find a way to post MP-3's I plan on recording this year. Somehow I will find a way to add this feature if it's possible. I am going to start my own field recordings. You should be doing this too.

I also plan to start collecting as much fiddling as I can by recording.
I want to share what I find out there with you.

The Field Recorders Collective

I just had someone tell me about this website that I also just added to my links list. I think this website/organization is something special. Field recordings taken by various people over the years for their own enjoyment, of Southeastern, Appalacian musicians have been preserved and reformed into CD's. Artists include mostly regional unknowns but Tommy Jarrell is included.

This is a great place to get some authentic Old Time Music by some players from the 60's on. This material would have been lost but fortunately this has now been saved for our listening pleasure. Much like what Gordon McCann did for the Ozarks Fiddlers.

Be sure to stop by there and add it to your own favorites list for future referance.
I will be shopping there myself....right after I get a job.

Keep on the Sunnyside Old Time and Bluegrass Jam

New jam is ON!

Shawnee Kansas, Shawnee Masonic Lodge Building
11109 Johnson Drive (Corner of Johnson drive and Neiman Rd.)

I have set a date and time. Every third saturday starting in February. Six pm to nine pm.

Gulp! I think this will be lots of fun. Definitely a new adventure for me.

The title of the blog post is the name of the jam. Fitting as to our Great Depression like times.

It's a start....

I have entered this jam at FolkJam.Org When the entry has been moderated it will become visible. I just entered it tonight so it might not be seen until tomorrow.

If you live in the area please come out and join us!

Shawnee Jam 4

I am gratified to find increasing interest in the Shawnee Jam. This is definitely going to begin in February. Probably Saturday sometime. Leaning toward Saturday night. I will set a day and time sometime in the next few days. Stand by for final details.
I think I will leave some details unsettled until I can talk with the folks who show up to see what they are intersted in as to frequency and times.

Monday, January 25, 2010

John Hartford's Hamilton Ironworks Album

This is the album that did it for me. One listen to this album and I was done. When I said Lonnie Robertson was my favorite fiddler, (a dumb concept,"favorites")
I will have to fudge and say that John Hartford is my real favorite. At least after I listen to Hamilton Ironworks again and again and again.

This was one of my first fiddle albums. I actually think I had one of Alan Jabbour's albums first and liked that but THIS! Once I had this one I went on to the Traditional Fiddle Music of the Ozarks series. All of this was discovered in that wonderful old Mountain Music Shoppe in Shawnee, now deceased.

John Hartford recorded this at the very end and is his very last recording and album. According to John himself, on the intro at the begining of album, he tells us
"that this is an album of memories, an album of growing up in a real happy time with some great music and some great musicians and these are not necessarily faithful reproductions of these tunes....but this is all about the people I grew up with and the tunes they played...."

This album is a retrospective on his coming up as a young musician in Missouri and more than that, it's his attempt to inscribe the people he knew and played with and learned from into our cultural memory so that when he was gone, we would remember them too.

Because he knew, I believe, the end was nigh, he played on this album with power and expression to a high level. John was never a slacker on his performances and worked hard to always give it the best he had but there is something even deeper in Hamilton Ironworks.

Of course, it could be me and my emotional imagination but I really don't think so.
Tonight as I was making an apple pie in the kitchen and listening to Hamilton Ironworks on my IPod I found myself dancing and tears of joy burst up in me from the beauty of his playing and. Strange thing is, this level of emotion is pretty typical when I listen. John Hartford just had something here.

If you watched my posting of him playing Wolves a Howlin you could see his power. Who else do you know could play a square dance fiddle tune and have young people react like it was some kind of rock and roll concert??? Only the Wilders have come close to that. John was there first.

Here is the song list.
1.Knockin at your door
2.Woodchopper's Breakdown
3.Hamilton Ironworks
5.Politic (politically correct term for this tune)
6.Wooliver's Money Musk
7.Ragtime Dream
8.Quail is a Pretty Bird (my favorite. An Ozark tune similar to Sandy Boys)
9.Emminence Breakdown
10.Ragged Bill
11.Hi Dad in the Morning
12.Black River
13.Green Corn
14.Devil's Hornpipe
15.Wolves a Howlin (another favorite of mine)
16.Fiddler's Hornpipe
17.White River
18.Greenback Dollar
19.Comin Down From Denver,on a Trip to Galway Here and There
20.Chicken Oh Chicken
21.Goforth's Dusty Miller
22.Turkey Buzzard

It's interesting to note that many of these are particularly Ozarkian with some of that Missouri Valley material in there too. Roy Woolivar was (I am told) a Missouri Valley fiddler and old Roy influenced a lot of other Missouri fiddlers including the Ozark fiddlers mentioned in his album. Roy Wollivar is refered to a lot in this album both for color but also for the fact of his wide influence. The Goforth Family figures large in this same way, along with the Dillards family. These three families along with an assortment of differant folks formed the stew that Hartford blended into becoming...Hartford.

Folks who followed Hartford for all those years often remember him for his being a pioneer of "newgrass" or whatever you can call his unique expression of Old Time and Bluegrass music. He had fun with everything he did along the way and did not pay too much attention to purity or correctness.

This album is differant from those earlier years. He is dead serious here. Still having fun but the respect for this music from his past bade him play it real and straight up. He still injects his talent into the tunes and the way he plays them but it never departs too far. He is real. True. Authentic in a way few can be.

To sum up. Hamilton Ironworks is a fantastic album of Missouri traditional fiddle music as experienced by John Hartford as he was growing up in Missouri in the fifties. The only hesitation I have about what I just said is, we all know how Missouri fiddlers were influenced from lots of directions. So I would not take it too far. Still, this is what they played in Missouri then and it still is.

Of all of Hartford's Fiddle albums, this is his best. And that is saying alot.
If you don't have it yet, please help yourself and buy it. You will thank me.

I am no expert. Just a enthusiastic Old Time Music lover who knows what he likes and tells you so. I lean on the knowledge of others for the terms and the catagories but in the end it's all about my love for this music. That's all. There are folks all around me here in this area who could put me in the shade on knowing about this music. True enough. I just want other folks to know about it too. So here we are.

Exciting news from the Rocky Mountains!!!!!

Here is information I was forwarded late this morning. Some on the ball people are doing what we should be doing HERE in our area!! Some musicians and bands out there may find this interesting. If any local people think they might attend, please share that with me. I would especially like to hear about any local bands who might attend. Feedback is always appreciated!

A new A group of folks here in Fort Collins are planning something that we think Colorado desperately needs, and quick: a great old-time music festival!

We're calling it the Rocky Mountain Old-Time Music Festival, and we've started the Central Rockies Old-Time Music Association (CROMA) to raise money for this and other old-time music events. We'd also like to be the communication center for the old-time bands, musicians, and aficionados along the Front Range and beyond. We will soon have a web presence and an e-newsletter, and we aim to make CROMA a great resource for those who love to play and listen to old-time music. For more information, please see our mission statement at the end of this email.

We would like to showcase Central Rockies-based old-time bands at our inaugural festival, which will be held at Avogadro's Number in Fort Collins on Saturday, August 28, 2010. There will be lots of music, workshops, and jamming throughout the day, indoors and out, and we're hoping that as many as possible local/regional old-time bands will be interested in playing up to a 45 minute set on-stage. Because we are in the initial planning phase, we don't know what type of compensation we can offer, other than a free meal and a free drink for each band member. We'll also give each participating band a free membership in CROMA. If fundraising goes well, we plan to further compensate each band. We know that this isn't a lot, but we're hoping that many will participate in the spirit of promoting old-time music and making the first of many Rocky Mountain Old-Time Music Festival events a success.

If your band is interested and available to play at our festival, please respond to this email and we'll put you on the list. We're also looking for folks interested in giving workshops, so if you have an idea and can teach it (or know someone who can), please let us know! We envision this being a wonderful opportunity for fans of old-time music to get together, hang out, play music, and eat good food. We really hope to see all of you at the festival.

Please forward this email far and wide to other musicians and bands who might be interested.

Thanks and all the best,
(Lori Nitzel, Beth Mosko, Marke Foxworthy, and Bob Zuellig)

The mission of the Central Rockies Old-Time Music Association (CROMA) is to preserve, promote, and present old-time music in the Central Rocky Mountain region.

CROMA fulfills its mission by affiliating fellow musicians, and sharing the communal experience of pre-bluegrass/early American fiddle and banjo music through public events and educational programs. Specifically, CROMA strives to expand the presence of old-time music by scheduling and promoting jams and performances, encouraging the mentoring of musicians of all levels, bringing in individuals with expertise to share with the community, and serving as the digital communication hub for regional bands, musicians, dancers, and listeners.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Red River Valley Clip

I love "Red River Valley". This old song really moves me. Simple. Basic. Wonderful.

As I said earlier, Kansas is a bit differant. Old Time for us has to include the songs of the old frontier. How do you ignore the old Cowboy songs when Kansas has such a history with the Cowboy and the trailhead towns.

As you may know, "Home on the Range" was actually written by someone living in north central Kansas.

My Brother-in-law hates Kansas. He is pretty stuck on the beauty of the Ozarks and Missouri in general. Myself, having seen both states extensively, love them both equally and of course for differant reasons. The Ozarks really are a special jewel. I don't even have to explain that to you.

Kansas can be a differant story for many of you. You have only seen it off Interstate 70 going like hell to Denver or points further west. Admittedly, you don't see too much nice scenery that way. Those who have gone to Wichita have glimpest a section of the beautiful Flint Hills.

Yet there is much more to the allure of Kansas yet it is a differant level than that of the Rocky Mountains or the thundering surf of Northern California. Subtle and calm. Rolling praries and hills formed by ancient river valleys. When you are out there in the Smokey Hills, or the Gyp Hills, or the Flint Hills, or further west where the endless high plains fail to end at the vast horizon, you feel something old and vast.

I see in my minds eye the trains of wagons heading west towards a new start. I see the Cowboys and the Buffalo and the Indians like ghosts who could not be vanquished. I see the pioneers in their humble dug outs and soddies carving out a farm.

So, in this blog, I make room for that kind of music that grew from that soil. This is Kansas after all, and not North Carolina.

Here is a nice little clip

This one is The Hempstead County Melody Boys (Arkansas)

Oh, before I forget. The Red River Valley is in Canada and the song almost surely originated there. There is a Red River in Louisana and part of East Texas but that is probably not where the song came from or is about. Ah, those pesky Canadians stole the march on us!

One last comment. The Harmonica is a valid Old Time instrument, in my humble opionion. Especially here in Kansas.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Shawnee Jam part 3

OK OK, I know I have to do this. My main reservation is that I am not the best person to lead a Jam given my limited playing skills. I will have to hope I get help.
So right now I have to get a day and time set up within the availability of the space.

The space will be the Shawnee Masonic Lodge which is at Johnson Drive and Neiman rd. Ironically or not, it is kitty cornered from the original Mountain Music Shoppe location and just a little bit down and across from the second location. (There were three locations in all)

I really intend for this jam to be dedicated to Old Time and Traditional Music. Of course there will and should be the latitude to play what might feel right at the time but primarily, Old Time.

There are quite a few Bluegrass jams on the east side of the metro and are well established.So there is an outlet for that.

There is no dedicated Old Time jam in the metro. You have to go to Lawrence for that and I don't have much of a gas budget these days.

So, I am thinking sometime in February I will try to have the first one.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Steve Kaufman Kamp got me thinking

I just received this email from Steve Kaufman about the Kamps he puts on this coming year. I have gotten these before in years past but this time it was differant.

Here is part of what was in the letter.

"Our Old Time and Traditional Music Kamps
held on the grounds of Maryville College in Maryville, TN just 17 miles south of Knoxville.
Week One is typically the more Old Time and Traditional week."

Is this a new emphasis? Are they less "Bluegrass" now? Kind of interesting.
I have never been to Kamp. Several area folks have been and I have heard nothing but great things to those who have attended.

So, is this a good sign for Old Time? I know Bluegrass surged after "O Brother" the movie in 2000. The economy hit the Festival world hard and I know business is down. Is Bluegrass in decline now and Old Time perking up? I have no idea but it would be intersting to know what is happening out there.

I have an idea things are changing out there. Maybe they have always been like this at Kamp and I did not know but it was worth commenting on here.

If you are interested in Kaufmans Kamps, you should google that and check it out. As for me, I just need to practice more. I have fallen off practice for over a month now and it shows.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Thinking about starting a Jam in Shawnee 2

I recieved an email asking about my plans for a jam in Shawnee. I have mentioned this before here.
I have the space lined up and it will be free. It even has a kitchen.
And lots of chairs.
I have not set a time and day yet because I am not sure what days are free yet, for that space.
I will try to have an announcement in a week or two.

I am leaning toward a Saturday afternoon. Or is sunday better? I would like to avoid sunday because of the jams that happen in Lawrence on that day. It would be nice to have some Lawrence people visit sometime.


Missouri Fiddle Music and Fiddlers Information Sources

If your like me and you LOVE fiddling and fiddling tunes, and like me you have a particular interest in and enjoyment of, Missouri Fiddling and Fiddlers, then here are some sources on the internet you should know. I mention Charlie Walden a lot here because he is one of my primary sources for information on the net for all this. I have been reading and mining his websites for years now and they are chock full of good stuff.

Using his primary website as the begining point with links to send you into deeper explorations visit his site at

Another Charlie Walden site is,

These two sites will give you a running start at learning more about Missouri Fiddling.

In the interest of full disclosure, although I have lived in Kansas for nearly 17 years now, I lived in Missouri for about twenty years. Nine of those years I lived in the Ozark region of Southern Missouri.
It's clear to me that the fountain of much of our Old Time Music bubbled up from Missouri. This is not to neglect Arkansas or Oklahoma which I will talk about later on. It's funny how State borders can demarcate our cultural expressions but they have and still do to an extent. Less so now than in the past when travel was more difficult but I still think they matter.

Part of the reason we hear about Missouri fiddlers is due to the work of Charlie Walden, and Gordon McCann who went to the trouble to help preserve the work and memories of some awful good fiddlers from the past. Of course there were others out there contributing to this too. It takes alot of shoulders to stand on for these men to have done what they did. I certainly stand on theirs for this humble scribble.

Think about how much has been lost for all time because someone did not perform the same efforts for Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas and even Iowa.
You know they had fiddlers there too.

I almost forgot but should hasten to add the name of John Hartford to being important to this work. His CD Hamilton Ironworks and his production work and influence in getting Gene Goforth in recording the CD, Eminence Breakdown did a lot to introduce Missouri Fiddling and styles to the world. Hamilton Ironworks was one of my early introductions.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Wolves a Howlin

here is "Fats Kaplin playing Wolves a Howlin. This is one of my most favorite fiddle tunes. Hang on for more Wolves, I'm on a roll here.

Jeremy Myers on the last one.

Mud brothers here. Willie McElroy on fiddle

More Ashley Hull, Bob Holt student who stands on her own

Here is another great clip of Ashley Hull who learned from the great ozark Fiddler, Bob Holt. She in turn has taught Jeremy Myers who in turn is on his way to becoming a notable fiddler.
Isn't she good?! I enjoy her playing immensely.

Charlie Walden learning Cd's

Charlie Walden has two CD's out to help you learn fiddle tunes. On these recordings, he plays the tune at regular speed and slow speed. While I don't play fiddle..yet anyway, these will help me practice back up with my guitar, which I need lots of practice at. I was stunned to find that my ability to back up at speed was more limited than I thought recently and its time to woodshed!
So go to "Possums" website as found here and order up one or both of those CD's tonight as your contribution to our economic survival and (really) to support the most worthy of Fiddlers out there.

If you have not read my much earlier post on Charlie Walden please do so, or better yet, visit his websites and blog. You can listen to samples of his tunes and see what I am talking about. Also, go on YouTube and you can see more clips of his playing there. I will post some more as well.

Because he lives in Chicago I don't expect we will see him in the Kansas City area anytime soon but my hope is that in a year or two if we can find a venue or build a venue that maybe he could be persuaded to come? Or maybe not. I know he does not tour or anything like that but wouldn't it be wonderful to have the kind of event he likes to show up at....HERE?

Just dreaming but you never know?!!!

Find the CD's HERE!

I read somewhere that bloggers are supposed to tell if they have any vested interest in what they promote on that blog. I have no connection with Charlie or will benefit in any way by this blog. It's all for the love my Brothers and Sisters.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Charlie Walden, Yellow Barber

Just to get the pot warmed up for later....

Why? Oh Why? does he have to live in Chicago and why is he not in Missouri? If he lived here I would be making pilgrimiges to hear him play. Chicago is just too far.
I can tell you that his albums are the very next ones in my shopping cart! All of them!
When you talk about LIVING Missouri players, Charlie is right up there at the top of my list. There are more out there that I don't know about yet but so far Charlie seems to be at the top of the pyramid on that food chain.
Again, this is just the teaser for the full post tomorrow or the next day.

Cyril Stinnett, My Second Favorite Missouri Fiddler

Actually, it really is hard for me to say who is the favorite and second favorite and don't really often think that way most of the time. It does make it easier to blog about who I like better, best, less best so it becomes interesting to read about. So that's why I do it. But it remains true that Cyril Stinnett is one of my most favorite Missouri Fiddlers.
He clearly loved the fiddle. He never married and stayed on the farm his whole life and Charlie Walden says he never worked hard at anything much except he must have worked hard on that fiddle playing. Cyril could play like no one's business.
He lived up by Oregon Missouri which is north of St. Joseph Mo. in the Missouri River Valley. He knew and played with Lonnie Robertson and Uncle Bob Walters. He is considered of the Missouri Valley fiddling style and he and Walters are probably the best examples out there.
Another thing was, he was left handed! Being a lefty, I find this wonderful to find a lefty musician who can play like he did.
Charlie Walden is said to be the current best Missouri style fiddler in the manner of Cyris Stinnett and it's a good thing someone out there can still do it. More on Charlie later!

The more I listen to Cyril Stinnett, the more I really enjoy and appreciate him. He's been gone for a good many years now. (1912-1986) I have just a few recordings by him and am going to be gathering as many as I can in the future. If you love fiddling and Missouri style then you must find some Cyril Stinnett recordings. He is one of those must have's when it comes to having fiddling recordings.

I Tunes has "Three Fiddlers from the Show-Me State" which features Cyril along with Lyman Enloe and Casey Jones. There are 7 tunes by Stinnett on that album. Marmadukes Hornpipe, Hookers Hornpipe, Dububque Hornpipe, Pacific Slope and Countrymans Reel,Lantern in the Ditch and St Anne's Reel.

I don't own this particular album yet but will in the future.

"Grey Eagle in C" is an album of his work but I am not certain it is still available now. I am looking for it and will report back if I can find it. There are other small label albums out there but I have not identified them all yet and am working on that too. Probably time to write Charlie Walden!

Charlie was just an old farmer up in northern Missouri but that old farmer could play fiddle and better than most. See how smooth he is? His timing is wonderful.

This thread will move me back to Charlie Walden and then Dwight Lamb for future posts. I have commented about Charlie Walden already but there is more to explore. Same for Dwight Lamb. I have not posted about him yet but need to.

I guess it's that midwestern background that puts me in this place where I enjoy his playing so well. There have been some great fiddlers back east but I find myself drawn to these Missouri boys and their playing.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Back to my senses now

These folks are from out east but I loved see'in that little angel dance and I love Cumberland Gap. Enjoy! I'm a grinnin myself!

I took a closer look at the guy on the left. Is he packing heat?

Mike Webb!

here is another video of my just now discovery of Mike Webb. I don't usually post much bluegrass here but I do make exceptions now and again. This is not a bluegrass blog but if I like it I will put it up. Just not often. There are lots of other bluegreass blogs out there. I do have a special fondness for the real traditional bluegrass as you will see no other on this blog.
Chris Thile will never be seen here....

Just to cheer you up

Nice job by Charlie Collins and Mike Webb at the West Plains Mo Old Time Music Festival. Might not be PURE old time but it makes me happy to hear this one. I think he did a awesome job on playing this one. This song was on the original Will The Circle Be Unbroken album by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band from back in the seventies.

Kansas City Metro Region is a jewel for music

The case I am making to all of you out there is that the greater Kansas City Metro region is actually a hotbed of music, and more especially Old Time fiddle tune kind of music. Much more than people know. They just don't know how much is out there. We have the musicians, both the just for fun and the semi pro's who play and play well or if like me, not so well. We have the instrument builders. We have the instructors and studios for instruction with master teachers available.
What we don't have enough of is venues and festivals. The one's we have nearby we need to support better. But we need one right here.

Home made instruments

Maybe I should start talking about instruments more. I have been meaning to for some time. The Kansas City and Lawrence area has some of the best Luthiers in the WORLD. Some of the best guitars and Mandolins and fiddles are being made right here! By masters of their art. Leo Posch has become one of the more recognized luthiers in the USA and the last few years has been building fantasic guitars out of his McClouth home workshop. I mean to say he builds guitars that sound perhaps as good as you can imagine! There are several master violin makers in Kansas City that build fiddles/violins that are extremely highly regarded and sought after by master musicians across the world. There are mandolin builders here that are building some very very fine mandolins one at a time.
I am personally not aware of any banjo makers except Leo Posch will build one and has built several. It is my intention of featuring some posts on these builder later this week or next. Oh yeah, I can't write this without mentioning Mass St. Music in Lawrence where they have a workshop capable of repairing any stringed instrument of
any vintage as well if not better than anywhere on earth. And do they have guitars!

So this is my next long term project.

Old Time music and surviving the end of the world

I read nearly a hundred blogs a day. I can do this because I have endless time to do so being unemployed. There are a lot of people who are preparing for the end of civilization right now. Personally, I am not quite THAT pessimistic...yet. However, I was thinking. What would you do if you were looking at some kind of serious disruption to our civil order and how would your instruments and materials fit into the equation? After all, there are two recent tragic events to illustrate just how realistic some kind of event can be. Katrina and Haiti. Earthquakes and Hurricanes and Tsunami's and Tornados are real and happen pretty often. If you were hit by a huge F-5 scale tornado in say, Kansas City, what would you do with your instruments? How many could you save if you had to leave for a shelter? What would you do with all those CD's Videos, DVD's Tab books and such? If they blew away the answer is already at hand. If not then what? Katrina showed that a lot of very valuable instruments were lost forever. They just could not be saved. Some of you have some pretty valuable vintage instuments out there. 1937 D-18 Martins, 1935 D-28's and old Gibson Mandolins and banjers and fine old fiddles of inestimatible value.
I don't have an answer to any of this. What is happening in Haiti is horrible. Yet it will happen again and again in other places and even there in Haiti again. This is life on earth. Storms, tectonic plates, asteroids, Divine wrath all loom in our future and will affect our music.

The good thing is, we don't need (or want) amplifiers, circuit board mixers, effects pedals, huge speakers, nay, no speakers at all, to make the music we play.

If anyone is playing much music after a disaster it will be us. Old fiddle tunes from the hardscrabble past would fit right in the context of recovery. It could help you and I restore our sense of self and our orientation to sanity.

It all points to the utter transient nature of our existence and this life on earth. Nothing, absolutely nothing is permanant when it comes to this life. We come from clay and will return to clay.

So, even if you think this meditation is silly I hope you will at least ponder about your impermanence and what is truly important. While doing so pick up your instruments and keep playing. Go out with a song. The storms and depressions and politicians can take nearly everything away but they can't take our songs.

Except for those times in the Cuban Missle Crisis in the sixties, I can't remember another time that our civilization seemed more uncertain and unstable than right now. I will admit I a quite frightened by what I am reading about our future.
I don't mean to refer to this much at all here as the music is the story I want to talk about here.

I am just throwing out some considerations for you here. Maybe you should be stocking up on spare strings? Do you have a spare bow? How about picks? What if your tuner battery runs out? Do you have a replacement?

I don't think anything like an end of the world as we know it TEOTWAWKI is in any danger of happening in our lifetime. I do see the very real and increasing possiblility of some severely hard times and some disruptions unlike anything we can remember in our lifetimes. I do think we will get through this and recover in time.
Keep in mind that there is an amazing resilience with civilization and organized societies. We will survive and in time even thrive again. This too will pass.

If you have your instruments, then it's as cheap as it gets to play them. You can always boil your strings and resuse them. It's not perfect but it does get more mileage out of them.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lonnie Roberstson, Missouri Ozarks Fiddler

I have just about come to the conclusion that if someone was to ask me who my favorite fiddler was I believe I would say it was Lonnie Robertson. He is essentially an "Ozark style" fiddler and that is what I most enjoy. It was hard to just pick one fiddler as a favorite. Why even do it? At any rate, Lonnie is right at the top of my list. Cyril Stinnett is right behind him but that's for later.
I am not going to attempt a full on bio yet, but he was born in Ozark County just a bit south of Bob Holt's stomping grounds. When he was 15 he moved to northern Missouri and eventually married and in the forties moved to Springfield Mo. He did short term gigs for various radio stations in the region and ended up operating at small motel in Theodosia Mo. for a number of years only to return to Springfield where he passed away in 1981.
I understand he was influenced by Uncle Bob Walters of Tekamah Nebraska who is said to be one of the most influential fiddlers of the Missouri Valley.
I will say more about Lonnie later on when I compile some more information on him. I intend to do what I can to keep his memory alive here.
I have his album, Lonnies Breakdown and it is a very fine collection of the old fiddle tunes.(Rounder) If you don't have that one and you love Ozark fiddlers then you must buy this one. I Tunes has it by golly and that's where I got my copy.
I have not found out how to post mp-3's here yet and am going to work on that.
In spite of the fact that Lonnie played professionally for many years and made his living off music the sad truth is but for the efforts of Gordon McCann who recorded 70 sessions with him, the work of Lonnie Robertson would be long forgotten. Again, I thank God For Gordon McCann! His preservation efforts have proved to be invaluable!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Old Time Fiddlers Reporatory Vol 1&2 reprinted!

I just saw on Charlie Walden's blog that R.P.Christianson's "OLD TIME FIDDLERS REPORATORY VOL 1&2 are being reprinted by the University of Missouri Press in 2010.
Please stop by Charlies blog to read a bit more on this and his article on the collections of materials that includes Christianson's as linked from the blog entry.
Here is the link to Charlie Walden's blog. Stop there first.

Then read Charlies article on fiddle tune collections
If I ever get off the bread lines I will be buying a copy myself. Charlie will keep us posted for more info.

If you don't already, you should be reading his blog and his websites.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Should I???

My readership has been declining a bit. Still not bad but not what it had been. Maybe I should post more pictures like this to rebuild my viewership?

Nah....I don't think so. Just a thought.

Update, monday night. Interestingly my numbers just went up! Does this mean I should have Kansas Old Time Music Girls sections? I will think about that at my next event I attend and take pictures....Just kidding.

Please check my older posts

I have been doing this blog for a couple three months now and I have some interesting posts about some interesting people there. You can't see much of this now because it does not appear unless you click on the older posts selection at the bottom. Please stop by there and see what I did and hear about some bands and musicians you should know about.
Make yourself a cup of hot coffee or tea or cocoa or if you prefer, a cold beer or a martini and settle in to listen to some fine playing.
It's going to be ten below zero farenheit tonight in Kansas City and area. There is nearly two feet of snow on the ground. I hope your safe and sound in your own home tonight and the landlord is not stalking you for the rent.
Take care out there.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

April Verch on French Canadian fiddling

Watch this video by April Verch. I first heard of her a few years ago. What a gift!

Winter in Kansas City

By far the "worst" winter for over 20 years in KC. Of course, I don't really think of winter as bad. I love snow. I like winter. I have many many fond memories of wandering my neighboring woods in winter in Illinois where I grew up in a semi rural area. This was northern Illinois where winter was seriously winter back in the fifties and sixties.
Americans have just become complete sissies when it comes to winter now. The news and weather people start whining and crying and arousing panic in people when it would hardly be that noticable when in the sixties. It was considered NORMAL weather and folks just did not go nuts about it.
A well known Geographer made a speech I caught a couple years ago on C-span that global warming was simply not a man made problem and that solar cycles were far more important as far as the weather was concerned. He noted we were due and in fact had already entered a time of diminished solar radiation and that for the next 30-40 years would be remarkably cooler.
This caught my attention as I had just recently converted to the global warming line. I started paying attention more and low and behold, we see that global temperatures have fallen a bit over the past ten years. Then we hear that the data held by the brits at the focal point for climate change, is now compromised and the raw data deleted.
You can draw your own conclusions. I certainly have. Check out my pictures of my house last night and today.

All this makes me think of our brother and sister Canadians who have a tradition of wonderful fiddling that is alive and well. These fiddling fools from the great white north have even affected the Missouri fiddlers. Especially the Missouri Valley fiddlers.

Here are some Canadian fiddlers for your viewing pleasure. I hope it warms you up no matter what you think about global warming. Throw another log on the fire and get a fresh hot cup of what ever your drinking and prop your feet up on the hammock and breathe.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sent to me...

Underated song in my opinion. Old Chesnut?I guess so. I like it nontheless. Cheers

This was sent me at YouTube. I appreciate all such things. Nice video!

Just a thought...

What if those folks who love Old Time Music built a community that was not so fragmented and isolated from each other?

At the least could'nt we have a better sense of commuinty in the three state region of Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri? Maybe I should include Oklahoma too. Maybe Iowa too? Nebraska? It's hard to know because it's all so scattered.

Would an online forum that serves that area help? Would a new organization for our region help?

Or is this too ambitious? What about a Mo-Kan regional organization? Or is that too much to hope for too?

And the point?

We should know about each other better. We should have a way to find out who is out there. Folkjam is helping alot! God bless them!

What about the people who don't play but love to listen?

Do you care?

Are you supporting the Stringband Rendevous this year? Will you go? Will you volunteer? It seems to me that this could be the best starting point for the future.

Just askin....

How many of you are thinking...just forget this nonsense and go play?

My point of view.

We can only see through the eyes we have. Seems like a simple concept but people often forget this truth. The idea you can really see anything through anothers eyes is really just wrong. You will always process what you think you see through anothers "viewpoint" through your own. It is inescapable that you will always make your own mark on anything you recieve from another person.

So it is here. I am not an expert on Old Time Music. I am an educated afficianado. An informed enthusiast with a point of view based on my rearing in Northern Illinois combined with several years spent in the Ozarks as a young man with a family.
I was deeply influenced by the people I met in the Ozarks. Certain people made a big contribution to my understanding of Ozark culture. Had I not met these folks I don't think I would really understand the Ozarks at all.

I was always the kid from the Yankee north during that time. You could never escape that with the older ozarkians. It was always, "what kin are ye?". Are you Eddie Forsters kin up the hollar from Grandin?"
With those folks I could never get past the gate into the relaxed circle of acceptance and inclusion. I might as well been from Mars.

I was lucky in this situation because I met Keith Hackworth. Keith was a local man who was a classic Ozark Rounder. He was remarkably like the character Marjorie Kennan Rawlings encountered in florida that she based her "The Yearling" book character of the father of Jody as played by Gregory Peck. Peck's portrayal was really nothing like the real man it was based on.
At any rate, Keith was a real native home grown Ozarkian character. In his life before I met him, he was a rounder and a rake who drank too much and worked on the riverboats as a deck hand. Then, in his forties he found is way into Church and a strong Christian faith. It was Keith that was most responsible for my personal conversion to the Christian faith.

When he went deer hunting he wore a brimmed hat on the rough lines of a fedora with a turkey feather in the band. He had the manner of a man of rural Ozark breeding. A bit cocky in his walk but a bit bowed at the same time. He had struggled with TB in the years proceeding and had actually spent a year in a TB Sanitorium. New drugs saved his life and he returned to his family. It was his authentic faith that really impressed me in 1974 when I first met him. It was his great paitence with me that helped me a great deal and as I grappled with my personal inner turmoil in my new found faith.

I see the Ozarks through him most of the time. He was not a musician. I never actually met any musicians when I lived in Doniphan back in the early seventies. I only saw one Bluegrass band play on the courthouse square back then. There was no evidence of any kind of Old Time Music being played there. I just never heard of it then.

The Ozarks I saw then, in those early years for me, in 74-76 in Ripley County Missouri, were not remarkable for music at all. The kids were all getting into bands like Creedance and the Stones and Hendrix. You would hear a little Bluegrass now and again but not often. There was huge change beginning in the 70's. The folks who left for the north for better jobs were fleeing back to the old home base. The race riots and the drugs and the crime of the north sent them packing for the Ozarks and a way of life they understood. Like my In Laws. Which is how and why I ended up there.

I will write about some more people that were the REAL Ozarkians and how they changed me later on. And I might burden you with REAL Ozarkians who made my life difficult. All made their mark on me both good and bad.

To sum up,I learned this from living there. Life can be pretty hard down there. It's damn hard to make a decent living there. The pay scales are terrible. Quality health care is hard to get. The land might be pretty but it is miserly in it's return to your labor. The people can be nice but if your not from there you will always be an outsider. The law has a tenuous hold on these people. Especially when it comes to Game laws. The welfare laws have attracted a motley band of mentally ill and disabled people to the myriad of small towns and villages with the accompanying degradation of society and culture. The return of the former emigrants to northern cities in the 70's and 80's brought children with them that brought the drugs and crime they tried to flee. The pressures to make a living from that hardscrabble land is causing the deforestation of the Ozarks. This will have a huge effect on the land and the people. Thank God for the Mark Twain and the Clark National Forests! In another generation or two these will be the only truely forested areas left. If you don't believe me go on Google earth and see what has happened over the past decade alone! The timber industry will eventually die off or at least fade to a mere shadow of itself. This is well along the way already.

This is the Ozarks I found. This is just a small part of something too big to describe fully here in this kind of blog but It helps explain my outlook.

It was only after I moved west to the Springfeild plains/plataeu that I began to hear about music. And, sigh...that was mostly Branson.

What does this have to do with Old Time Music?

When you have walked the hills and slept in those forests and swam in those clear cold rivers and creeks you feel something inside you that makes you feel that fiddle and that banjer and that guitar in ways that might escape you if you were never there. When your there, you can sense the past and the wildness and the old ways that are not so far behind. The tones of the fiddle and dulcimer make sense more than the screech of an electric guitar or rock drums. Playing Metallica on your Ipod while traveling the Whites Creek Trail in the Irish Wilderness just won't take you to where Gene Goforth would if you were listening to his Quail is a Pretty Bird.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Old Time Music in Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas

Just an observation which may be right, or may not be. Your opinion would be interesting.
It seems to me that this region tends to be a little less "pure" and given to "innovations" than say, the Southeast part of the country. I would not push this too far but at the least we do have our differances with the rest of the music world as far as Old Time is concerned.
Yes we love and play the old fiddle tunes and the old timey songs of yore. But other threads weave themselves into our overall expression. Cowboy and Western folk music has made itself felt in all these states I mentioned. Not Country and Western but the real old stuff the cowboys and others actually sang on the frontier.
I hate to admit it but the blues and jazz camel poked it's head under the tent on occasion too but not where the whole animal entered.
The french culture made it's presence known in our Missouri Valley fiddling which extended in our area from north of Omaha to St Louis. The french were here and they also sent songs south to us from Canada that we play today in the same song lists from Appallacia and the Ozarks.
Of course, don't forget the Germans who's schottishes find themselves on our lists too.
As a kind of amatuer historian, the french have been too often ignored and underappreciated. They were here in the west far earlier than the english based culture was. Far earlier and very significantly so. They were in Missouri and this has made a differance I think in our music.
The Ozarks were actually settled fairly late in our history. While there were folks in isolated settlements pretty early, these were in small numbers and widely scattered. I think this made for more influence from Kentucky and Tennessee and the Ohio valley far later in the culture than you might think.
I think the river cultures of the Missouri and the Mississippi had a huge influence on the musical culture that is often forgotten. John Hartford saw this from the beginning and kept it alive for us. John Hartford is wonderful example of someone from our region that exemplified the various threads and flavors mixed in with us.
He is a good example of an innovator out of the music who also had deep roots in the Old Time fiddle songs/tunes of the past.
Jimmy Driftwood and John Hartford are the two best known examples of the synthesis of our musical culture. I hesitatingly mention the Wilders as newer examples of the same thing. But perhaps a little more corrupted. The Split Lip Rayfield influence they have followed in the last couple years has sent them down a dark and dead end alley as far as I am concerned. But the overall idea does hold with them.
A far less well known local Lawrence Ks band, The Alferd Packerd Memorial Band is a good example of the ecclecticism of our Old Time Culture. You have to see them and hear them to understand.
Part of the problem with our local Old Time "community" is it's ecclectism of the musicians who play many kinds of music at jams and gatherings and we don't see the hard core Old Time all the time folks you might run into further east. At least we don't seem to have those numbers.
And we don't have a local Old Time Festival. We have Winfield which is the epitome of accoustic eclecticism. This has put it's stamp on our culture in a huge way.
Winfield dilutes the need for an Old Time festival and thereby dilutes the Old Time scene. I don't see this changing any time soon. The economy is in tatters and folks don't have a lot of extra money to send them into any new ventures. Perhaps that will change in a couple years. What do you think?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Doc and the Tennessee Stud

Your probably heard it from him first but Jimmy wrote it!

I got to see old Doc play this with Jack Lawrence a couple three years ago here.

Doc still has it and he's in his eighties!

Sit down and listen to Jimmy some more

This video was from 1988

I got to see Jimmy perform in Springfield Mo back in 77-78 and it was free. It was a SMSU thing and I was in heaven! Great little concert too! He was wonderful. Such a great spirit and warm manner. He was there with his group from Arkansas called the Rackensack players I think. All just nice folks and a great time was had by all.

I miss you Jimmy.

More Jimmy. Listen to this.

1988 Video

I have been to Jimmy's grave. Kind of. He actually was cremated and his ashes scattered on his farm. There is a stone in a small graveyard at Timbo with his name on it. Funny thing for a kid from Illinois to find himself at this place in Arkansas in remembrance of a character like Jimmy.

Here is a story you probably have not heard about Jimmy that in a most improbable set of events I learned about. I met a lady in Borders Books in Overland Park Ks who in a chance meeting revealed that she knew Jimmy and had helped him out in various ways over the past years.
She shared that he and his wife had two boys. When they were teenagers, one of the boys accidentally killed his brother out of a fight in a rage. He realized what he did and then took his own life immediately after. Two dead sons. In the blink of an eye in circumstances most tragic. I can't imagine what that must have been like for him and his wife.

Jimmy Driftwood

I have been holding back on posting about Jimmy Driftwood but what the hell! Now is the time and this is the place!
Jimmy is not pure old time. Kind of a hybrid. Brings in some Jimmy and stirred in some old time with a little local salt and pepper and a little need for teaching kids history. I won't retell the story about him here. You can do that for yourself. He is a great example of taking Old Time and making it your own and it still being Old Time. Of course it's not pure like Tommy Jerrell but I don't care. It's Old Time for right now. It's a LIVING version of Old Time music. Thats what I think about.
I love preserving the Old songs played the old way. I also like Jimmy Driftwood and his living expression of it.

Tennesess Stud is one of my favorite songs that tells a good story. Might even be true!

Baby it's cold outside

Not much going on these days with the weather being what it is. I have at least a foot of snow on the ground and more on the way wednesday. I have posted some dates for some upcoming events that are yet to happen. I will be looking around for some more. I do not post about some of the so called Old Time concerts at some of the area clubs calling themselves Old Time but are really Old Time Nashville music clubs. I screwed up by visiting one of these jams and left as soon as I could. Not that I am throwing rocks at their music. I just can't play it and thats not what I am looking for.
I have not even picked my guitar up much. I am in a bad funk over my joblessnes. It's been over a year now. I just don't know what the hell to do anymore. Being in Construction, winter is not a busy time anyway so I wait...
I try to leave these downer thoughts for other places but I have given up on hiding this from you my dear readers.
I remember when I first arrived in the Ozarks in the late sixties. It was like stepping back into time and the cultural differances were stunning. Here I was a counter culture kid from Northern Illinois and finding myself in the midst of poor hardscrable folks in southern Missouri. My girlfreinds grandparents went to the courthouse basement every month to pick up their government commodities allotment. I went along and the experience was just like out of the documentaries you see about the Appalacians from that time. Her grandfather had one leg, due to a tractor mishap that took one. He did not have a prosthetic leg and I don't know why. He used crutches. He was dirt poor all his life. He lived on a farm his son bought with the money he made from being in the army in WW2. It was cheap land bought cheaply. He had always been a share cropper in west Tennesee. Farmed with horses and mules.
So I have seen poverty. I lived it myself when I lived there later while I was in school. I mean serious poverty. But it was temporary.
The music I write of her is planted in that soil. It was seeded there and because of where it sprouted, it was ignored. Those poor folks kept playing it, never stopped loving it. The rest of the world moved on. They left this world behind for an "advanced" one. Or so they thought.
Sorry for the rambling on this. So I guess I ought to include some music to cheer this mess up. here is Clark Kessinger. Jimmy Driftwood introduced him. Jimmy as you may know is a well known Arkansas musician who I am a huge fan of. He has done a lot for Old Time Music in Arkansas and across the US. I grew up listening to him and still do. So, here is Mr. Kessinger.

Friday, January 1, 2010

My goals yet again

My primary goal is to help the Kansas City and Lawrence area and the region surrounding us in our love of Old Time Music. This site is dedicated to that and nothing much else. My opinions about other things have no relevance here. We are here for the love of music and nothing else.
My site activity reporting service tells me I have an international readership which I did not expect but have enjoyed. That is kind of icing on the cake to have that wide of a readership but the thing that disappoints is the low level of local readership.
I think it's picking up a bit though and I will keep trying. I am gratified for the help of others on their various web pages who continue to link to me.
If something bothers you please write and tell me so.

Peghead Another Lawrence Ks Old TIme Band

Someone please call these people and have them play for you so I can hear them! This is another Lawrence area Old Time Band. I have not heard them yet but this should be the place you hear about such bands. Now you know. Here is yet another Old Time Band for our area. Put them to "work". Or else.... :)

Here is a quote off their website...

"PEGHEAD is: Doug DuBois, fiddle; Pat Dickey, fiddle, mandolin; Nick Gardner, banjo; Lisa Harris, guitar; and Reva Nimz, bass. We are available to play dances, festivals community concerts, private parties, wedding receptions, etc. in the Kansas City region and beyond. We specialize in playing lively "barn dances" for beginners or experienced dancers alike. We work closely with seasoned callers who excel at getting even shy and inexperienced groups on their feet for a fun and memorable evening of contra and square dancing. Let us make the arrangements easy for your event by providing the whole package of band, caller and sound"

You can contact Doug DuBois at 785-780-6660