Monday, December 31, 2012

Retrospective of loss; Garry Harrison and Jim Lansford

I was listening to the radio while waiting for my wife to get out of a store this afternoon when I caught a mention of a Garry Harrison and what a wonderful Old Time music song writer he was as well as really nice man. It was on NPR and they mentioned that he had passed away this year. They played a couple of his tunes (samples) and I was really impressed with what I heard. How could I not know more about him? Garry lived in Illinois and is the brother of one of my facebook friends. This is another example of my becoming aware of someone too late. John Hartford really only got to me after he passed away. I hate this when this happens. So, my old home state of Illinois was the same place Garry Harrison and his brother and others played some really excellent old time music. And I did not know.
Garry's daughter is also seen in this photo. Here he is playing fiddle at the Indiana Fiddlers Gathering earlier this year. (2012) It's sad to see them pass on. Another sad loss was that of Jim Lansford. I only got to see him perform once, live. He and his wife came to the violin shop in Merriam Ks to perform for folks under the auspices of the Missouri Valley Folklife group. I was struck by how softly and deftly Jim fiddled or played the guitar seemingly effortlessly. I recognized that he was a master musician and knew what he was doing. Sadly, he passed away recently leaving a big hole in our hearts for him and his music. Where would we be if folks like Garry Harrison and Jim Lansford did not leave such a rich legacy for us to enjoy and appreciate? Rest assured they will not be forgotten. I will continue to post about both of them this coming year. Each one will be featured with their discographys and what ever else I can discover.

Roscoe Holcomb

I try to stick with the Arkansas,Missouri,Kansas players on this blog and don't often mention or post about our cousins in Appalachia. I am going to make this exception because Roscoe reminds me of the kind of people I used to meet back in the late 60's and early 70's when I first came to the Ozarks. These folks are long gone now. Folks just like Roscoe. Just down home, salt of the earth hard working people.

Auld Lang Syne

Bob Minner plays a particularly fine arrangement of this very old song. I think it qualifies as OT. It can be translated as "long long ago". Robert Burns wrote the poem and it's set to an old folk song. May you close out this year with many fond memories and blessings. It's been a bittersweet year as they all are. Some of you may still be suffering economically, others of you are treading water and perhaps a few doing very well. In what ever state you are in , I hope you find the sun shining through the clouds more often than not. I begin the year with a renewed interest and excitement with this blog and I hope to improve things soon. My health has improved somewhat and although I get one year older and each year feels worse than the previous one, I still think I'm well ahead of the curve on such things. Robert Burns
I still plan on including more guitar work in the shared clips. The guitar is kind of the red headed step child of OT but it's still got feet under the table and it's what I play. Perhaps I can share my own playing later this coming year. We shall see. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY DEAR READERS

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Growing interest in a Jam in KC Metro

There is more interest in a jam in KC. I have always known that there are a lot of people out there who want to jam Old Time tunes but for some odd reason it's just never really taken off. Again, if your interested in a real Old Time music jam please email me and I will include you on the list of interested people. I would still like to see more people express interest. I know your out there. Like I said, I'm not trying to get a mega jam up this time. I think a modest start is called for. I think we have the minimum. I will post a tune list soon.

Monday, December 24, 2012



Friday, December 21, 2012

Weissenborn crazy I am!!

This may be where I veer off the reservation a bit and leave purist Old Time music for a bit of something different. I have always loved slide guitar playing and Dobro's. They don't get used in OT that much but certainly they could be.Most people associate them with Bluegrass but I think there is a place for them in OT. Shucks, music is music and good music played on different instruments than fiddles, banjo's and mandolins is not forbidden in my book Recently, Bob Minner exposed me to a Weissenborn guitar played wonderfully by an excellent musician and I was enraptured by the beauty of it. So sit back, enjoy these tunes played on a Weissenborn type guitar. They will be OT tunes. The last one was not truly a Weissenborn style but I included it anyway. Is there a place for slide guitar in OT? I think so. Why not?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Time for another Old Time Jam here in Kansas City

Interest has been shown for getting a jam together for Old Time music here in Kansas City. This time it won't be advertised for anyone to come via but will be initially limited to folks that mostly know each other in some way. If your interested please email me and sometime in January we will try to meet up and see what happens. Of course, if you play OT and want to come you may but this will not be like my last jam that we held at Shawnee Masonic Lodge. We are looking for people who want to be regular participants, more or less and want to be part of a real OT jam. There will be no Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix tunes played here btw. This is strictly OT. There is a couple who recently moved here from W. Va. who can play and really want a jam to attend and I am now ready to get back in that pond myself. I will not be the jam leader or convener this time but will do my part to help this start. Please drop me a line and let me know if your interested. Esp. Fiddlers.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Slow blogging and the holidays

It's been nearly two months since my last post. The holidays and my personal health issues have kept me from doing any posting. The recent passing of notable Old Time musicians has also saddened me and I find myself not in much of a mood for posting. I have sometimes wondered about whether I should keep doing the blog as I have shifted my own musical listening and preferences somewhat over these past three years. I must admit I don't listen to OT nearly as much as I once did. I am holding out against any permanent changes due to the real possibility this will soon reverse. I also want to maintain some kind of quality to what I post and not just put stuff up just to post. From time to time I have had to rethink what I do here and maybe I should change things up to keep it interesting to me? I have certain things I have so far failed to do with this that I still want to do. I will try to see if I can get myself off dead center to do them. I want to try to provide more historical information on OT music than I have so far. I am woefully deficient in sources other than the internet and so I will be looking at doing more research at some point. At least, this is my goal. I have also considered adding lifestyle oriented material to the content. I hope you enjoy this blog and what it offers. I want it to be worth the time and effort for you to read and for me to write. In the meanwhile, have a merry Christmas season!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Jim Lansford passed away tuesday

It is with a heavy heart that I report to you the passing of one of the Ozarks most remarkable musicians and all around remarkable person, Jim Lansford. I don't have much info right now but this is a sad day for those that knew him or saw him perform. I will update as more information becomes available. Jim had been ill for a while it seems but I was not aware of it.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Maybe not pure Old Time but it's a sweet tune

I have told ya'll before, I'll not be hard core purist about music here. On occasion I will fudge a bit if I like something. Well, here you go. I like this. They hail from around Mountain View Ar. I know nothing about them. Yet. Nice job!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

New Luthier/Guitar builder in Kansas City metro

I was recently contacted by a new guitar builder who moved to the Kansas City metro area. I will add him to the local instrument builders list today. His name is Greg Maxwell and his business name is Dogwood Guitars. Here is his website. He has a less expensive version that is affordable to someone interested in aquiring a custom built guitar with less bling and features. He also has higher end models too. His work looks good!
Greg graduated from the Galloup school of Lutherie in Michigan. He relocated his business to the KC metro for religious reasons and he lives and works in the Grandview area. As always, support your local luthiers and builders. We have some of the best there is here. We have a new addition. Check him out.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Slow blogging / politics

Sorry to be so slow here lately. I just have not had the inspiration these last couple weeks. Just a reminder that I don't do politics here ever. We are united in our love for music and specifically Old Time Music. Some of you know me from Facebook and it's there that I speak out. We all have our opinions. I still hope that we can all keep things in check when it comes to how politics affect how we all relate to each other. Things have gotten pretty sour with some people and feelings are running high with negative appraisals of the other side getting more venomous and hurtful. Just not here between you and me. Lets remember that between us politics is just another topic and not the one were here to share. Be kind to others and remember were all just people with shared dreams and hopes.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Lansfords

The Lansfords are a husband and wife team that are in my opinion are among the very best Old Time musicians in the Ozark region. I was fortunate enough to see them perform a few years back in Merriam Ks and I can't wait to see them again. Here they play an ozark fiddle tune that I love. White River. I hope to say more about them in the future. This is Old Time music in the ozarks at its best.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Random Musings

Joe Newberry won at IBMA for his song, "Singing As We Rise". Best Gospel song. Congratulations Joe! My frustration at improving my own playing caused me to just about completely stop playing for several months. I have said this before but I am resolved to get back at it again. It's terrible when you spend years struggling and your playing does not improve much. Starting the quest to play an instrument in your fifties is much harder than if your younger. The business of music continues to be a challenge to those who actually get paid to play. Especially in OT and Bluegrass. Gigs are still hard to come by from what I hear. The venues that died have not returned. Banjo Billy Mathews has a new deal where for a very very modest monthly fee you get to download tunes and have access to other benefits. I will post details on this later. I continue to discover new people and players. Trust me. You are not alone out there my Old Time friends.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

St Louis OT

St Louis Old Time music well played. I only just became aware of Roger Netherton this year. Nice player and great accompanists too!

McClurg jam video clip

I've kind of neglected things here so here is a nice clip from the McClurg jam. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fall Fiddlers Convention at Compton Ridge Campground

Michael Richwine went to the last one in the spring and really liked it and got me interested. I might well try to go to this one myself. I love good fiddling. I mean, I LOVE good fiddling. Got it?! From what I understand this is a good place to meet some fine folks and to hear that fine fiddling. Compton Ridge campground is near Branson. COMPTON RIDGE LINK I forgot! Sept 15-16

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Fine Day At the Kansas Picking and Fiddling Championships

The weather turned good at the last minute and the rains stopped and the sun emerged with it not being too hot and the music commenced with a nice turnout. They do a nice job of it every year. The flatpicking guitar contest was pretty good with some good picking. About three guitars had some really nice tone. Some were duds. I don't know who won any of the contests yet. The banjo contest was a bit disappointing. One good clawhammer player to really take note of. The fiddling contest was good. Some really nice fiddlers. I missed the mandolin contest. Here are som
I fell for the "ultimate Rueben" again. It's not. Just ok. They need more food options please!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ripley County Missouri Fiddlers, Father and Son

I lived in Ripley County Missouri back in the mid 70's and while it was only about three years, it still seems like home for me. My children still live nearby. The place seems to have a pull on me. Ripley County is a Ozark foothills area. A small part extends into the Mississippi delta. This finds a blend of the Ozark and Delta culture with the Ozark dominating. Compared to other Ozark areas, Ripley County is a bit less than spectacular with the exception of the Current River valley that cuts through it. Most of the land is rolling with few large promintories of note. I have been keeping my eye out for information on Old Time musicians from that area with a special interest in historical figures of local note. I have not been all that successful. The one exception was finding a picture and some brief information on James Franklin Sloan.(1881-1944) The other was the young man on my title box. One of the fun things that happens with doing this blog is hearing from the family members of some of the old time fiddlers I have commented on. I have heard from the Lonnie Robertson family,the Walters Family and a couple others as well. A about a week or so ago I was contacted by a granddaughter of James Franklin Sloan who has been kind enough to provide yet more information on him. I posted a bit on him previously in January of 2011. This all gets even more interesting when we see that James Sloan had a son,Lee who suceeded him with the fiddle and carried on his legacy. Here is a link to an article about him. Lee Sloan Here is a youtube of Lee with one of his fiddle students that he is backing up on guitar. I would suspect Lee picked this tune up from his Father. The teacher did well because this young lady does a fine job here I noticed what I think is a french canadian influence in this students style and I think you see it here particularly well. I would not call this missouri fiddling. I look forward to hearing Lee's fiddling to see if he retained (if he had it) the Missouri style. Or was he more in line with Tennessee? As for James Sloan, it seems he was a Barber and lived out his life at Oxly Mo. just a bit east of Doniphan and is buried at Oak Grove Cemetary with his wife. Below is a family photo taken at the family place in the thirties.
Here is another photo of James as a boy.
No recordings exist from James Sloan. He lived well before the days when folks had access to that kind of equipment to record a rural barber who played the fiddle for local folks. No youtube then. Lee Sloan however did and there are recordings that are being digitized which I hope to post here at some point. Below is a biography the family sent me. "Ernel Lee Sloan (1916 – 2010): Fiddling in His Father’s Footsteps The late Lee Sloan was considered “one of the best damn fiddlers” in Michigan Ernel Lee Sloan, commonly known as Lee, was born in 1916 in Milan, Tennessee and grew up in Southeastern Missouri.. He was the fifth child of James Franklin and Bela Sloan’s six sons and one daughter. Of Scots-Irish descent, Lee’s family was steeped in Old Time fiddle tradition. Every family member played one or more instruments. Lee readily picked up banjo, guitar, mandolin, bass and mastered what he admired most - his father’s specialty, the fiddle. He and a few of his musician siblings went on to play professionally as adults. When Lee migrated to Michigan after WWII, he took with him his fiddles and guitars and maintained the Sloan fiddling tradition. After retirement, he settled in Traverse City, Mich. where he actively participated in the Original Michigan Fiddler’s Association (OMFA), established in 1986. He became well known throughout the state for his fiddling and playing rhythm guitar at hoe-downs, jamborees, square dances and other occasions. Lee spoke often of the strong influence his father had on his fiddling style and repertoire. “My dad was the best fiddler I have ever heard,” he states in his biography for the 1986 OMFA membership directory. “If I ever sneaked his fiddle, he always seemed to know even when I was very careful to return it exactly as I found it. I still have my dad’s fiddle.” In his early 90’s, his shoulder joints hindered his ability to hold the fiddle, so he began tutoring in his Old Time style, imparting the widely recognized jigs and country ballads learned from his father. Luckily, Lee played into the digital age so that some sessions featuring him accompanying his students on guitar exist on video. One dedicated student, a local Ojibwe woman, faithfully captured the fiddle just as Lee taught her. They appeared together in duets at hoe-downs, jamborees, powwows and local radio programs, this time with his student fiddling faithfully as he taught as he played guitar. At his life’s end in September 2010 at age 94, he left behind a noteworthy legacy of the Old Time fiddle and a widespread dedicated following. The family has preserved numerous recordings of Lee Sloan’s distinctive fiddling for aficionados and learners to enjoy into perpetuity and hope to make them available soon." As they mentioned, the family still has Lee's fiddle and the still have James Franklin Sloans fiddle. I will try to get some pictures of them if possible. One source says he made one of his fiddles and the other came from Mississippi. It seems the Sloan family was a musical family. There were others that played too and I may mention them later. For my final comment, take note the common movement patterns of people.North Carolina to Tennessee to Missouri to Michigan. (long term family history pattern) The music moved this way too. Lee Sloan is a great example of the cross fertilization of the old fiddle music as it moved across the land. However, I would just bet Ripley County did not ever leave Lee's musical heart. I understand there are remaining members of the Sloan family in the Ripley county area and are in fact meeting this weekend to renew those family ties. Let me just say, Howdy ya'll! Much thanks to Pamela Sloane (she spells it different) for much of the information provided here. Thanks for contacting me!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Leo Posch booth at the Kansas Picking Championships

Leo Posch just announced he will have a booth with a number of instruments along for sale including #1 which formerly belonged to the late Roger Renfro. He hopes to get some jamming up. I will at least stop by and say hello. IMHO he is Kansas best luthier. Oh, I know there are others out there that are pretty good too. Leo is a great guy and makes some killer guitars. Stop by and check them out. I will be there for sure! I missed last year. Not this time.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Jake Hockemeyer Memorial Fiddle Contest

The Jake Hockemeyer Memorial Fiddle Contest is coming up soon. September 2, Sunday at Mokane Mo. (Jefferson City area) at the Lions Club Park. 3 pm. The following are some articles on this event. Do read. I might try to go. This first article in on Jake Hockemeyer himself who passed away in 97.By Howard Marshall. Music files too. Jake Hockemeyer. Jake Hockemeyer Memorial Fiddle Contest. This is a part of the local Lions Club Labor Day Fall Festival. See this page for more info and location. Mokane Fall Festival This sounds like a nice little event. I am considering going. I need a getaway and some good fiddle music is probably just what I need. How about you?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Hiter Colvin

Indian War Whoop I need to find out more about him. Betse Ellis cites him as one of her influences. I certainly enjoy him. UPDATE My friend Mike Luster kindly sent me this article I am linking to he wrote about Hiter Colvin a while back. Thanks Mike! Hiter Colvin

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Vesta Johnson, fiddler

Here is someone I have not posted about yet. Vesta Johnson. I will try to expand on this post later today or tonight if I can. Otherwise here is some fine playing.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cyril Stinnett because I love him.

I have not posted a clip of him in some time. Over due! I love his fiddling! He is my favorite but that's a hard on because I also like so many more.

Travis Inman and Charlie Walden Jam

Two of the finer fiddlers around. Missouri boys. Great examples of Missouri fiddling. IMHO.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Shape Note Singing at Mt View Arkansas Folk Center

I believe in the Lord Jesus and along with that I love old timey gospel singing like shape note singing. This nearly lost but recovered art form can reap a rich harvest from the effort applied. I feel the calling of God's love in this music. I hope and pray you do to. There is joy and peace found in resting in His love and grace. I wish I could sing.

A little Dulcimer music please.

No info available here. I do try to credit if I can.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championships coming soon!

This is coming soon. I won't miss this one! If you live nearby, be sure and attend this one and show your support to the fine folks that put this on. Great music under lots of shade.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Blog malfunction

Seems to be my turn for a blog malfunction. One of my postings seems to have lost it's title and is blending in with a later post on Cousin Emmy. Don't quite know how to fix this. I have heard that others have glitches like this on occasion. Bear with me here.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

New Old Time Band in SW Mo.

Jeremy Myers, Brooke Barksdale and Dylan Barber have formed a new old timey band entitled, "Pepper Sauce Alley". I don't have any video or sound clips yet but will post some when they come available. I am looking forward to hearing them. They are based in SW Missouri. Here is their link. Check it out. Pepper Sauce Alley

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Singing As We Rise

Here is Joe Newberry and Mike Compton performing Joe's song, "Singing As We Rise". I love a good gospel tune and this is one.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

What is it? Bluegrass or Old Time?

This was recorded in 1940 about six years before Bluegrass was considered to have begun with Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys with Flatt and Scruggs as members. This sure sounds like Bluegrass to me and it is a reminder that no one person every really invents anything. There are lots of hands on any plow but not all are seen. Check it out. Cousin Emmy in 1940. I did not worry so much about who was playing this tune today but wanted to just talk about how different OT and Bluegrass is OR is NOT that different when it comes to OT songs. The first clip is an example of strong OT musicianship. Now lets look at some bluegrassers doing the song. The most obvious difference is the banjo style. First one is clawhammer, the second is three finger style. Simple to figure this out. The use of a Dobro is the other change. Now, here is a classic example of OT again on the banjo. Not much differnce between all of them really. That's why I try not to draw too sharp a line between Bluegrass and Old Timey here. I can tell you that in the Ozarks especially, the lines get blurred a lot with most folks playing Bluegrass first and OT more of a second interest. Here in the Kansas City area the lines are not as blurred. The OT folks tend to stick to OT and the Bluegrass folks tend to stick to BG with a little crossover from time to time. Now, here in this clip you have the fiddler jazz it up a bit. Still, he stays close to the melody but has his little moment of improv which some people seem to love. I am less fond of that as I go on. I could have found and used some other clips that had BG folks going nuts but that would be less common. Just sayin...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Andy Griffith remembered here for music

I posted about the music on The Andy Griffith show once before and while most of it had a bluegrass flavor, not all of it was bluegrass. Once in a while the songs were real old time but jazzed up just a tad with a little bluegrass flavor. Rather than quibble about technicalities, I chose to remember Andy Griffith as a nice man who brought some Old Timey sensibilities and music to America's living rooms. For a lot of people this was their first introduction to hillbilly music of a real kind and not that "Nashville Sound" stuff. Andy grew up in the real appalacians small town world and certainly was not a phoney. At least in as much as we can know any actor or celebrity. I will miss him but his show remains and the music he showcased. Dang it all, but he done good! I would like to think he's up with the Lord now just a waitin for us to knock on that day so he can hollar out, "Ya'll come on in, take your shoes off and stay a spell".

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sunday, June 17, 2012

More Billy Mathews

I can never get enough of Banjo Billy Mathews. Here is a recent performance at a dance at Urbana Il. with Christine Breen, Suzi Vause,Paul Breen. I can't get enough.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Jeremy Myers on the banjo

Jeremy Myers lives in rural SW Missouri and plays the fiddle, guitar and banjo. He only started on the banjo about a year or so ago and he plays pretty darn good in my opinion. Here is a nice clip where he plays a tune he wrote. I think he is a fine songwriter. This tune is particularly good Jeremy.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Doc Watson

If you have not heard....Doc Watson's family has been summoned to his bedside at the hospital in North Carolina. This is sad sad news. Doc Watson is a beloved musician throughout the land and the world. I know the Lord will have his arms around him when that long journey home starts. A few days ago he was hospitalized and his colon removed. A follow up procedure later apparently did not go well for him and now the outlook is grim.
UPDATE, 5-29-2012 Arthel "Doc" Watson passed away. It is a sad sad day. We lost a jewel of great price. A human treasure. Farewell Doc. THIS LAST CLIP OF DOC AND BILL MONROE PLAYING SALLY GOODIN IS A GEM. MUST SEE!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Noah Musser playing at Lawrence recently

I really enjoy listening to Noah Musser play banjo. He is a fantastic musician who plays with the local Lawrence Ks based Prairie Acre band. Here is a recent performance in Lawrence. We don't have to hang our heads here in the midwest when it comes to wonderfully played OT.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Joe Newberry, Missouri born and bred

I have not posted about Joe Newberry yet because I had not been thinking of him in the context of our region but I remembered that he was born and raised in Missouri. In fact, we are good friends with his cousin. He lives in North Carolina and has for some time I think. He is an awesome musician that plays with Mike Compton, my favorite mandolin player period. So I think he merits a mention here. My earlier posts pointed out that he is playing in St Louis tomorrow night. Go see him. It will be a special treat. Update. Let me be clear, I am a big fan of Joe Newberry. He says he is coming to perform in KC this Fall. More updates on that later. I am excited to be able to see him perform. UPDATE 7-5-12 JOE IS COMING TO KC FOR A WORKSHOP ONLY. NO PERFORMANCE! HOWEVER, I WILL PROBABLY GET TO MEET HIM. MORE LATER.

Compton Ridge Fiddlers Convention this weekend

I have been remiss in posting about this. I have never been. Maybe next year. It's at the Compton Ridge Campground in Branson. A bit more info can be found here Fiddlers Convention

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Colin Blair and the Rootdiggers

Colin Blair and The Rootdiggers are also coming to The Focal Point in June 8th. They are called "the most popular OT group in St Louis" and I can believe that! See the last post for info on The Focal Point. I might be able to go!
The The Rootdiggers Be sure and visit the site and see them perform. Real real nice. Yes, real nice.

St Louis area events this weekend you will want to consider

Joe Newberry and Mike Compton are playing in St Louis area friday.(May 18) I would go if I could but I can't. This one would be worth driving to from KC or more. These two fellows are the creme de la creme of OT musicians. They are playing at The Focal Point which is located in Maplewood. Focal Point Nearby, the same night is the Great Big Yam Potatoes Old Time music gathering and fiddle contest.
These are two fantastic events that you should be thinking of attending. I sure wish I could. GO!!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

"The only gal I ever loved was down in Arkansas"

I have been remiss in not posting about ballad singers. There don't seem to be anyone doing this anymore and I think the ozarkian culture has pretty much forgotten this ancient folk art of ballad singing. There may be a small handful still trying it but I don't thing there are anyone doing it who grew up doing it having learned it from their elders and neighbors. I hope I'm wrong about this. Maybe there is some small hollow out there in Arkansas where folks have always been there and still do this but unknown to the rest of the world? I can hope so but I doubt it. So much has changed, hasn't it?! You can see the album it comes from which I was not aware of but will have to get. I wonder if it's still available? These were Alan Lomax recordings. I will try to do an update when I find out more about these recordings.

Missouri and Old Time music.

I once lived just a few miles north of where these folks are over at Norwood Mo. I used to go down to Douglas County all the time to fish the Bryant Creek. It's a beautiful place. I have wanted to include things like this about the beauty of the Ozarks along with the music and the folk culture. I hope to do more of this in the future. This clip comes from the same folks who did the video in the last posting. On Youtube they are called, "Echos of the Ozarks". This clip shows a visit to the Topaz Mill with some fine banjo picking towards the end. I call this soothing. Be soothed.

More Missouri Banjo

Don "Whyteman" (?) on banjo and Linda Jo "Bassora" on guitar playing "HALF PAST FOUR" They do a real nice job on this. I don't know their new real names. If you know this info comment please.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The multi talented Nathan Lee McAlister on banjo

I am about speechless here. Nathan is so talented. He has that special gift for this music. It's something I think your born with. Why have I not heard of him until this year?!!!! I don't often gush on about someone unless it's Cyril Stinnett or Lonnie Robertson or Bob Holt who are all gone now. Well, Nathan goes on my favorites list and he didn't have to die to do it. Enjoy this sampling he did with him on banjo. I sure did. You will be seeing much more about him here. Old Time music in the Ozarks is alive and well and it's young. Hallelujah!

Holy Cow! Nathan Lee McAlister, SW Mo Fiddler!

This young man can FIDDLE! He is a recent discovery on Facebook and buddy, he is fast becoming a favorite of mine. I love how he plays. He "has it". You know what I'm talking about. He's got that way with the instrument that just makes it sing. The tune is excellent for him here. I posted about him once a couple weeks ago and intended to do more this weekend and so, here it is. I am really excited about this young man's playing. If he plays this well at this stage of life, what will he be like when he's in his fifties? You never know. All I know is, I get that same feeling listening to him as when I hear Cyril Stinnett. That, my friends says a lot. Here his is playing JOHN BROWNS DREAM.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Just a reminder about what/who I post about

If you have not noticed, my intentions are for this blog to be regional. It's to showcase and illuminate the Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas area and the folks that play there. This is mostly but not exclusively about Ozark folk music, fiddle tunes and more broadly, Missouri valley fiddle music and Kansas style frontier and Old Timey music. I live in the Kansas City metro region on the Kansas side. This is where I live and this is where it all comes together for me. This means this is a wide area to cover. I will only very rarely say much about the Appalachian area here. I won't be posting much about musicians from there unless there is a tie to the area here. I think we deserve more attention than we get. I wrote this so you will understand the blog a bit better. In case you were wondering.


It's not lost on me how ironic the role of the internet is in building community and expanding horizons and networks in Old Time Music. The goal of this blog was to search out and discover what was out there and to share this with you, my dear readers. It has been a fascinating journey and I have found out a great deal about what and who is out there. I continue to keep finding new folks in our broader region and I give credit to FaceBook for much of it. This is a community with many viewpoints. Some are Bluegrassers who also are into a little Old Time and then there are the hard core Old Time people that won't touch Bluegrass with a ten foot pole. There is a lot of ground in between. Some are liberals, some are quite conservative, some are counterculture types and others are traditional conventional folks. I think most of us try hard to keep the focus on the music we love. I think were still trying to avoid the lines drawn in the sand over outside issues but it's getting a bit harder to do given the climate. I hope you ponder this and perhaps you will gather yourself up for more paitence and acceptance of others as we share this great cultural pearl of great price. I recently discovered that folks with a different point of view can be much more accepting and mature than you might have assumed. I think mutual respect and simple human decency can carry us far. These are hard times. Community is more important than ever.

More Adam Yount and George Eye, Blackberry Blossom

Nice job!

Adam Yount flatpicking his original tune

Adam is a St Louis area musician I recently became friended on FaceBook. This is a real nice tune he is playing on his "guitar" that he composed. I would like to learn that one myself. See what you think. I think you will enjoy this. As I keep saying, this is what makes our music alive and not just museum work.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"Fort Smith"

Here is a nice little session that Rachel Luster has shared with me that I want you all to see. They are playing "Fort Smith". The musicians are Don Reed on guitar, Cliff Bryan on fiddle and Roger Williams on fiddle. This was filmed at Cliff Bryan's home in West Plains Mo. recently. Thanks to Rachel Luster for this clip! Perhaps Rachel will share more? Hint hint!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Jeremy Myers at Mountain View Ar.

Blue Mule played at Mountain View Ar. recently. Well done. Of course there were others there too but I can't tell you who they are yet. I have been following Jeremy's playing for several years now and he is getting gooder all the time. Good for you Jeremy.

Bob Minner, flatpicker

I don't know why but I only recently discovered Bob Minner. I was vaguely aware of him but had never really focused on him until recently. He is a very fine flatpicker that I enjoy. Bob and I share the Reformed Christian faith which delights me. He seems to play a lot of Bourgeois guitars and these are indeed wonderful instruments. I said some months ago I would post more flatpicking guitar work and so, here it is. In recent years, the virtuosity of these highly accomplished musicians led them to ornament the tunes up a bit beyond the traditional versions of the old fiddle tunes. You can't blame these folks for "jazzing" up the tunes to make them more interesting to play. So, this will often lead them a bit off the hard core OT track. Even Doc Watson has gone down that road. Often, these great flatpickers will start out the tune keeping fairly close to the traditional arrangement and later take off on looser improvisations. You may or may not appreciate this. For me, it depends on how close they stick to the melody and just how loose it gets. When they cut away from the melody too far and it becomes a kind of noise, I am lost. I look for a strong melody in all music. I just may go flatpicking posting crazy today. We will see. Here is Bob Minner who now lives in Tennessee but is from Missouri. His Missouri roots gets a special consideration for posting on here. See what you think. I put him in the upper crust of flatpickers out there. I had seen this clip of him playing "Ole Hoss", Doc's old guitar long ago. He makes it sing. This last one is a demonstration of his new JOM from Bourgious which I think just "rings like a bell". Just a super sounding guitar and looks great. (I have no connection to the maker nor do I profit from it) IF YOUR TRYING TO FIGURE WHICH TUNE TO LISTEN TO AND DON'T WANT TO LISTEN TO THEM ALL, THIS IS THE MOST TRADITIONAL ARRANGEMENT.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

My new FB friend playing "Last Chance" on banjo

Nathan McAlister playing this and it's really nice. He is a recent addition to my FaceBook friend list. He is in his early twenties and lives in Neosho Mo. (SW Mo) As I have often said, I LOVE CLAWHAMMER STYLE! More later

Monday, April 23, 2012

Run Little Rabbit, "new" group in Kansas City Ks

I have been meaning to post about these young women for some time now. They are based out of KC KS. I like them. They are not hard core OT. Beyond this, I won't try to categorize them until I know more about them. I count them a worthy addition to the local music scene. I enjoy what they do. I would bet they are fun to jam with. Here are some examples of their work. You can learn more about them at their website. Ya'll stop on by! Hear! Run Little Rabbit SEE!!!! There IS some good Old Time music being made in KC!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

"Nancy Till" by Carl Anderton

Carl Anderton is a local banjo player who specializes in truly old songs but not necessarily Appalachian or Ozarkian. I did not plan on posting about Carl this evening but he just posted this gem and I really enjoyed it. I hope you do too.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Stringband Rendezvous at Clinton Lake near Lawrence Ks

It's nearly that time again for Stringband Rendezvous at a campground at Clinton Lake just a couple miles from Lawrence Kansas. the dates are May 18,19,20th. This apparently will be one of those years where there are not that many bands playing. Recent past years have seen a much larger band participation. There seems to be a down trend. I hope whatever is causing that turns around. This is a worthy event to attend. For one thing, it's not just about watching bands perform. There is some pretty good jamming that goes on with some really fine musicians joining in. As for me, I don't think I will try to spend the night this year but I will be sure to attend this year. Be sure to sign up to volunteer or if not be ready to contribute ten bucks a day or $25 all weekend or $20 for Saturday and Sunday. This is being done out of the dedication of Garry Bury and I know he is not exactly getting rich off this. I am sure it's quite the opposite. Be sure and visit the website for all the information you will need to find the place and for everything else. Stringband Rendezvous Now, as to OT content, I cannot say exactly as the usual OT bands are not playing this year. One group you will want to see (I do is Three Trails West, the group Garry Bury is in. This is cowboy/western music and I enjoy that alot. After all this is Kansas! We have to bend the OT category a bit that direction you know. I hope I see you there. I plan on going Saturday. Lets hope it does not rain!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

More Arkansas Fun! This perked me up!

From last years Arkansas Fiddlers Convention

I am quite tired tonight but I wanted to post something. I like this one with the flatpicking guitar on it. Nice job all round. Andy Sizemore on guitar but no idea who else. I wish I could say who they were. I like the banjo work a lot. I have heard another Arkansas banjo player with a similar style and I like it a lot. A lot!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

"Are you a music person?"

Bill Crahan asked me this question, or rather, had been asking it of himself about me as we were in the midst of a lesson some years ago. I was struggling just learning chords and while I had lots of enthusiasm, my abilities were rather modest and the question here was, did I speak the language of music and did I hear it like a "music person" does. I have tried hard to answer that question over the years. Bill said he did not know. Having once been through extensive psychological evaluation for an occupation I no longer follow, I eventually put some thoughts together about this. For me it will be "yes" and "no". I am not a classic "music person" like so many musicians I know who have the sound within them. For me the sound comes from without. In that way I am not like them. I lack creativity. I would like to be creative but alas, I am not. I do know, the music lives within me strongly. It's a part, a big part, of the language of my life. Apart from music I would be like a person lacking the ability to understand the world in the same way a blind man cannot see or a deaf person cannot hear. I do believe that part of the problem I have is that I never learned the "language" and as I progress in my attempts to play, I begin to catch on more and more. I believe it's true that you can learn much of what it takes to become a "Music Person". Probably not all but much. So now, I'm asking you. Are you a music person?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Fire Fest?

I had not heard of this event. New Haven Mo. Hmmm. I will check this out.

Some nice banjo pickin over in Morgan County Mo.

I enjoy a nice banjo played like this. I can't much enjoy that Scruggs style as much anymore as it's far too loud for me now. (I do mourn the passing of Earl Scruggs though)

Dog Treed a Possum up a White Oak Tree.

I really like this tune and stumbled on this when I thought I was done for the night. Banjo Billy Mathews was in this group. The YouTube clip explains where and when. I am going to absolutely learn this tune this weekend. Right after I fix my rear brakes and visit the Father in law in the nursing home.

More St Louis OT

I was trolling for some St Louis stuff this evening and hit a rich vein. I really like this tune a lot. I don't know anything about the folks playing here and I tried to find out more. Nice playing.

Interesting documentary on St Louis OT musician

Here is a short piece on Ryan Spearman who I had not heard of yet. Check it out.

Shout Lulu by "The Lulu's"

I stumbled on this clip by a St Louis area group. I like it just fine. I hope you enjoy it too. I enjoyed this so much I went looking for more and here is another piece I like a lot too. They have a nice spirit don't you think. More St Louis Old Time goodness.

Cyril Stinnett photo

I stole this photo off Charlie Walden's FaceBook page a few days ago and am posting it for your benefit. As you know, Cyril rates high in my book as a fiddler.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Events page

I set up the events page a while back but have not done anything with it. Well, it's time I did. Later this week I hope to organize it better, There is one Bluegrass event posted now. I don't mind posting BG events there but I am unsure about the main page. Like I say, I will include a little Bluegrass content here on occasion. I just love the stuff, what can I say?! So be sure to check it out on occasion. I do plan to make a number of posts this week on upcoming events. Some good ones are coming soon.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Stringband Rendezvous 2012 May, 18,19,20

It's soon time for Stringband Rendezvous at Clinton Lake near Lawrence Kansas this May 18,19,20. The link will take you to their site. I missed last year but will definitely go this year. I may not camp out but have not made up my mind. This is a wonderful event to attend. It's strictly NOT commercial, there are no vendors and it's about the music. The after concert jams are amazing and some really good musicians attend and play. So far only two bands are signed up. Usually many more play. I hope I see you all there! Stringband Rendezvous Check out the website for more information.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Betse Ellis again. In the spirit of Hartford Old Time

I like Old Time done in the same spirit that John Hartford had. Of course, it's slightly off the traditional manner but really not by much as far as I'm concerned. They are having fun. I stole this from Betse's FaceBook page. I kind a liked her singing too! Music is about fun and good times and they are having it here. Betse reports her bliss playing the tune with these fellows that I do not know. She is a gem and she lives in Kansas City. Lucky lucky us. Really, I mean that. Keep it going Betse!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Another clip from the McClurg Jam with Bob Holt and Liz Amos playing.

Thanks to Jeremy Myers who got it from a friend. Whoever that is. Maybe Liz Amos?

Jonathan Trawick, Fiddlin Arkansas

I stumbled onto Jonathan Trawick online a few years ago and I am so glad I did. I have yet to meet him in person yet but I fully expect to someday. He is a really nice young man in Arkansas doing his best to promote and play Old Timey music. I am no expert on him but what I do know is, he plays guitar (Gibson) as a backup for fiddlers and bands and teaches same. If your looking for instruction, he is someone you should consider. I believe he does them in person as well as Skype. Here he is from an interview on Public Television in Little Rock. Here he is playing with Dale Morris Jr. Here is another from the same concert. Texas style I would say. Not my favorite style that btw but good all the same. I don't post much Texas style here. Get it while you can. His website is "Fiddlin Arkansas" Go check it out.

Tricia Spencer fiddler for The Prairie Acre band is recording a CD

Tricia Spencer, fiddler with The Prairie Acre band, a well known Lawrence Kansas Old Time group, is recording a CD and it's due to be released in june. Of course, we will all want a copy won't we! I certainly will be buying one. Here is a link to her page on Kickstarter which is an effort to raise the funds to be able to do this project. Donate if you can. If you donate at least $20 you receive a CD. No, it's not a bargain per se but you get to help a very deserving musician. Otherwise, wait till it's out and buy it. Here is the Kickstart site. Visit and check it out. Donate!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bob Walters

I have been listening to Bob Walters the well known (at least among the fiddlers) fiddler from Nebraska, and realized how much I liked him. Some of his recordings have terrible quality to them and they sound harsh but this time I found myself really enjoying his playing a great deal. I would encourage you to check him out and see what I am talking about. If you have been reading this blog long, I came close to visiting his gravesite in Nebraska a couple years ago but the camera quit working and I ran out of time on that road trip and could not make it. One day, I hope to. I will try to post more about him in the future. One point I want to make is how I have discovered...or realized how evolutionary my tastes and ears are when it comes to fiddlers and recordings. My early introduction to Walters found me lacking in real enjoyment. I could see that he was a highly skilled player but I did not really care for his work. Now it seems I do. Does this happen to you too?

Ray Curbow on the fiddle

Ray Curbow is a missouri ozark fiddler you can hear on the excellent "Traditional Fiddle music of the Ozarks" CD's. This is the first video I have seen of him. I swiped this from a facebook friend who posted it. Enjoy! If I can find out more about him, I will update this later. Oh, and that's BH Tate on the guitar and doing a fine job backing Mr Curbow up.

Friday, February 17, 2012

McClurg jam 1998

I stole this video from Jeremy Myers who got it from a friend. This is from the McClurg jam in 1998. Bob Holt, Alvie Doom can be seen, that I can identify. Not sure about others. Nice nice tune! I love it. Liz Amos is listed on the clip title. To think that I lived in Norwood just up the road from old Bob Holt and Alvie Dooms and had no idea about it! Jehosaphat! Enjoy! Thanks Jeremy Myers. Oh, by the way. This is the real deal. Don't ya know!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Betse Ellis

I reviewed Betse Ellis' 09 CD release back in the first year of this blog. I consider her a killer fiddler and remarkable performer. I did not like parts of her CD but there were three solid OT tunes that I really enjoyed. It's not that she did a bad job. No, it was just that some of the tunes were not OT and just outside my interest. I presume you know that she is the fiddler for the well known group, "The Wilders". I have not been able to catch the Wilders for a few years now and have not been very current on Betse Ellis and her playing. She still lives in the Kansas City metro area and teaches fiddle when not performing or touring. She is a very talented and skilled player that I enjoy very much and have been remiss in talking about her so little. I also need to speak about The Wilders more than I have as well. They, like Betse are not exclusively OT but when they do they just kill it. Here is Betse at a local venue this last fall. Here she is playing "White River", one of my favorites. Does a great job on it too. Really really fine job. I just love it. Of course, it's Betse's call but the next CD, I hope she does it just Old Timey. She is a wonderful musician and someone worthy of your time and attention. Buy her CD. See her play if you can. I will make an effort to do so myself. She will be playing at Davey's Uptown Ramblers club on broadway, in KC on Feb 16th. Check it out

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Dr. Smith's Champion Hoss Hair Pullers

Dr. Smiths Champion Hoss Hair Pullers were a group based around Calico Rock Arkansas back in the twenties. The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture has an article about these folks you should read. I am trying to be more sensitive to others copyrights and credit so I am referring you directly to them. This is "Going Down The River" I have to get down to Calico Rock soon Beautiful place.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Trustin Baker on the fiddle. Junior Marriot seconds. Pure bliss

From time to time I see something like this that just fills my heart with wonder and bliss. Seeing this young man fiddle with such skill and being accompanied by Junior Marriot on that old guitar made my day. The young man on the fiddle is Trustin Baker. I will be sure to post more about him now that I know about him. Folks, this is what flips my dipper, as the little woman says. I know the legacy will go on. Here is one young un who will carry that torch. In the year 2100, White River and Wolves a Howlin will still be played in Douglas Co. Mo.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

New feature. Audio/movie clips Luke Highnight's Ozark Strutters

This was my first attempt at making a "movie". It's a tad rough but it works well enough to use. This is a track of Luke Highnight's Ozark Strutters" playing "Walk Along John". I really really really like this group. I love that fiddle and the banjo works good too. This groups playing really talks to me. I just posted someone else's clip the last post and from now on they will be mine. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Luke Highnights Ozark Strutters

As I have often said, I have a real interest in Old Timey music and muscisians from the Ozark region and more broadly, the state of Missouri and the Missouri river valley. The Ozark region more specifically is my greatest interest. I include Arkansas, parts of Oklahoma and parts of Missouri in this Ozark catagory. Of course, I love the Appallacians and that OT music as well but I tend to find I just find more interest in the Ozarks because I once lived there and knew and felt the culture more intimately. I fell in love with the Ozarks as a young man still in high school visiting from Yankee land, so as to see a girlfriend. After I left the Army in 73, my wife, that former girlfriend, and I, moved to Southern Missouri so I could be in a good place that made me happy with hills and rivers and creeks to explore and deer, squirrels and coons to hunt. Old Time music has deep roots there. Some real fine musicians rose up there. Some became famous, like Jimmy Driftwood. Most remained unknown and obscure. Back in the twenties, as recorded music began to be commercially available with devices to replay recordings in wider circulation,a number of OT groups were recruited to provide music for these small recording companies. You see, media always needs content, then as well as today. So here was a ready source of semi pro mostly amateur content providers. Because of this we have a cluster of really fine old recordings from the twenties that reveal some really really good playing. Playing that does not give up anything to what we have today. Some of this playing and the jam like groove they could get into remains a benchmark for really fine OT playing. It was music that was alive. It was music you could get excited about and we still do get excited about. It was dance music mostly. Folks got happy feet when they heard it and wanted to get up and do some steppin! Unless you were Baptist or Pentecostal then you probably would have to be real careful about such things as that! We think of OT music as a wholesome activity today but back in that day the fiddle still had the taint of Old Satan haloed around the sound hole and Corn Liqueur was on the breath of many of the fellows that were on that dance floor. People never really change. We think were all different now but we really are not. Well, I wanted to share this clip as a great example of how good OT could be in the Ozarks. This is one of my favorite groups from that period and I think they are fantastic. I am going to work on researching some of these groups this coming year and share what I can with you. It's also interesting that many of them are Arkansas folks. I really want to explore more history here than I have. Charlie Walden has done a fantastic job on his site and I would always refer you there first. I plan to explore the Arkansas groups and players this year. Let's see how well that goes. I hope you enjoy this clip. I love the group.
The Highnight family has some real deep roots in Arkansas. Let's find out some more info on them shall we?! According to one of the living descendents, they were a musical family.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"Keeping the Tradition Alive in Little Dixie"

I thought I had mentioned this little movie/film but I could not find where I had. This is a very nice little film on the Old Time fiddle music in the Little Dixie part of Missouri. It's well worth your time to watch. Here is the link so you can watch. "Keeping The Tradition Alive in Little Dixie" UPDATE: Sadly, about the first 16 minutes can be viewed and then it stops. It's still worth watching. It had been a long time since I last viewed it.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A bit more than two years now

I failed to take notice at the exact time but I realized today it's been two years since I started this blog. It's had it's ups and downs and slow periods. It still seems to be worthwhile and I hope you find it interesting. Looking back on what I have here, I think overall it is helpful for someone wanting more information on Old Time here in the heartland. There are clusters of folks all around but you may not know about them. You can hear about them here. I don't say I am an expert and not everything I say you will agree with. But you will hear about folks you probably did not know about. I also want to build on what Charlie "Possum" Walden has done and help some people get the recognition they deserve.