The Old-Time Herald Volume 7, Number 6

Here & There by John Currie


The 27th Blue Ridge Folklife Festival at Ferrum College, Ferrum, VA took place on Oct. 28 and included among others, Doc Watson with Richard Watson, Jeff Little, Wayne Henderson, Kirk Sutphin, Joe Ayers, Kinney Rorrer, and Bob Carlin.

The Berkeley Free Folk Festival will take place Nov. 18 at the Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center in Berkeley, CA. Musicians include Charlie Blacklock & Art Peterson, David Gans, Larry Hanks, Laurie Lewis, Marc Silber, Danny Torres, and many more. Info:; 510-376-6135.

Artists & Agents

Ira Bernstein will be touring on the continent for six months. Check out his Web site: for his schedule.

Paul and Win Grace’s touring schedule includes: Columbia, MO (Nov. 17 and Jan. 19) dance held at First Christian Church, 10th & Walnut, info: 573-874-2792; Columbia, MO (Mar. 20-23), info: 573-449-4536,; Topeka, KS (Mar. 31), info: 785-231-1010, ext. 1399, Stephanie Mickelson. Leela and Ellie Grace’s touring schedule includes: Columbia, MO (Dec. 31), info: 573-874-7460; Updated calendars for the Graces can be found on their web site:

Lilianne Labb’, Donna Hebert and Tom Hodgson [La Soirée Franco-Americaine] are returning to the South next winter and spring from approximately Feb 1 through March 15, and would like to offer their Franco-American music and dance programs again to past sponsors. They are also available for fiddle, guitar, and dance band workshops, and are available for contradances with local callers. Their Web site has descriptions of the programs offered to schools, colleges, culture/arts/folk music and dance organizations, at

Robin & Linda Williams’ fall dates include: Nov. 11-12-Wings and Strings Festival, Polk City, FL, info: 888-305-1208; Nov. 17-Common Fence Community Hall, Portsmouth, RI, info: 401-683-5085; Nov. 18-Whitney Chapel, Hackettstown, NJ, info: 877-595-2637; Nov. 19-Tin Angel, Philadelphia, PA, info: 215-928-0978.

Skip Gorman’s touring schedule includes: (Thurs): New London, NH (Nov 16), info: 603-526-6749; Springfield, MA (Dec 9), info: 413-562-3990. Check his Web site at

In Print, In School & On the Net

A new electronic publication is preserving a part of American heritage once only passed down through stories and songs. Patrick Costello and his father and business partner drive around in a classic car with a banjo, guitar, and camera, stopping in at towns along the way to see if they can find some master musicians. The Costellos film the musicians as they offer advice, talk about their lives, and play their blues, bluegrass, or old-time country music. The video is then loaded onto a CD-ROM and sent to subscribers as The Down Neck Gazette, a quarterly publication focusing on all aspects of acoustic music. The first issue has just been completed and features 11 stories of musicians from North Carolina, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Info:

Richard D. Smith’s new book, Can’t You Hear Me Callin’: The Life of Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass (Little, Brown & Co.) was reviewed by Terry Teachout in the New York Times book section on Sept. 17.

Ted Sims has updated his old-time music Web site to include recent upcoming events:

Recordings, Instruments, & Labels

The Berea College Appalachian Sound Archive is part of Hutchins Library’s Department Special Collections and Archives. The holdings include many examples of traditional music and includes the likes of Norman Burky, Walker Calhoun, Blanche Coldiron, Roger Cooper, Clyde Davenport, Phillip Kazee, Will Keys, Walter McNew, Phoebe Parsons, Jean Ritchie, Nat Reese, Doc Roberts, Doug Wallin, Red Wilson, Melvin Wine, Blind Dick Burnett, Asa Martin, Buell Kazee, Bradley Kincaid, Lily May Ledford, Fiddlin’ Doc Roberts, Jimmy Driftwood, Marion Sumner, and many others. The Archive is located in the Department of Special Collections and Archives of Berea College’s Hutchins Library. Hours are 9:00-12:00 and 1:00-5:00 Monday through Friday. Calling or writing in advance to arrange for use of Archive material will allow staff to give optimum attention to each research request. Info: Harry S. Rice, Sound Archivist, Hutchins Library Department of Special Collections and Archives, Berea College, Berea, KY 40404; 606-985-3249; A Web page that includes a description of the Archive materials is close to being activated.

Acie Cargill has a new CD out, Family Gathering, on Cobwebs recordings. Originally made at a family gathering around 1960, with Acie playing banjo, it has been recently digitally overdubbed with fiddle, bass, mandolin, and vocals. Info:;

Saga Musical Instruments, PO Box 2841, South San Francisco, CA 94080, announces their new product, the RD-2 Regal Duolian metal body guitar.


The Country Song and Dance Society has an opening for a full-time Financial and Systems Manager. This person must have experience in financial management and computerized accounting systems. Experience in managing computer and database systems would also be helpful. The successful candidate will be self-motivated and have strong management, organizational and interpersonal skills. We provide a competitive nonprofit-level salary and a benefits package that includes health, disability, pension, holidays, vacation, and sick days. They are soliciting applications through December 1, with the expectation that work will start in early January 2001. For a detailed job description, please contact: Linda Henry, Country Dance and Song Society, PO Box 338, Haydenville, MA 01039; 413-268-7426 x105;

On the Air

On Sept. 24, the CBS "Sunday Morning News" show hosted a short feature about Pat Conte and his Secret Museum. Pat’s home/museum is unique—over 50,000 78 rpm records, and many strange and wonderful artifacts.

Sessions & Jams

El Chilango, a Mexican restaurant and community center, operated by Jacques Menache, is hosting an old-time music night every Thursday in Carrboro, NC. Host band starts at 8 PM followed by jamming or open mike. Flatfoot dancers welcome. No taps please. Info: 919-929-6218;


The contest results from the Appalachian String Band Festival at Clifftop, WV include: Fiddle: Kirk Sutphin (1), Garry Harrison (2), Geoff Seitz (3), Mike Bryant (4), Stephanie Coleman (5); Youth Fiddle: Stephanie Coleman (1), Zack Fanok (2), Matt Brown (3); Senior Fiddle: Elmer Rich (1), Lefty Shafer (2), J.P. Fraley (3); Banjo: Brian Fain (1), Adam Hurt (2), Lynn Smith (3), Don Sarrell (4), Kirk Sutphin (5); Youth Banjo: Stephanie Coleman (1), Katherine Gura (2), Joanna Hartness (3); Senior Banjo: Don Sarrell (1), Eugene Parsons (2), Marvin Gaster (3); Traditional Band: New Dixie Entertainers (1), Flying Elephant (2), Rhythm Rats (3), New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters (4), Mule Team (5); Non-Traditional Band: The Marzaks (1), Synch-O-Therapy (2), The Hix (3), Almost Famous (4), Greasy Coat Super Stars (5); Old-Time Flat Foot Dance (15-): Andrea Edwards (1), Emily Johnson Erday (2), Audrey Sibley (3); Old-Time Flat Foot Dance (16-49): Ira Bernstein (1), Sarah Westhues (2), Andy Edmonstone (3); Old-Time Flat Foot Dance (50+): Marilyn Branch (1), Charlie Burton (2), Karen Singleton (3).

Winners of the Fries (VA) Fiddlers Convention include: Old-Time Fiddle: Greg Hooven (1), James Burris (2), Richard Bowman (3), Brian Grim (4), Eddie Bond (5); Old-Time Banjo: Marsha Bowman (1), Joey Burris (2), Brian Fain (3), Nancy Sluys (4), Trish Kilby (5); Autoharp: JoAnn Redd (1), John Hollandsworth (2), Bobby Roberts (3), Evelyn Farmer (4), Peter Evans (5); Folk Song: Gary Isenhour (1), Danny Boyd (2), Ray Cline (3), Johnny Vipperman (4), Jimmy Trivette (5); Dulcimer: Gin Burris (1), Jerry Skarie (2), Jim Lloyd (3), Katie Hollandsworth (4), Bill Blackwell (5); Dance (16-): Justin Jackson (1), Katie Rankin (2), Kelly Roberts (3), Amber Rankin (4), Tina Vaughan (5); Dance (17+): Michael Sexton (1), Marsha Bowman (2), Barbara Bowman (3), Harold Smith (4), Faye Roberts (5); Old-Time Band: Southern Pride (1), New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters (2), Blue Ridge Mountain Ramblers (3), Old-Time Tradition (4), Slate Mountain Ramblers (5).

Winners of the Galax (VA) Old Fiddlers Convention (first 5 places) include: Old-Time Fiddle: Greg Hooven (1), James Burris (2), Eddie Bond (3), Jerry Correll (4), Richard Bowman (5); Dulcimer: John Renwick (1), Ashby Frank (2), Sharon Boyd (3), Jack Blankenship (4), David Cannaday (5); Old-Time Banjo: Peco Watson (1), Trish Kilby (2), Nancy Sluys (3), Jim Lloyd (4), Marsha Bowman (5); Autoharp: John Hollandsworth (1), Drew Smith (2), Glenna Anderson (3), Gilbert Suitt (4), Ronnie Burroughs (5); Folk Song: Leslie Dunbar (1), Mary Wolfe (2), Jimmy Trivette (3), Dale Morris (4), Marcie Home (5); Dance: Robb Burris (1), Daniel Butner (2), Patsy Bowers (3), Michael Sexton (4), Kimberly Watson (5); Old-Time Band: New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters (1), Southern Pride (2), Old-Time Tradition (3), Blue Ridge Mountain Ramblers (4), Smokey Valley Boys (5); Best All-Around Performer: Wayne Henderson and Greg Hooven tied; Youth Old-Time Fiddle: Erika Godfrey (1), Monroe Lowe (2), Cy Frazier (3), Arwen Morgan (4), Lauren Moses (5).

Doc Watson was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Honor on Oct. 19 at the Kentucky Center for the Arts in Louisville, KY.

Marvin Gaster, Bobby McMillon, and Rev. Faircloth C. Barnes were among this year’s recipients of the North Carolina Folk Heritage Awards at a ceremony in Raleigh, NC on Sept. 12.

Some of this year’s prestigious National Heritage Fellowship Awards in Folk and Traditional Arts include the Dixie Hummingbirds, African-American gospel quartet, Felipe Garcia Villamil, Afro-Cuban drummer, Santiago Jim’nez , Tejano accordionist, Genoa Keawe, native Hawaiian singer and ukulele player, Frankie Manning, Lindy Hop dancer, Joe Willie "Pinetop" Perkins, blues piano player, Chris Strachwitz, record producer and founder of Arhoolie Records, and Don Walser, western singer.

Peter Marshall (Mando Mafia) and Miriam Picus announce the birth of their second daughter, Talia, born Sept. 1.

Final Notes

Johnny Ray Hicks, the last of the great traditional ballad singers in Tennessee, and arguably, the entire Appalachian South, died on Aug. 22, at age 74 in his home in Grimsley, TN. Hicks was descended from a long line of woodsmen and noted folk musicians in Fentress County on the rugged Cumberland Plateau. Since the early 1800s, generations of the Hicks family in the area had sung and passed on a wealth of old British and American ballads, also preserving the forceful acappella mountain singing style associated with them. Johnny Ray’s repertoire included hundreds of songs. Some of them came from Hicks family elders, others he learned elsewhere or composed himself. Some he sang unaccompanied, and with others he played guitar. He had enjoyed many opportunities to perform for new audiences, who were always enthralled by his powerful delivery and the humorous story-songs that were his specialty. He was also a storyteller and harmonica player. Hicks participated in many distant festivals and events, including the 1986 Smithsonian Institution Festival of American Folklife, The Cumberland Music Tour in 1988, and the 1993 National Folk Festival. He also sang regularly at Pickett State Park’s Old Timer’s Day, at Fall Creek Falls State Park’s Mountaineer Folk Festival, and on the stage of Jubilee Community Arts in Knoxville.—from the Nashville (TN) Tennessean.

Joel Mabus wrote: "Les Raber, old-time fiddler, octogenarian, and Michigan Heritage Award recipient, passed away recently. Les grew up in western Michigan, playing for contra and square dances since his youth. He knew hundreds of old tunes and played them exquisitely. Kind and generous with his talents, when the revival of interest in contradancing and hammered dulcimers hit in the past three decades, with an emphasis on the New England tradition, Les was there to quietly remind us of our own fiddle, dulcimer, and dance traditions here in Michigan. Les loved playing with dulcimers. He was always the favorite fiddler at the huge dulcimer festival in Everett, MI. He was honored a few years ago with the Michigan Heritage Award. He was the focus of a panel on midwestern fiddling at the most recent Folk Alliance, where I was recruited at the last minute to help facilitate. He charmed everyone with his playing."

John Currie is a musician and singer who lives in Jacksonville, NC. He plays fiddle with The Floyd Pond Ramblers.

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