The Old-Time Herald Volume 8, Number 3

Here& There


On May 4-5 High Lonesome Strings Pickin’ in the Park will take place at Hagan-Stone Park, Hwy 421 South. Info: Pam Davis, 336-674-1277; High Lonesome Strings is a Bluegrass Association in the Greensboro area that meets monthly on fourth Sundays.

On May 16 Banjo Camp North will present a Banjo Extravaganza featuring the BCN staff. The concert will be held at the Museum of Our National Heritage in Lexington, MA, which also houses a major exhibition of the banjos in the collection of Jim Bollman. Bollman, co-author of America’s Instrument—The Banjo in the 19th Century, will be on hand to answer questions before the concert. Info:

The Minneapolis Bluegrass & Oldtime Music Assoc. will hold its Winter Bluegrass Weekend March 1-3 in Plymouth. Info: 800-635-3037.

If you’re in central North Carolina, come out to the senior center in beautiful downtown Denton every third Saturday night of the month for an old-fashioned community square dance. Info:


Fiddlers Calvin Vollrath from Alberta, John Arcand from Saskatchewan, Ned Landry from New Brunswick, and Bruce Molsky from New York, were featured in December in a two-hour CBC special, "The Dancing Bow."

Doc Watson, along with Geoff Muldaur and The Be Good Tanyas are playing on March 29 at Sanders Theatre in Cambridge. The show benefits Club Passim, a non-profit organization and folk music landmark. See for more info. The Sanders Theater box office web site is at

The Dickel Brothers old-time string band from Portland, OR performed in Seattle, WA at the Breakroom on Dec. 29.

The Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble’s 2002 tour dates include performances in Arizona, Virginia, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee, New York, and Connecticut. Info:

Bob Bovee & Gail Heil will be providing traditional cowboy music and old-time dance tunes March 8-10 for the Leroy, MN Community Theater’s "Wild West" dinner production. Their schedule also includes concerts for Grassroots in Nisswa, MN (March 15); Brainerd, MN Heritage Fair (March 16); and Spirit of the Woods in Brethren, MI (April 27). They begin the 2002 season of the Lanesboro Barn Dance in Lanesboro, MN on March 23 with guest caller Bruce Davis. They have just re-released their out-of-print Marimac CD Rural Route 2 on their own Jawbone label.

Dick Kimmel & Co. will perform in concert in Brainerd, MN on March 9 at the Paul Bunyan Nature Learning Center. 218-829-9054.

The Rockinghams (John Herrmann, Meredith McIntosh, Beverly Smith and Rafe Stefanini) have just completed recording their first CD. It will be available this winter.

Paul Sutphin, Verlen Clifton, Andy Cahan, and Terri McMurray performed at the NC Museum of History in Raleigh in December as part of the Music of the Carolina Series.

In October The Allegheny Echoes (Tim and Mike Bing, Kirk Judd, John Blissard, and an acapella group, Soup Kitchen) recently performed in Ireland at the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh, County Tyrone, and at other venues.

John Johnson, Tom Druckenmiller, Kay Justice & Ginny Hawker, and Bob Woodcock were featured musicians at the Lehigh Valley Folk Music Society Carter Family Celebration in November. For information on the Society contact: Lehigh Valley Folk Music Society, 402 S. 18th St., Allentown PA 18104.

Eileen Carson of Footworks, will be one of the first "master teachers" at the Peabody (Baltimore, MD) Dance Guest Artist series. Info: 410-659-8100 Ext. 1125;

Tom, Brad & Alice (Sauber, Leftwich & Gerrard) are performing in England this month at the Gainsborough Festival (Feb. 15-20); in Arkansas at the Ozark Folk Center (Mar. 25-29); Merlefest in Wilkesboro, NC (Apr. 26-28), and the Prism in Charlottesville, VA in early May. Info and updates are on their (temporary) web site at

The performing schedule for Paul and Win Grace includes Children’s Watershed Festival, Columbia, MO (May 1) info: 573-874-1637.; a dance for the Mid-Missouri Traditional Dancers, Columbia, MO (May 15),,, 573-874-2792; Shelter Garden Concert Series, Columbia, MO (July 21), info: Terry Hume, 573-214-4708. For general information and updates go to their web site at

Trina Royar has resigned from the Haywood County (NC) Arts Council to become Special Events Manager for the Biltmore Co. During her tenure with the Arts Council she developed such programs as the Haywire Summer Concert Series and the JAM Program (Junior Appalachian Musicians).

Performances for Leela and Ellie Grace include clog dancing instruction, Harrisburg, MO (Mar. 9), info: Steve Young (573)874-1052,; providing music for a daytime caller’s

workshop for Spring Breakdown Dance Weekend, Columbia, MO (Mar. 23), info:;, 573-874-2792; Big Muddy Folk Festival, Boonville, MO (Apr. 5-6), info: Cathy Barton or Dave Para, 660-882-7821. General information and updates at

In Print, In School, & On the Net

Goshen, IN has a burgeoning old-time music and dance scene, GO Dancing. The web site is at There are also jam sessions. Info: Phil at All of these events may soon come under the umbrella group, GOMAD (Goshen Old-Time Music & Dance).

Originally published by the Country Dance and Song Society in 1982, the book has been out of print for years. Now West Virginia Square Dances by Bob Dalsemer is available on the CDSS web site: For the first time, via the addition to the web site of audio clips, readers will be able to hear the dance calls which Bob recorded during his research in 1977-78. In the book, Bob describes regular dance events in five rural West Virginia communities—figure calling, musical performances, and the dance figures themselves.

There was an article on old-time music and politics by David Potorti in the Nov. 28 issue of the Independent Weekly from Durham, NC. The article featured David Lynch and his web page, You can read the article at

For events in and around New Mexico there is FolkMADS, a publication of the NM Folk Music & Dance Society. Info: PO Box 40421, Albuquerque, NM 87196-0421;

Contracopia is a web music store dedicated to contradance music. There are over 75 CDs from all over the country for sale, with audio samples of every CD. Info:

The folknik is a publication of the San Francisco (CA) Folk Music Club, and is a good resource for music and dance events in and around the Bay Area. Info: 415-661-2217; 885 Clayton St., San Francisco, CA 94117.

West Michigan musicians Nick Kroes and Bill Van Vugt are now offering free downloads of their music at The site features MP3 and Real Audio selections of old-time and Celtic pieces performed on several acoustic instruments, as well as the artwork of Tony Kroes.

Ahmet Baycu writes to say that the web address for the Roots of American Fiddle Music has changed. It is now at

The Birmingham (AL) Country Dance Society publishes a newsletter announcing their music and dance events. Info:; 205-822-0505.

There is a nicely organized and linked discography of folk (including old-time) at Folk Music, An Index to Recorded Resources, collected by Jane Keefer.

New England fiddlers and dance callers Dudley and Jacqueline Laufman’s web site is at

David Holt’s web site is at

The web site for the Palestine (TX) Old-Time Music and Dulcimer Festival March 28-31 is

A temporary web site for Tom, Brad & Alice is at

Check out Davy Crockett Dulcimer Society events, Crockett, TX at the Camp Street Caf&: <: For other Texas dulcimer events check out the web site at

The Charlotte Folk Society publishes a newsletter that lists ongoing and special events, jams, etc. Info:; PO Box 36864, Charlotte, NC 28236-6864.

Disc Collector is a small, one-man newsletter out of Cheswold, DE. It contains lots of reviews of current old-time and bluegrass recordings. PO Box 315, Cheswold, DE 19936.

Guthrie T. Meade, Jr.’s long awaited book, Country Music Sources: A Biblio-Discography of Commercially Recorded Traditional Music is slated for April release by the University of North Carolina Press. As the title suggests, discographies and bibliographies are given for many songs recorded by country musicians between 1921 and 1942—and those dates are elastic. Songs are grouped in subject categories and in rough chronological order. They’re placed together regardless of title, so title and artist indices are included. ISBN 0-8078-2723-1. Info: 800-848-6224;

Gerry Milnes was the subject of a Dec. 18 article in the New York Times, "In Search of the Old Masters of the Mountains" by Francis X. Clines.

Recordings, Instruments, & Labels

A CD of new old-time tunes by New Mexico musicians, Sweet Nell, has just been released on Coal Holler Music. Featured are musicians Tom Adler, Dave Margolin, Jim Mullany, and Rob Pine. You can hear samples at

Frontier Records and Tapes is a mail order business run by Byrl Johnson in Jenks, OK that specializes in early country, swing, and big band music. $3 will get you their catalog. PO Box 157 Jenks, OK 74037. They also have a retail store in Tulsa, OK, 918-743-3559.

Recent old-time music releases on the Copper Creek label include An Old-Time Odyssey by the Wolfe Bros., We’ll Die in the Pigpen Fighting by Tom, Brad & Alice, and South of Nowhere by Bill & Libby Hicks. Info:; 888-438-2448;


The Laurel Theatre in Knoxville, TN hosts many community concerts as part of their Jubilee Community Arts organization. If you are interested in a schedule of events you can call 865-522-5851 or go to the web site at They also send out a calendar of events.

Club Passim, the music club that hosted many a folk music event for the past 40-plus years in Cambridge, MA, is now a non-profit arts organization headed up by executive director Betsy Siggins Schmidt. They are currently in the process of raising funds for a Facilities Improvement Project. Interested people can contact Betsy at or write to 47 Palmer St., Cambridge, MA 02138.

Young people and their parents who are interested in participating in the Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble Footworks Junior Company should contact Footworks’ Managing Director Pam Schuller at 410-923-3523 or e-mail They hope to begin the project in the summer of 2002. A complete teaching schedule is on the Footworks web site at

On fourth Mondays the Wilkes Acoustic Folk Society meets at the Walker Center, Wilkes Community College, Wilkesboro, NC at 7 p.m. Info:

The Fiddle & Bow is a folk organization in Winston-Salem, NC. They sponsor concerts and regular events. Info:;;

The South Seattle monthly square dance is "keeping the old-time square-dance tradition alive." For information go to their web site at:

The Santa Clara Valley Fiddler’s Association in San Jose, CA has regular events and jam sessions. For information go to their web site:

On the Air

Alan Freeman is hosting a radio show, "The Alan Freeman Show," every Sunday from 10 p.m. ’til midnight on WTNJ-FM 105.9 out of Mt. Hope, WV. He plays old-time, bluegrass, gospel, old swing, ragtime, and Celtic.

Maine Public Radio featured an interview with fiddler Lisa Ornstein on Jan. 2. She discussed her teaching and music and played several tunes.

Sessions & Jams

The Friday Night Jamboree happens in Floyd, VA. Bluegrass and old-time bands interested in playing should contact Mike Brough or William Morgan at 919-929-3905. Info:

There is an open blues jam on Tuesdays at Fat City, 3127 N. Davidson St. in Charlotte, NC at 10 PM. Info: 704-343-0240.

The Lottie Mott old-time music jam sessions take place on the second Fridays of every month at Lottie Mott’s Coffee Shop, 4900 Rainier Ave. South, at S. Ferdinand, Seattle, WA, 206-725-8199. If you wonder what they play at these sessions, see the tunelist archives at

In Our Thoughts

Fiddler Greg Hooven from Galax, VA, was seriously injured in a fall from a ladder in November. He sustained severe spinal injuries and is currently pretty much confined to a wheel chair although he has the use of his upper body and is undergoing rehabilitation therapy. In mid-February he will be transferred from the University of Virginia hospital in Charlottesville to the Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center in Fishersville, VA: c/o Woodrow Wilson Rehab Center, PO Box 1500, Fishersville, VA 22939-1500; 800-345-9972. From mid-Jan. to mid-Feb. Greg will be at his father’s house in Galax, VA: Greg Hooven, 1579 Tower Rd., VA 24333; 540-236-3353. He appreciates getting phone calls, cards and letters. Ellen Vigour, who has been to see him, reports that Greg has "maintained a terrific attitude throughout this ordeal. He is very excited about his new leg braces, which came in yesterday. The doctors are hopeful that in time Greg will walk again." Needless to say, there will be huge medical expenses. Ellen noted that Greg could greatly benefit from some fundraisers to help defray his medical expenses. David Lynch is constructing a web site for Greg where information and updates will be posted. The address is We will post updates regarding Greg’s condition and any fundraising plans on the OTH web site and in upcoming issues.


Welcome to Amelia Rose Powell, who was born on Dec. 18 to Christine Balfa and Dirk Powell. "She’s 8 pounds and 4 ounces, very healthy, with rosy cheeks and a sweet little pout."

David Holt, John McCutcheon, and Jean Ritchie received Master Music Maker Awards for lifetime achievement in the preservation and promotion of folk music. The awards were presented in July by the Swannanoa Gathering Folk Arts Workshops in Swannanoa, NC.

Old-time winners at the State Fair of Virginia Fiddle Contest include: Pete Vigour, Rick Westkaemper, Ellen Vigour, Joe Mead, Thomas Bailey, Don Leister, Rick Friend, Paul Rosen, Rebby Sharp, and Jim Anderson. Bluegrass fiddle was won by Bo Bradham.

Ellen Schwab was featured in the Dec. 9 Parade as one of five winners of a holiday cookie contest for her Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies. Ellen is the wife of old-time guitarist John Schwab.

Gordon McCann, who has been involved in collecting and documenting Ozarks fiddle music for decades, has been awarded a Missouri Arts Award for his efforts by the Missouri Arts Council. He will be honored at an awards ceremony in February at the Rotunda of the State Capitol in Jefferson City, where the governor will preside.

Dancer, caller, and fiddler Dudley Laufman from Canterbury, NH received the New Hampshire Folk Heritage Award of the Governor’s Awards in the Arts in November 2001. The award is given for "outstanding contributions to the excellence and availability of the arts."

Fiddler David Bass (formerly of the Freight Hoppers) has a new heart. He underwent successful transplant surgery and says, "I was transplanted with a very good late model heart on Oct. 31. I take pills for the holes left by the heart machine (very nasty) but I’m getting around and the hospital blues have shaken right off with no residual trauma."

Carl Hopkins, of Porter, TX, won the 2001 World Champion Fiddler at the 65th Annual World Championship Fiddler’s Festival held in Crockett, TX. The contest is held each year on the second weekend in June. Info: Houston County Chamber of Commerce; 936-544-2359.

The Arhoolie Foundation has received a grant from the Fund for Folk Culture to digitize many of Chris Strachwitz’ collection of Mexican-American 78 recordings. Info:

Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer received their fifth Grammy nomination for their collaboration with Brave Combo on the children’s album, All Wound Up! A Family Music Party.

Fiddler and OTH cover guru David Lynch of David Lynch Graphics, and Jill Zimmerman will be married on Sept. 21.

Final Notes

Famed Nashville guitarist Grady Martin died on Dec. 3 at the age of 72. He has been called one of the most renowned, inventive, and historically significant session musicians in country music history, a guitar wizard who helped fashion the sounds of such stars as Willie Nelson, Brenda Lee, Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, and many others.

Vicky Owen, lap dulcimer player with the Fuzzy Mountain String Band, wife of Malcolm Owen, mother of Jake Owen, sister-in-law of Blanton Owen, has died of complications due to an Alzheimer’s-like illness of several years duration, at her home on Big Pine Road in Madison County, NC.

Vicky’s dulcimer gave the Fuzzies a kind of choral underpinning full of rhythm and ring. She used the pick and stick-noter style of the Appalachians, propped her feet (usually bare) on Malcolm’s fiddle case, and played with verve and intensity—always. She and Malcolm were childhood sweethearts, and lived their lives intertwined since those early days together in Suwannee, TN, his dad a professor at the University there, her father a minister. They both attended graduate school in romance languages at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and there formed the Fuzzy Mountain String Band along with Eric Olson, Blanton Owen, and others.

In 1972, Vicky, Malcolm, and baby Jake left the Triangle for a homestead in Madison County, where they built a life and a family in the "old-time" way. Malcolm farmed for years with horses while Vicky baked bread and cooked wonderful big farm meals on the wood stove. Their water came from a spring above them on the mountain, gravity fed, clear and so cold you could get a headache from drinking it too fast. A second son, Emmett, was born (later to die at 13 in a traffic accident at the foot of their driveway). Along the way of life Vicky and Malcolm found a good church, and Vicky started working as a home-health nurse, driving the hollers in all sorts of weather and sitting with the old and ill. Sometime in the ’90s, her illness came upon her, eventually forcing retirement. Malcolm and Jake (and Jake’s new wife, Sarah) nursed her in her final months. Although with such an affliction as Alzheimer’s there is a sense that this final end is a relief and a blessing for Vicky and her family, she will be missed and remembered by all of us who loved her. Always. —Bill Hicks

Marie Hartford, wife of John Hartford, passed away on Dec. 30. She was in the hospital with pneumonia when inoperable lung cancer was diagnosed.

Fiddler Walter Franklin (Frank) Blevins, 90, of Greeneville, TN died on July 27, 2001 following a long period of declining health. During his heyday of the 1930s, Blevins won a strong regional following with his dynamic stage performances throughout southwest Virginia and bordering states. Today he is best remembered for the recordings he made for the Columbia Phonograph Company in 1927-28, often considered classics of old-time music.

Blevins was born in 1911 and raised at Little Horse Creek in Ashe County, NC. His father, Avery Blevins, was an accomplished fiddler. By 1926 Frank was leading a string band that included his brother Edd on guitar and a neighbor, Fred Miller, on banjo. Their records for Columbia were made in Atlanta when Frank was still in his teens, and released under the name Frank Blevins & His Tar Heel Rattlers. Blevins moved to Marion, VA in 1929, where his music impressed folksong collector and festival organizer Annabel Morris Buchanan. He was awarded top prize for fiddling at the first White Top Folk Festival in 1931, and again in 1933, when he serenaded visiting First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1934 he formed the Southern Buccaneers, a band of versatile entertainers that included banjoist Jack Reedy and guitarist Corwin Matthews. Blevins alternated his musical activities with a career in the furniture making industry, eventually running his own company, Franklin Furniture, for three decades.

Frank Blevins quit playing professionally after the death of his brother Edd in 1944, though he continued to make music informally for another 20 years. Home recordings made in the late 1940s reveal that Blevins’ style had evolved from the straightforward bowing of his youth to the sophisticated techniques of show fiddling.

Mr. Blevins is survived by his wife of 63 years, Henrietta, twin sons and their wives, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. The family requests that memorial contributions be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Greeneville, TN.—Marshall Wyatt

Homer "Pappy" Sherrill died on Nov. 30 in Columbia, SC. Larry Klein noted that "Pappy’s rich musical legacy included the complete spectrum of country music and bluegrass working with so many of the other legends such as the Blue Sky Boys, Morris Brothers, Byron Parker, and for most of his career with his dear friend and banjo legend partner, Snuffy Jenkins along with the Hired Hands."

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