This site is terribly out of date, and I hope to revamp it soon. Please come back every once in a while.
Those unfamiliar with the varieties of traditional music, including many musicians, often erroneously refer to the types of music I play as "bluegrass." I usually lack the energy to try and explain that that I rarely ever play bluegrass. But I will attempt an explanation here. If you do not know the difference between bluegrass and old-time music, click here for a straightforward explanation that includes a definition of old-time music. I dabbled in bluegrass when I was in college but never felt a strong attraction to it.
What does old-time music sound (and look) like? If you do not know you might want to watch this short video of a typical low-key daytime scene at a festival. It is a good example of both the music and one style of dancing (flatfooting). At night, the intensity of the music usually increases. At left is a video of a typical jam session, except that the setting is indoors. It is from the Gardner Winter Music Festival, 2009. See the "Videos" page of this site for more examples of old-time music (and other varieties of music).
For a more thorough look at old-time music, the next video is a thirty-minute documentary from West Virginia Public Broadcasting on Clifftop (The Appalachian String Band Festival). The only odd thing about the video, in my view, is an obsession with preservation--as if the video makers seek to justify the Clifftop gathering as propagator of culture. Not only in this documentary but in all others I have seen, journalists do not seem to know of any other approach when dealing with old-time music gatherings. Perhaps Clifftop does, incidentally, include some kind of preservationist function, but for most of the musicians that would be beside the point. And what is the point? Enjoyment. The music is hard-driving, and captivating, and there are other social elements in the mix. There is no need to worry about "passing on" this music, because the sheer enjoyment of it guarantees that old-time music will thrive. Especially insightful in the video is what John Lilly says toward the end of the documentary about getting into the music deeply.
And at the bottom of the page is a shorter documentary made by an actual participant and shot in 2010. It's a nice survey of the daytime landscape, with a message at the end about the very different nighttime atmosphere.
For many years, songwriting had been on my list of things to do, and I finally got around to it at the start of 2007. I've written a bunch of them at this point. Most could fit into a label like "country music" or "folk music"--broadly defined. Some sound like something you might hear on country radio and others would have less of a popular appeal. My main purpose in writing is to create songs I like to sing. A few of them might have wider appeal.
Thank you for stopping by, and feel free to send a message.