My Favorite Recordings: "Sweetheart Of The Rodeo" by The Byrds

Lately I have had lots of time to lie around and really listen to music at a pretty loud volume whenever I have the house to myself.  Whenever Lynn, my wife, comes home, there I am on the couch listening to a recording. She would say, "It’s been over 40 years and you’re still listening to the same album!”

What’s really interesting is that when you really concentrate on listening, you can hear stuff that was always there, but that you never heard before. Lately, I’ve been listening for the bass lines, sometimes with the help of the loudness switch for emphasis. Sometimes I just try to concentrate on the fiddle or mandolin. Sometimes I start out saying I will just listen to the drums, but then get lost in the whole gestalt and forget what I was trying to concentrate on!

Review: Plastic Heart by The Old Time Bluegrass Singers

I really enjoyed this CD.  Just when you think you have heard it all, as far as traditional bluegrass music, Plastic Heart comes along and takes you by surprise. I am basically a traditional bluegrass fan, not because the newer bluegrass is not good, but sometimes I find it does not have the lasting effect on me that the traditional bluegrass music does. I did not know what to expect. I thought this CD would be a bunch of early bluegrass covers or standards, but this is not the case. What I did expect and found here was true professionalism and great musicians.  I have listened to everybody on Plastic Heart, individually and collectively for a long time with great admiration.  I had not heard most of these songs in with the exception of, "It's You Baby You", "In A Town This Size" and  "Meet Me By My Old Kentucky Home", written by Joe Val. .  I heard Joe Val do "My Old Kentucky Home" as he called it in the 1970's.  It is the same song but with a slightly different title.  I believe The Old Time Bluegrass Singers did 'em proud with this rendition of his song. 

My Favorite Recordings: Red Smiley with the Bluegrass Cut-ups

I have been asked to review an album that I liked or had a significant effect on me.  Of the thousands of recordings and hundreds of LP's, 45's 78's, CD's, cassettes and reel tapes I have listened to over the last 45 years or so, I’ll review the first record I remember really listening to as a child at age 3-4 years old.  It was an old album my dad really liked, he played it over and over again.  I learned to really like it as well, and it still plays in my mind all the time.


DelFest 2010: Celebrating 60 Years Of McCoury Music

There was no storm!

That alone made DelFest #3 better than the 2009 version.  But there were other improvements this year to the new festival.  The addition of 24-hour medical was a BIG one for this clumsy volunteer.  Check-in procedure (though 5 miles off-site) went more smoothly.  And, a more relaxed check to prevent cans and bottles from being brought into the Music Meadow was appreciated by many.

BYRON BERLINE: Fiddler Extraordinare

Saturday, July 31
Workshop: 2-4:30 p.m.
Concert: 7:30 p.m.
Buy your tickets to the Byron Berline Concert tonight at the door.

Byron Berline and Gold Rush
Christ Church - 20 Carroll Street, Poughkeepsie, NY at 7:30PM
Member Tickets: $15/person
Non-Member Tickets: $20/person
Children under 12/free
All tickets sold at the door will cost an additional $3.00

For a guy that received his higher education in a Phys Ed program, Byron Berline’s life certainly took off in a different direction!  Around when he graduated college he was playing with (of all bluegrass artists) Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys.  After graduation from college and a few years working with Uncle Sam, he decided to leave the soccer balls and baseball bats behind for his bow and fiddle.  He has played fiddle from the age of 5.  He won three National fiddle contests.  He headed for the west coast and stayed there for 26 years, where he (among other things) recorded with the Burrito Brothers and played a bit part in the movie The Rose.  He played with various groups and was a founder in the group California, named the IBMA instrumental group of the year for ‘92-94.

Banjo Spotlight - Bob Altschuler

Note:  Bob Altschuler is a member of the HVBA and also the banjo player for our Member Band, Dyer Switch.  This article originally appeared on Banjo Dan's Blog and we thank Dan Campbell for giving us permission to reprint the interview here.

From the author:  Bob Altschuler recently responded to several questions that I emailed to him and his responses are below.  Bob’s articles in Banjo Sessions and Silver Strings have helped me to learn and improve as a banjo player so I hope this feature will help in some small way to promote his music – Banjoman Dan


Bob’s distinctive bluegrass banjo style merges traditional bluegrass with blues, swing, and newgrass. Bob has taught banjo for over 30 years and is head of the beginner track at Banjo Camp North in Massachusetts ( . Mel Bay’s “Banjo Sessions” online magazine at and “Silver Strings” at feature his many instructional articles, and his innovative picking has been heard on radio and television commercials. Bob has a workshop chapter in Gene Senyak’s 2008 book “Banjo Camp!” which also features Pete Seeger, Tony Trischka, Alan Munde, Bill Keith, Janet Davis and others. He performs and records with the Dyer Switch Band, and on Facebook.

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