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.

The Grascals - The Famous Lefty Flynn's - Review

You can't be around bluegrass without having heard of the Grascals, but somehow I never managed to pick any of their music.  So their fourth and latest CD is a real eye opener for me. This CD follows hard on the heels of last years Keep On Walkin' (SPBGMA's Album Of The Year - which I'll now have to find).

The first song of the new album is 'Last Train to Clarksville.'  I'm looking at the title and thinking (and hoping!) "No way"! It is indeed a cover of the Monkees hit, something I had hoped I left behind with my childhood.

CD Review: Blue Side of the Blue Ridge by Junior Sisk and Rambler's Choice

There's a great scene in the movie Crazy Heart where "Bad" Blake, the charismatic, but rather messed up, former country legend, is laying on the bed, playing his guitar, and trying to seduce Jean Craddock, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal. Blake sings a bit of a song, then asks Jean what thinks about the song.  She looks puzzled, trying to remember where she's heard it before. Blake tells her he just wrote it, and says, “That's the way it is with the good ones, you're sure you've heard them before.”

Special Consensus Concert

Thank you, Special C for a FABULOUS evening of music!!!
Special Consensus is returning to Poughkeepsie for a 2 hour intimate and exclusive concert. The first 45 lucky people will have the opportunity to spend an evening with them at the Sugar & Spice Café in the Poughkeepsie Plaza on Rte. 9 in Poughkeepsie.   Please take the time to read some of their reviews.  Notice that one of them was written by our very own Neal Loevinger!!!!

When:   Wednesday - May 19th 7-9PM
Where:  Sugar & Spice Café
             2600 South Road - Poughkeepsie Plaza

We were extremely fortunate to have this band perform for us in November and now we have a second opportunity to really get to know them better.

Sugar & Spice is located in the same mall as Marshall's and Barnes & Noble, at the opposite end of the line of stores. Plenty of parking is available. Salads, wraps, paninis and desserts will be available for a light dinner. This is a unique opportunity to get to know the band members, request songs, and sit on comfortable sofas and chairs. It's as close to being in someone's home as you will get.

Review: Summertown Road

Last October while attending the IBMA's annual convention in Nashville, TN, I heard a group of musicians picking and singing in a lounge area of the second floor of the Renaissance Hotel. I moved closer and found myself captivated by their sound--especially the banjo playing. I watched the white-haired gentleman picking the 5 string with obvious ease and grace, but drew a blank on who he might be. I asked my friend Ron Barnett, standing next to me, if he knew, and he said he wasn't sure but thought they were from Kentucky. Then Ron asked someone he knew, and whispered back to me, "Jack Hicks."  Well, the last time I saw Jack Hicks was when he was playing banjo with Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys between 1971 and 1973. Those dates coincide with the years I made annual pilgrimages to Bill Monroe's festival in Bean Blossom, Indiana. Jack was one year out of high school back then, and, as I recall, had jet-black hair.
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