Shape Note Hymnal

We took a trip to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia a couple of weeks ago. A side trip just a few miles off Interstate 81 at Dayton, Virginia, took us to a land which felt like another time zone deep in the heart of the valley. This was rural old-order Mennonite farm land and we seemed to go back in time several centuries; idealistic, scenic and surreal. The purpose of our visit was to stop at a country store which carried a collection of shape note hymnals.
Continue reading

Beautiful Dreamer

While sorting through stacks and stacks of dulcimer tablature that I have accumulated over the years, I ran across a partially finished version of Stephen Foster’s “Beautiful Dreamer.” This is one of my favorite Stephen Foster’s songs. It is very melodic, beautiful. And I see why I never completed the tablature — it is difficult to play on the mountain dulcimer.
Continue reading

Best Ever Dulcimer Fête

Perhaps I’m a bit biased since I was this year’s co-chairman, but I thought that this was one of our best mountain dulcimer festivals ever. Lots of great music, workshops, concerts, food, vendors and companionship. Here are some of the  highlights. We get started on Thursday with our “Yankee doodle Jam.”

Continue reading

Revolutionary War Era Songs for our Fête

Our 16th annual dulcimer festival is coming quickly. It’s March 9- 12, 2017, in Port Allen, Louisiana. We have a great line-up of musicians and performers coming from all-over the country as well as many vendors. Our theme is “Yankee Doodle Dulcimer” Extravaganza and includes several special events. One is a music jam for dulcimers and acoustic instruments based on songs from the Revolutionary War Era on Thursday afternoon.patriotic-quilt-img_2837_1

Continue reading

Auld Lang Syne on Dulcimer

Ring in the New Year of 2017 by playing “Auld Lang Syne” on your dulcimer. Surprise your family and guests as you play and sing this song at midnight. It’s an easy song to play on the dulcimer. And it is much easier to play a song when you already know the melody and words.times-square-img_1219_1r-r

Continue reading

Mike Anderson: The Dulcimer Guy

Mike Anderson, the Dulcimer Guy from Illinois, is coming to Baton Rouge to the Main Library on Goodwood Blvd. on December 8 to give two performances, one at 10:00 am and one at 6:30 pm. Mike is a multi-talented musician; in addition to dulcimer he plays guitar, banjo, ukulele, jaw harp and much more. Plus he loves to tell stories to children and he is an author and emcee. A little known fact is that Mike has influenced my dulcimer playing more than any other person.mike-anderson-img_1550 Continue reading

Haunted Tunes for Halloween on the Dulcimer

A good tune for Halloween is one that sounds haunted, eerie, spooky. On the dulcimer, these tunes are played in a minor mode or key using a different tuning or capo. It is easy to do this and opens up a new world of beautiful yet whimsical melodies and songs.capo-1-on-dulcimer Continue reading

Yankee Doodle Dulcimer: Lagniappe Dulcimer Fête 2017

Welcome to our music festival. “Yankee Doodle Dulcimer” is the theme of our 2017 Lagniappe Fete. Yankee Doodle comes to the bayous and swamps of Louisiana in a pirogue pulled by an alligator playing the drums, fife and dulcimer!. We will have a good time! A grand time. The planning is underway and our performers are selected.table-basket-2-img_1351_1 Continue reading

More Galax-Style Dulcimers; Primer on Changing Strings

After attending the Galax-style old-time string band jam in Virginia in May, I became intrigued with this type of dulcimer and decided to learn more about them. Could I tune one of my own dulcimers to DDDD above middle C to get the same sound? It meant changing strings–several times. Here’s how it turned out.Measuring Length from Bridge End - _0531

Continue reading