November 2021

Featured Story

Béla Fleck

Goes Deep into his  New 19-cut Album  My Bluegrass Heart Photos by Kevin Slick “I want the recording to sound like the musicians own that music, and not sound like they have just managed to get through it.” It was a bittersweet occasion when the news broke that Béla Fleck had recorded a follow up… Read the full article

The Tradition

Notes & Queries – November 2021

Queries: Q: There is a gospel tune the Gillis Brothers recorded which, as far as I can tell, has not been recorded elsewhere: “I Always Call Your Name.” I and my bluegrass friends LOVE the tune, but we are seriously struggling with understanding the lyrics in the second verse. We are missing the second and… Read the full article

Remembering  Robert Hutchison

Robert Lewis “Zeke” Hutchison, banjoist, singer and family man, died August 2nd, 2021, after a long illness. Born on September 13th, 1948 (Bill Monroe’s 37th birthday) in Belmont County, Ohio into a musical family, he made a special mark on the music scene in the upper Ohio River valley as well as nationwide. He is survived… Read the full article

The Artists

Fiddler  Mike Barnett

Longs For Return To Playing  Photos By Stacie Huckaba After four years of hard work, Grammy-nominated fiddler Mike Barnett was pumped to release his dream duets project when tragedy struck. Two days after celebrating his July 23 birthday last year, the now 31-year-old musician was cleaning house with his wife when he tried to tell… Read the full article

Steve Dilling

 A Great Banjo Picker and a Good Person Steve Dilling is a very humble and thankful man. Instead of listing his many accolades from 40 years in the music industry, he references all those who have helped him along the way. He is reflective, appreciative, and grateful. His dad, Don Dilling, explained his son’s demeanor…. Read the full article

Jeremy Stephens

How He Hears It   Photos By Amy Richmond Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Jeremy Stephens of the bluegrass group High Fidelity is a devoted student of traditional bluegrass and country music. While he enjoys digging through the golden nuggets of music history, Stephens puts his own stamp of uniqueness to his music on his second solo… Read the full article

The Sound

The Story of  a Stelling

On November 14, 1995, a Stelling Sunflower banjo—serial number 4356— began its journey from the Virginia factory to Gruhn Guitars in Nashville. Ten months later it was purchased by a banjo picker in Mill Valley, California who kept it for an indeterminate amount of time. At some point it came into the possession of my… Read the full article

The Richest Man

“When COVID-19 hit, it was obvious things were going to slow down,” recalled Buddy Melton, lead singer and fiddler for repeat IBMA “Entertainer of the Year” Balsam Range. “We wanted to utilize our time and be positive.” Their May 2020 release of “The Richest Man” was one enduring result of their downtime. “Under the circumstances,… Read the full article

The Old Man  and the C-Clamp

Photos by Cindy Matheson At an age when most people have slowed down, 99-year-old Buckeye luthier and instrument repairman Jeff Littell rises by 7:30 and is at his well-equipped, dimly lit basement workbench after breakfast most days. His days fill with repairing double-basses, fixing all manner of bluegrass instruments, and even building a C.F. Martin… Read the full article

The Venu

Milton Harkey

The Man Behind the Curtain “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,”is a famous line from The Wizard of Oz. Musical promoters often are the ones behind the curtain that rarely receive recognition, but without them, both musicians and fans would be at a total loss.  Milton Harkey is an important man behind… Read the full article