The Tradition

Fred Bartenstein sells Muleskinner News in the crowd, Culpeper, VA. 1973 Photo by Carl Fleischauer

Carrying Knowledge  and Passing It Along

When watching a musical performance, people generally focus solely on the artist(s). Little thought is given to the promoters, the sound/technical crew, the songwriters, the managers/booking agents, the bus drivers, and everyone else behind the scenes that make it all happen. It takes a village. In bluegrass music, Fred Bartenstein is a mayor of one…

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Josh Graves display at the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky. // Photo by Jamie Alexander

A New Ingredient

Bluegrass is a genre of music that’s been evolving since it first came out of the oven.  The original recipe created by master chef Bill Monroe had five cornerstone ingredients:  mandolin, guitar, fiddle, banjo, and bass.  When Josh Graves joined Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs in the Foggy Mountain Boys in 1955, he introduced a…

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Unemployed Musicians Baseball League

Baseball, as America’s national pastime, has endured through many of the country’s toughest, most trying epochs. Civil war soldiers played the game, and prisoners of war during that time played every chance they got. Major League Baseball became a focal point for civil rights when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in the mid-1940’s, and…

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Notes & Queries – January 2023

Queries I have a 45 by the Page Valley Boys on Franc Records from Arlington, Virginia. The record is “Reubens Train” and “Old Blue.” Were they from Page County, Virginia, and who played in the group? I know Franc records was a folk label. Robert Embrey, via email. A: The Page Valley Boys came together…

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Bayou Boys publicity photo—Seated Buck Austin (Pete Pike was not available for the photo shoot). Standing (left to right) Buzz Busby, John Hall and Don Stover. Photo Courtesy of John Hall

Classic Fiddler From The Early Days Of Bluegrass

John William Hall was born on November 29, 1933 near Front Royal, Virginia and grew up on a small family farm. He went to the Washington, D.C. area in 1951 and soon became an important part of the area bluegrass scene. In 2005, Tom Mindte spoke with John in connection with a book he and…

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Remembering Dudley Murphy

Photo Courtesy of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine Yet what made Dudley unique is that, for as great of a picker as he was, he chose to take a life path away from music full time, which he certainly could have accomplished, and instead settled in Springfield, Missouri to raise a family and teach as an associate…

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