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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Pete Peterson The sound of old time (timey) music (39) RE: The sound of old time (timey) music 08 Sep 05

Such an opportunity! Mark Humphrey's article (posted by Greg Loux) gives an introduction.

Dazbo (addressing you directly) one way to find out would be to come to one of our gigs over the next couple weeks. The Orpheus Supertones, an old-time group in which I have the honor to participate, is going to spend most of September 14-26 in southwest England and will in fact be at the Cornwall Bluegrass Festival that first weekend. You'll hear several bluegrass groups, and us. . . and then you'll have a better idea.

   Of course, that carried the hubristic assumption of "what we play is a good example of old-time music." Our usual lineup is two fiddles (Clare Milliner, Walt Koken), banjo (me), and guitar (Kellie Allen) --no bass. Since I fell in love with Charlie Poole's music over 40 years ago, the banjo is played (if I'm playing it) in Poole's style, which is an old 3-finger style derived from "classical' banjo playing, not Bluegrass banjo and also not Clawhammer. We also switch off so that we have Walt
playing in a very traditional and very good clawhammer (or frailing) banjo, I'm either playing 2nd banjo or switch to guitar. The kind of music we play can often be used as dance music for square dancing and contra dancing. We also love the squirrely, irregular tunes which arose out of the mountains and hollows of West Virginia and Kentucky and can't be danced to. When we sing, we are often telling stories, ballads such as the Carter Family sang, or lamenting a lost love (Bury Me Under the Willow) or a protest song from 1930 (Prohibition is a Failure). We believe the singing is at least as important as the playing.

Of course, the most fun is to learn to make it yourself, and you'll find that old time music, more than anything else, is a social music, an opportunity to get together with friends and make music. Hope you'll do that!

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