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My Appalachian Music and Culture Blog

Posted by budbennett on Friday, April 3, 2015

Several people have written me lately asking about my music blog.  I will say it has been getting a lot of visits since I posted the Butch Robins and Sammy Shelor video links to it, so it is probably appropriate to say a bit about what it is and why it is there.

I work at a small university in Virginia- Radford University- that sits within two hours of an amazing amount of bluegrass and Appalachian music and history.  I talk a lot about this to students and coworkers and others around here and am often amazed at how little some of them know about it all.  That inspired me to start a music blog where I would tell a little about the music, a little about the people making the music and a little about why any of that is important to me.  I also thought this blog was a good opportunity to recommend specific albums or songs to people as a sort of introduction to a music they might not have otherwise listened to.  Several of you have been generous enough to allow me to use your photographs in the blog and that certainly makes it nicer to look at and more informative too. 

I often use the blog feature some of the new CDs I buy for the library’s Appalachian music collection, or to let people know about events coming up in the area that are of a musical nature.  It has been a lot of fun over the years and I think it has been doing a good job in getting folks to listen a little more and to know a little more. 


Here are a few random posts I have made to give you an idea of what I am doing.  I would love it if you all went and had a look at these or any of the many others in there.  My goal is to educate as well as entertain.  Appalachian Music and Culture Blog.


Billy Jim’s Fiddle- This entry was written to talk about the Galax Fiddlers Convention, but it started out talking about John McEuen’s performance of a wonderful poem by Stephen Vincent Benet and how that poem was in a lot of ways responsible for me going to Galax for the first time.  I related some amusing stories in there about my first Galax experience too.

John Hartford-  John was a very special person to me.  I will say he is largely responsible for me thinking about music in the way I do.  When I was a kid he talked to me about music and told me to play what I felt and to not let anyone tell me any different.  Wonderful advice that I never forgot.  In this post I recommend some of John’s CDs and a book he wrote.  I was happy to notice the book getting checked out several times after I posted that too!

Roger Sprung-  Another post about Galax actually but a few years after the Billy Jim’s Fiddle post so that’s OK.  I hadn’t been to Galax in a few years before I wrote this one and was wondering if Roger was still attending.  I figured the best idea was to take my son with me and go see for ourselves.  I was seriously delighted to see him and talked to him a little.  Such a cool guy he is.

The New Grass Revival.  First time I saw these guys was in a bar/restaurant that was so small (HOW SMALL WAS IT?) that while sitting in at one of the only 4 tables in the room, I could have tuned Bela’s banjo for him without getting up.  Really.  (Not that he needed his banjo tuned of course, I was just that close.)  This post was about one of the NGR’s greatest hits CDs that I admit I was not excited about (I detest greatest hits albums) until I listened to it and it blew my doors off so I figured I owed the universe a sort of apology for assuming I didn’t like it before I listened to it.

The Bristol Sessions.  One time when I was in Meadows of Dan talking to Sammy Shelor, he mentioned the Bristol Sessions and how a lot of people didn’t know anything about them.  That seemed odd to me and so when I asked around I found he was right.  The big-bang of country music happened very close to here and a lot of folks don’t know it.  I hope this post helped at least a few learn about it. 

The Seldom Scene- These guys have been a musical favorite of mine for many years.  I have seen them A LOT of times and listened to certain of their albums enough times to have memorized every pop and hiss and scratch in them to the point that I miss them when I listen to the CDs now.  I sort of grew up living near train tracks and the Seldom Scene’s many songs about trains really speak to me.

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