Dennis Stroughmatt: La Belle Blondine


La Belle Blondine
Swallow 6223

When you studied US history, you probably never learned about the French Creole settlers who founded the Illinois territory 300 years ago along the Mississippi and the Wabash Rivers. With the The Louisiana Purchase the influence of the French was locked away. Missouri Fiddler Dennis Stroughmatt has been on a quest to reestablish an understanding of the folk life of this Midwestern French musical tradition.

His fiddling style is an energetic and driving combination of Celtic, Canadian and Old-Time styles as he strives to be the bridge between contemporary Canadian and Louisiana Cajun styles. The crack band is not the typical accordion-based ensemble but it more resembles a traditional country band with guitar, mandolin and bass and the occasional triangle. I can easily imagine this wonderful music gracing a small bandstand at a barn dance on a summer Saturday night.

What the listener learns from this fine CD is how much this music has been incorporated into modern day fiddle styles. Dennis Stroughmatt is very talented musician who is a great ambassador for Midwestern French Creole music. Listen and learn … but more importantly: enjoy this infectious music!

Tom Druckenmiller

About Tom Druckenmiller

Tom has a long history with Sing Out! as a writer and regular contributor (for more than a decade) and deep and rich skills as a radio host and programmer of folk and roots music! He's been a folk musician and teacher for over forty years. Tom began playing and singing Bob Dylan and Tom Paxton songs, but fell in love with old-time music and the clawhammer banjo after hearing John McCutcheon at the legendary Bethlehem folk club Godfrey Daniels. He has studied with old-time music greats Dwight Diller, Riley Baugus and Norman and Nancy Blake … and has, himself, taught at many music camps and workshops including The Augusta Heritage Workshops (in Elkins WV), the Pocono Dulcimer Fest (in Stroudsburg PA) and the Maidencreek Old-Time Music Festival (in Blandon PA). Druckemiller’s continuing regular local radio gig “In The Tradition” has aired on WDIY-FM in Allentown PA for the past 16 years, and he also co-hosts the “Sunday Folk” program on the station.

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