Podcast: Bluegrass 101 pt. 1, The Pioneers
Episode #17-17 | airing 4-26-17

This week we begin another of our occasional features focusing on a particular style of music. Bluegrass for me began with the first recordings Bill Monroe made with Earl Scruggs. We’ll hear that initial tune and some additional music from Bill and the Bluegrass Boys. We’ll also hear some classics … → read more

“The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake” – Conversations with Death – 6

Our darling wandered far away… I had an odd reaction to that recent video of the rescue of a toddler running alone down the middle of a busy Highway 101 in Oregon.  A old, favorite song popped into my head instantly – “The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake.”  It won’t … → read more

“Gambler’s Blues” (Unfortunate Rake, Part Two)

This post on “Gambler’s Blues”/”St. James Infirmary” is the second installment on variants of the “Unfortunate Rake” ballads. The first installment was on an older, British “Rake” ballad, called “Pills of White Mercury,” in which the narrator comes across a military comrade wrapped in white linen and dying. Mercury was a … → read more


The Railsplitters The Faster It Goes

          THE RAILSPLITTERS The Faster it Goes Self www.therailsplitters.com   The Railsplitters is a bluegrass band made up of three women and two men, and this is their debut album. The men, banjo player Dusty Rider and mandolinist Peter Sharpe, wrote most of the album’s material. … → read more

SORM Playlist #15-23: The Mandolin Episode
(airing the week starting 6-03-15)

The Mandolin is a remarkably versatile instrument at home in Classical, Jazz, Celtic and Folk Music from a variety countries. This week we’ll hear Mandolin Masters Bill Monroe, Jesse McReynolds, Butch Baldassari, Rudy Cipolla, Yank Rachell and Jethro Burns & Tiny Moore. We’ll also sample the Allegro from Vivaldi’s Concerto … → read more

In the Pines: A Guide

On this blog, we often play detective. In fact, that’s pretty much all we do, and this post is no different, but I’m going to start by turning the tables. What, if anything, do you make of these fragments?: A woman being questioned. Pine trees. A long train. A decapitated … → read more


        Billy Strings & Don Julin Fiddle Tune X Self-Released www.billystrings.com   It seems unlikely that a phenomenally talented acoustic musician would just happen to have been born with what would turn out to be such a fortuitously descriptive name, but if you can play the guitar … → read more


          Various Artists You Are There Shanachie 622 www.shanachie.com   Back in the previous century’s videocassette era, Shanachie put out a series of early-1950s live performances by country acts (including Chet Atkins, Ernest Tubb and Marty Robbins) that had been excellently filmed by Al Gannaway. Most … → read more

Rest In Peace Jim Shumate

Legendary bluegrass fiddler Jim Shumate has passed away at 91 years of age after battling kidney failure and Alzheimer’s disease. On October 8, 2013. Shumate was hospitalized after taking a serious fall, and was later transferred to Catawba Regional Hospice where he peacefully passed away around 1:00 a.m., near his … → read more