Fiddlin’, Pickin’, Grinnin’
Elizabeth Hurd Published: April 1st, 2011
Back in the days of the Great Rebellion, many of us didn’t know much about bluegrass. Hearing the term made us think of Kentucky, but not Bill Monroe. Everything was about Rock & Roll. New and original, Rock & Roll is the music of a generation. Eventually we ran across The Flying Burrito Brothers and one of the best Rock & Roll experiences ever – “The Last of the Red Hot Burritos”. We discovered Byron Berline on the fiddle and we finally discovered bluegrass. We began to trace back Byron’s history in music and fell in love with bluegrass, and every album of every group Berline has been affiliated with. What a fiddle!
The first British music invasion really takes hold in Appalachia. Scottish, English, Irish and Welsh ballads evolved into distinctly American folk music and became the foundation of Country Music, Gospel Music, Bluegrass and Rock & Roll.
Some years ago a beautiful and talented young lady saw a photo of a tall drink of water in the athletic department of the University of Oklahoma. He was holding a football in one hand (his strength) and a fiddle (his soul) in the other. He had a twinkle in his eye (his heart), and that certainly looked interesting. Sooner or later they teamed up and Bette and Byron Berline have been the basis of a strong collaboration ever since.
In 1995 they moved to Guthrie Oklahoma (Bette’s hometown) where The Double Stop Fiddle Shop is located. What a great place for fiddles and fiddlers, violins and violinists – if one doesn’t know the difference it’s easy to find out – mandolins, banjos and guitars. Buying, selling, repairing, but most of all playing and pickin’. Just above the friendly music store is the music hall where the Byron Berline Band often plays on a Saturday night of joy.
Berline was taught to play by his father Lue Berline and his many collaborations from The Bluegrass Boys with Bill Monroe to Byron Berline and Sundance, then Berline, Crary & Hickman have given him the foundation to assemble the best of the best. They came to jam and jelled into The Byron Berline Band. John Hickman on banjo, Richard Sharp on the bass fiddle, Greg Burgess on fiddle and guitar, Jim Fish on guitar and Steve Short keeping tempo on the drums join Byron for a little bit of string heaven. Everyone vocalizes a bit, but the voices of Sharp and Fish are especially melodious.
The Byron Berline Band also has frequent guest artists from Mason Williams to Barry “Bones” Patton (on cowbones –isn’t it great?) adding to the fun and great music. Cowboy crooner Jim Garling is a favorite and his voice and guitar add a wonderful dimension to the evening.
evening performances take place at 7:30 at the Double Stop Music Hall above the Double Stop Fiddle Shop at 121 E. Oklahoma Avenue. The spring schedule continues with April 9 and 23, May 21 and June 11. May 7 features a special appearance at the fairgrounds for Western Swing featuring Leon Rausch so pull out the dancin’ boots! For more information about finding oneself at the best place and the best time visit www.doublestop.com or call 405.282.6646. The Byron Berline Band, wherever they are is where there is “fiddlin’, pickin’, and a whole lot of grinnin’ goin’ on!”