Author: Bartlett, Regina



What the heck is a dulcimer? I get that question all the time. A dulcimer is an easy instrument to play. It’s a four string American Appalachian instrument tuned an octave and a fifth or in unison and sits on your lap and you strum it. It often has an hour glass, tear drop or box shape with different shapes for sound holes. There are many variations. The dulcimer fretboard is diatonic and similar to the white keys on a piano or it can be chromatic. Lately, I have a new appreciation for this wonderful instrument and my old friends. I have several dulcimers and I keep them in various tunings.

I studied dulcimer with Jean Ritchie and Joellen Lapidus. Joellen was Joni Mitchell's teacher. Jean Ritchie is from Viper, Kentucky. Her family sang songs together. Jean passed these songs on and also some traditional mountain songs and country songs. She wrote many wonderful songs including, The L& N Don’t Stop Here Anymore and Blue Diamond Mines and Sweet Companion. I heard that Jeanie Poling also studied dulcimer from Jean Ritchie in New York.

Evo Bluestein told me that his family was friends with Jean Ritchie and that he even produced an album for her, “High Hills and Mountains.” I sure did enjoy Evo Bluestein when he played the other night at The Ugly Mug. I was delighted to discover that Evo is an amazing musician. He played dulcimer, guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, autoharp and accordian and clogged and sang many wonderful songs. He opened with a really nice version of Shady Grove with some very good lyrics. Evo grew up in a home full of music. Evo’s Father was a Professor of American Studies and he loved the music of the common people. His Father was friends with Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Ledbelly, Lizbeth Cotton, Mavina Reynolds, Bob Dylan, and Jean Ritchie and many others. What was so amazing about Evo’s concert the other night was how he introduced his songs with stories about why these songs were so important to the American people and what was going on in the world at the time. Growing up with music, Evo never knew that there were different styles of music. He only knew that music was music. I like that!

For 16 years Evo has taught and performed educational dance and music programs throughout the state. He also performed 3 times at the Strawberry Music Festival and has been an instructor for the CBA Music Camp. Evo is a walking talking musicologist!

I saw Nina Gerber and Chris Webster at a House Concert in Prunedale. Great music, good dinner, good people, more music, dessert, fine evening anyway you like it!

Last week I performed for the Boulder Creek/Brookdale Old Time Festival. Eric Burman and Bruce Bellachio produced a very successful little music festival and took over the town of Boulder Creek, CA.

I played six Dulcimer and six Guitar songs at The Pass Studio, in Boulder Creek. I had never performed in a recording studio before. I had a great time.

The first band up on stage Saturday was: Page Brownton (guitar and vocals) and Side Track with Jessica Evans on bass and Paul Clark on banjo. I was so thrilled to see my friends shine on stage. What a Band!

I always enjoy the music of Cactus Bob and Prairie Flower and Tooloose Renwah. Scopazzi’s and Joe’s Bar were the places to be. Stoney Mountain Ramblers, Nipple Creek, Research & Development, Jean Butterfield, Julio In Glasses, Heathen Hill, David Elson, Common Cents, and Surf City Swing Band. Saturday night the jamming was all around Boulder Creek and everyone ended up playing at Joe’s Bar.

Last Monday night, I went to the Digital Media Center and saw Sarah Elizabeth Campbell and Nina Gerber and Chris Webster. Sarah Elizabeth and Nina were so good. I love Nina’s guitar playing. It was good to see a lot of friends and the music was wonderful. My good friend Ginny Mitchell and her husband Marty Collins have created Digital Media Center and are producing “Santa Cruz Live” and it’s like an “Austin City Limits“, Santa Cruz style. It’s really nice!
To view the first Santa Cruz Live Show:

And to see Claire Lynch on Santa Cruz Live:

Are you releasing a CD? Why not film your CD and have your release party at the Digital Media Factory? We seat 75 -200, have a large backstage area, and a large stage with grand piano. Give us a call for a no obligation tour through our facility. 831-427-1785. Ask for Ginny. For more information:

So here on Harmony Road,
it’s all about the song and the music.
Strum it! Play it! Sing it! Do it!
Posted:  3/18/2011

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