is the name used as long ago as the 1920's for the dance tunes, songs and solo
pieces people played for entertainment before radio and recordings caused most
people to put their instruments away.
With roots in Ireland and northern Europe, and African influences, the music
adatpted to many American environments as it was played and passed from person
to person. New tunes were "made" and became part of the tradition.
Banjos joined fiddles, and when the era of the mail-order catalog came, guitars
were added, too.
By the mid-1920's, the new recording industry in the United States became interested
in recording the traditional dance tunes. Sentimental and religious songs also
became part of the old-time music captured on heavy 78 RPM discs.
Old-time music at its best is tunes and songs and the stories that give them life.
Played from the heart, the music conveys the feelings and stories of those who
played it first.
Tom's radio program
In The Tradition
airs on WDIY 88.1 FM
from 7 to 9 pm
"American music from the
roots to the branches"
Tom is also the host of the nationally-syndicated
Sing Out! Radio Magazine
on WDIY 88.1 FM
every Sunday at 10 am
also heard on Sirius/XM
Bound to Change
Our new CD, Bound to Change, features Tom, Betty, Nate, and Norm Williams. Stacy Bechtel and Brittany Hicks
also joined us for the recording sessions, and the CD includes tunes like "Weeping Pilgrim," "The
Maidencreek Waltz," and "Shove the Pig's Foot a Little Further into the Fire" (complete song notes are
For online ordering information, please visit our merchandise page.
We also host these old-time jams each month:
- June 27, 2015
Portable Maidencreek Old-time Festival Benefit
Old-time tunes and songs in an open mic format to benefit the Festival. Most likely at the Bethlehem Ice
House, but stay tuned for details to be announced later.
- July 11, 2015
9th Annual Music in the Valley Day
Quiet Valley Farm, near Stroudsburg, PA
Visit a real, operating historical farm, and hear traditional music "in the wild," in its natural
setting — played for the enjoyment of the musicians and their friends and family. There will be
informal concerts, singing in the schoolhouse, and hands-on learning, too. One of our favorite places in the
- July 12, 2015 — 10:00 am - dark
7th Annual Maidencreek Old-time Music Festival, near Blandon, PA
Joe Newberry and
Jesse Milnes are our guest teachers for this year's
Festival. Joe has been playing banjo (and fiddle, and guitar) for quite a while, and is also an experienced and
caring teacher. He was the Old-time Week Coordinator at the Augusta Heritage Workshops for six years, and
frequently performs, writes songs, and visits Prairie Home Companion.
Jesse grew up with old-time music and dance, and will teach our fiddle workshop this year. Jesse teaches
frequently at the Augusta Heritage workshops, too. He's toured with Emily Miller, the Sweetback Sisters, and
often plays for dances in the Elkins WV area, with Emily, his dad Gerry, his mom Mary Alice (she's a dance caller)
and with Nate Druckenmiller.
Both Joe and Jesse's workshops are strictly limited to 10 participants. Register now to save your place!
The Festival also features many other workshops, offering hands-on learning for bass, mandolin, guitar, fiddle,
banjo, dulcimers, and vocals. There will be concerts throughout the day, a square dance, and an evening concert
featuring a set by Joe Newberry and Jesse Milnes, and performances by the other teachers. It's fine day, with
shady pavilions, food prepared by the Blandon Lions Club, and indoor bathrooms!
Join us -- registration is open now!
- August 2-9, 2015
Augusta Heritage Center Old-time, Vocal and Dance Weeks
Old-time Week: This year we are excited to introduce a diverse team of outstanding teachers that have
both a deep connection to the music and a passion for sharing it. Students will begin each day with a single
morning class from 9:00 - noon (with a 15 minute coffee break) with their primary instructor. These in-depth
morning sessions create an intimate learning environment where students get to know their instructors and
classmates while developing new skills, awareness, and repertoire that build throughout the week. After lunch
we begin with a presentation from Old-Time Week instructors and older master musicians from around the region.
In the afternoon students can choose from an array of elective workshops and demonstrations, or attend classes
offered by Vocal and American Vernacular Dance Week. Evenings are packed with lively jams, slow jams, song swaps,
and concerts. There will be square dancing every night this year! Augusta Old-Time Week is a nurturing, friendly
environment that encourages attendance by new musicians as well as seasoned players.
Vocal Week: While singing can connect us to many wonderful cultures, the act of singing is itself one of
the oldest and most powerful traditions. Vocal Week offers a wealth of opportunities to join in this joyous energy.
Students can learn songs in a range of traditional cultures and styles, taught by nationally and internationally
known singers, teachers and songwriters.
All Week 5 students (Old-Time, Vocal, AV Dance, and Wk 5 arts/craft/folklore students) are admitted free to
all concerts, dances, and Augusta Festival events (including the Mountain Stage/Augusta Festival Concert).
for information about the weekend Festival.
Truly an experience that can change your life!
www.augustaheritagecenter.org will give you
information about teaching staff, registration and much more.
- September 20, 2015 — 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Lyons Fall Fiddle Festival, Lyons PA
Not to be missed — gospel church service, all-day jamming in the park, ice cream, good iron-kettle
soups, cider, a competition for kids, teens and then adults, and bands in between. Bring a lawn chair, or your
playing stool, an appetite and probably some sunscreen and insect repellent. The most fun you can have for
probably only $2.00, and it benefits the Lyons Park, too.
- October 3-4, 2015
Harvest Moon Festival, Coverdale Farm, Greenville, Delaware
Not as far away as you might think, and worth the trip! Fall farm activities, tastings, pumpkins, hayrides,
straw bales and lots of little kids everywhere. The Brandywine Friends of Old-time Music plan the musical
offerings, which often includes us, Driven Women, Henry Koretsky, and Dave Fry. There may be some vegan
scrapple — mmm — but we personally recommend the ice cream. More details to come.
- October 10-11, 2015 — 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Quiet Valley Fall Harvest Festival, near Stroudsburg, PA
Traditional skills and heritage crafts demonstrations: spinning, weaving, broom making, scrapple making, apple
butter making, basket making, candle making. There will also be plenty of folk entertainment, good country food,
children's activities, pumpkin decorating, a quilt raffle, pony rides, horse drawn wagon rides, one room
schoolhouse presentation, outdoor brick bake oven and much more. The New Jersey Frontier Guard will portray
French and Indian War soldiers trekking through the farm. The 142nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Co. G
Re-enactors will portray the drill and everyday life of soldiers in the 19th century. Bring a camera —
photo ops everywhere you look!
- October 23-25, 2015
Fiddler's Reunion, Davis and Elkins College, Elkins WV
Scores of West Virginia's master fiddlers, pickers, and singers gather, along with hundreds of local folks and
visitors for a weekend of fun, packed with jam sessions throughout the weekend, informal concerts, and renewal
of friendships. On Friday night the Reunion kicks off with a Halloween Square Dance. On Saturday the events
center around a concert stage in Myles Center for the Arts. From 10:00am to 4:00pm you will be able to enjoy
performances by dozens of invited old-time musicians from all over West Virginia. A flatfooting contest will be
held on the stage around 4:00pm. Cash prizes will be awarded. Exhibits and sales by instrument vendors will be
nearby, and food will be available. The weekend concludes with a Gospel Sing in the Chapel on Sunday morning.
- November 8, 2015 — 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Emmaus Farmers' Market, Emmaus
Bundle up! Cider, apples, bread, pumpkins, honey — stock up for the long winter months. Celebrate
harvest with old-time tunes!
- December 5-6 & 12-13, 2015 — 3:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Quiet Valley Farm Old-time Christmas
Come experience a winter evening on the Farm. Guides in period clothing will lead guests on their journey into
the past guided by candles, lanterns and the stars in the sky above. A living Nativity, carols in the schoolhouse,
a Belschnikel — you can look that one up! Tours leave from the pasture gate every 15 minutes. A lovely
part of Christmas tradition — see you in the Schoolhouse!
- December 13, 2015 — 4:00 pm
Godfrey Daniels, 7 East 4th Street, Bethlehem, PA
Tentatively, our Christmas celebration at Godfrey's. With Norm Williams, Charles Kiernan, and players to be
- First Tuesday of each month at
in Bethlehem, an open old-time jam from 7:00 pm -9:00 pm. Admission is now FREE to all who wish to play or listen.
Fourth Friday of each month at Meadowood Music in Blandon, PA, along Route 222. 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm. Free.
UPDATE (March 2012):
The monthly old-time jam at Meadowood Music is going on a
vacation of sorts. We hate to say it's over, but it seems like a good time to give it a little rest. We'll let everyone
know here and on the Meadowood website if and when it will
return. Thanks to Karl, Debbie, Joe, Bill, Ed, Jim, Kay and the others who've made it fun over the years. And many thanks
to Paula and Mike for giving us their space and valuable time for so many Friday nights.