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Showing posts from June, 2016

New Dwight Diller Biography: Interview and Excerpts

Ever since I started playing the banjo in 2008, I have heard about Dwight Diller. He is renowned as a musician, teacher and historian of West Virginia music and culture.
As a musician, Diller is known for his heavy rhythmic drive. As a teacher, his weeklong instructional camps promote full immersion into the culture and music of West Virginia. As a historian, he has documented the legendary Hammons family of Pocahontas County, West Virginia.
Diller has been the subject of many discussions on the online forum Banjo Hangout, and it was through this website that I met Lew Stern and learned of his newly released biography, Dwight Diller: West Virginia Mountain Musician. Released in April by independent publisher McFarland, the book is 216 pages and will run you $35.
Stern started playing the banjo in the 1960s when he got “swept up in the enthusiasm of the folk revival.” He embraced Pete Seeger’s music and bought a long-neck banjo. He later “came under the spell” of Earl Scruggs’ bluegrass …

Fire Destroys Romero Banjos

Sad news from Horsefly, British Columbia: J. Romero Banjo Co. suffered a devastating fire that consumed Jason and Pharis Romero's banjo workshop.

The fire occurred around 3 a.m. on June 6. No one was injured, but the damage is estimated to have cost about $250,000. In addition to all of the company's instrument-building materials, including completed banjos that were due to ship out that day, the Juno award-winning Romeros also lost their personal instruments.

From the company website: "Sadly, we have had a devastating shop fire and have lost everything. We are hoping to rebuild as soon as possible, and look forward to having banjos in new hands soon. Thank you for the messages of love and well wishes, and the very appreciated support."

From Pharis Romero via Facebook: "We do have insurance, but are waiting on coverage information and claims amounts. We are looking at a minimum of 6 weeks before we can start rebuilding the shop, and then unknown months before w…