A tribute to the Sweet Song String Band

What follows is the history of the Sweet Song String Band as initially displayed on this website for more than 14 years.

The Band History

The Sweet Song String Band specializes in the traditional music and popular music of 19th-century America. Originally composed of two hammered dulcimers and two Appalachian or lap dulcimers, the band took its name from the combination of a Latin word, “dulci,” meaning “sweet,” and a Greek word, “Melos,” meaning “sound”, which comprise the word “dulcimer”. Although other folk instruments in various combinations now round out Sweet Song String Band’s sound, the “sweet sounds” of dulcimers are still at the heart of the band and shape its distinctive sound.

The origin

Since its birth in 1978, the Sweet Song has played at traditional celebrations such as:

  • Texas Independence Day at Washington-on-the-Brazos and Stephen F. Austin’s 200th birthday celebration at San Felipe de Austin.
  • Music and folklife festivals such as the Sam Houston Folk Festival in Huntsville, Texas.
  • Weddings
  • Christmas parties
  • Concerts
  • Picnics

Besides Texas, the band also played in other states Port Allen, Louisiana, the Cranberry Dulcimer Gathering in Binghamton, New York, the Yellowbanks Dulcimer Festival in Owensboro, Kentucky and Civil War Re-enactments in Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, Pleasant Hill, Louisiana and Dallas, Texas.

In recent years, the Sweet Song String Band has become one of the preeminent dance bands in the state, providing authentic 19th-century dance music, while Dance Master Karel Wheat instructs and calls period dances.

She has conducted 19th-century balls in the following locations:

  • San Antonio at the Menger Hotel
  • Fort Worth at the White Elephant Saloon
  • Fort Worth at the Remington Hotel
  • Dallas at Samuell Farm
  • Old City Park and Arlington Hall
  • Fort Davis’ Old Fort Davis
  • Jacksboro’s Fort Richardson
  • San Angelo’s Fort Concho
  • Groesbeck’s Old Fort Parker
  • Liendo Plantation in Hempstead.

Members

Members of the band include:

  • David Lindsey plays the bouncy, rhythmic style of hammered dulcimer that keeps dancers moving and audiences tapping their feet.
  • Annette Lindsey plays piano and soloing on autoharp or lap dulcimer.
  • Karel Wheat plays bones, spoons, bodhran, and lumberjack or bass fiddle when she’s not teaching or calling dances.
  • Larry Wheat is playing fiddle, mandolin, and guitar in a “ragged but right” style.
  • Betty Odum is playing classic old-time clawhammer-style banjo, lap dulcimer, and whistle.

This old-time music is a reminder that there was a time when life was simple, and the music was a “homemade” thing to be played “just for the fun of it”!

Sweet Song String Band in action

Here’s a video of the band performing live at the Winter Creek Reunion festival in 2013.

Original contact information

As previously displayed on the website here is the contact info of the band should you wish to get in touch with them.

Larry Wheat David Lindsey
637 S. E. 3rd Street 654 Acorn Lane
Grand Prairie, Texas 75051-2054 Bennington, Oklahoma 74723
972-262-2550 580-847-2822

The 2017 Update

To avoid any legal dilemmas I’d like to clarify that the Sweet Song String Band website is currently not by a member of the band. My plans for the site entail more than just a display for the original group. I want to turn it into an influential music blog covering not just Texas music, but many kinds of aspects. However, as a tribute to the Sweet Song String Band, I am more than happy to leave all their original band information here for everyone to read about.

I’ve also published their original Recordings page where you can read about all the bands recorded albums down the years starting in 1981 up until 2010. If you are an original band member or have any affiliation with the group and like me to remove any information, please contact me at info@sweetsongstringband.com.

Weird But Awesome Vinyl Record Storage Furniture: The Vinyl Series Part 2

My previous record player stand post and the excellent content from Premier Records ( a website I mentioned in the post) inspired me to take a look at another section of record collecting for my vinyl series: vinyl record storage. This article is part two of the series.

If you ask a vinyl music record aficionado, storing your LP’s on a modern storage cabinet is tantamount to sacrilege. To give your collection the right character, you need something more rustic, and in keeping with the timeless nature of the music they hold, you need vinyl record storage furniture that is out of the ordinary. Okay, so maybe you don’t need it to be out of the ordinary, but it will make your collection just so much more unique. Don’t you think?

I’ve found a selection of 4 somewhat weird but excellent pieces of vinyl record storage furniture to get you started.

Solid Oak Hairpin Legs Vinyl Storage Stand

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/320740804702869292/

Unique and even quaint in appearance, this LP organizer and stand is a good addition as any you and you can buy it online. The stand is made of solid mahogany with brass hairpin legs. As a handcrafted piece of furniture, you are guaranteed solidity and fail-safe reliability for a lifetime of use. While this stand is very simple and minimalist in design, it nonetheless incorporates a cabinet for storing the record player and an open-access cabinet for storing your vinyl record collection. The record player’s cabinet takes up the largest space, measuring 29 inches long. It is also 27 inches tall and 15 inches thick. This is more than adequate space to accommodate an average size collection and turntable.

Rustoregon Repurposed Cable Media Center

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/564849978251725309/

From the purveyors of repurposed vintage and salvaged goods, Rustoregon has created this unconventionally beautiful vinyl record storage product. It is a repurposed piece of furniture, made almost entirely from the spool reel used for transporting cables. This use of the hewn, unsmoothed wood for the cabinetry is what gives it such a rustic allure. Indeed, even if the makers have carefully applied several layers of paint on the cabinet’s entire surface, the grainy wood beneath, complete with chips and screw head notches are still seen and give’s it a lot of character.

Way Basics Super Storage Record Cube

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/107242034856058127/

For the avid collector, there is nothing quite like the ample room for storing all your prized LP’s as is offered by this eclectic solid wood vinyl record storage furniture. Okay, maybe this isn’t the best looking product, but I had to add something like this that offers a lot of storage and functionality.

Even better, the record cubes are versatile enough to provide you means to expand your storage as your collection grows without compromising on its rather unique aesthetics. Just stack the cubes on each other to accommodate all the records in your collection. Each of the wooden cubes is capable of holding up to two dozens of vinyl records at a time. This sort of versatility enables you to put some order to your collection. You could, for instance, place different artists inappropriate cubes or you could sort your collection by year, genre or some other category.

Mapleshade Interlocking Record Shelf

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/467107792585282730/

Distinctive for its simplicity and two-tiered design; this modular vinyl record storage cabinet is both fun and functional. Owing to its space-saving credentials, it is ideal for use as a bedside vinyl record cabinet. It also brings a real twist to your LP collection. The top cabinet is joined to the lower one using a metal spindle which can rotate easily with a simple twist. It provides ample storage for a couple of dozen vinyl records, maybe a little more as your needs may be.

Although this list feels to me like a very alternative group of products I wouldn’t be providing you a real value if I didn’t show you Premier Records’ vinyl record storage product guide. 24 Products to choose from are a lot better than just four.

Vinyl Records are making a huge comeback thanks to millennials

Vinyl comeback

Over the years the millennial generation, those that grew up in the 1990s to the early 2000s, have been accused of numerous things such as getting rid of focus groups, casual dining, and even beer. However, amidst all the negative accusations, there is something positive they can now be proud of. Vinyl is making a comeback to the point that analysts are projecting sales of up to $1billion this year and many are crediting the change to Millennials.

A recent report has shown that nearly 50% of Gramophone users are 35 years or younger. Because of this sudden demand, organizations such as ‘Vinyl Me, Please,’ which was founded in 2013 as a Vinyl subscription service by Tyler Barstow and Matt Fielder (who also happen to be from the Millennial generation), are launching back to accommodate this resurgence of Vinyl records. The service sends its users an exclusive LP with original album art and a cocktail recipe that has been designed to match the record on a regular basis.

The question is: Why are Vinyl records making such a big comeback and why now? Many would say it’s all about nostalgic collectors, however, most of the clients from ‘Vinyl Me, Please’ never grew up with LPs and record players. Instead, Matt Fielder attributes the Vinyl come back to the willingness of the millennial generation to trade the idea of convenience for a rewarding experience. Additionally, clients in their 20’s and 30’s, some of whom grew up streaming music, are now finding the idea of owning a Vinyl record very fascinating. Holding records is an entirely different experience as to scrolling through your mobile phone for a song to play.

Tyler Barstow, one of the co-owners, also went on to add that the primary goal of their Vinyl organization is to offer a service to its users that puts the album as the central part of their listening experience. Vinyl records provide an incredible feeling that allows you to sit down, listen, and also participate.

Matt Fielder also says that every month, ‘Vinyl Me, Please’ features one record that they believe to be essential for the modern Vinyl record collection. Fielder also adds that part of the primary reason why Vinyl is making a comeback because the idea of a real relationship with music in intriguing to the millennial generation as most of them never had such an experience due to the fact they grew up in the age of digital and streaming music.

Barstow also stated that Vinyl is an art form of music which is used to memorialize albums that we cherish and provides a unique experience like no other. Vinyl Me, Please also aspires to be a platform that connects the best creators of music and art with the best fans from all over the world. Their primary goal is to create a real life music community such as their spins series. This consists of a monthly Vinyl listening event done by the organization at over 20 venues in the US. It helps to connect different people in meaningful ways and assist them to build relationships with other members of the Vinyl community.

To ensure that Vinyl records do not fade away in the future, Vinyl Me, Please has expanded their online store to other items like the genre based tracks and also allows its users to connect with their various music application profiles such as Spotify. This gives them a better idea of what kind of music is relevant to each of their listeners. While their store might not have all Vinyl records in the world, they mostly try to include the records that they believe matter and the music which is worth the time and attention to keep their users engaged and always have something good for them to buy and enjoy.

Here’s a video review of the service I talk about in this article:

Source: http://fortune.com/2017/08/04/millennials-vinyl-industry/

Record Player Stands: The Vinyl Series Part 1

As part of giving this website a new lease on life, I’ve chosen to start a series on the world of record players. As you’ll see with the next 3-5 articles I’m going to publish, vinyl is making a huge comeback and with it, an industry full of competing, supporting and often confusing products. I’ve been doing research into different vinyl record/turntable communities and have found the community to be very tight knit with a combination of beginners and veterans that know just about everything about vinyl.

old vinyl on record stand that is open

Needless to say, I’m still growing in the knowledge of record players myself so I’m very careful with regards to what I publish. I want to be helpful, retain visitors and at the same time not scare anyone away with rookie information. That’s why I got the idea to start the series tackling the topics on turntable and record player stands as shown here. This part of the vinyl industry seems self-explanatory and easy enough for a beginner to write about. What I discovered was a website called Premier-recordsin.com that did an insanely detailed feature on the different stands and furniture products available for record collectors. I’ve found it’s best just to check Amazon for all the record player stands.

I might get them to do a feature on SSSB (my website) sometime in the future, but I’m not there yet.

Even with little knowledge, I thought it would be possible to, similar to  Premier Records, write a short review of a few turntable stands alike. Maybe it was a bit easier said than done, but I got through it in one piece.

I wanted to be unique. The website I mentioned seemed to have covered almost every notable products on the market, but they didn’t add all the record player stands I found on YouTube. This is part of the reason I thought it would be easy to start with this topic.

Now it’s safe to warn you before going further that most of these videos are about DIY’ing a turntable stand/media console/cabinet or anything related. I review these furniture creations not on my own knowledge, but mostly on looks and what I think someone who collects vinyl records would like. I’ve realized that although this growing music culture is obviously a lot about the music, a big appeal lies with looks and functionality and the tools you own. This does not only count for record players but furniture products and anything else.

Mid-century Modern Inspired DIY Media Console

This media console really looks great and if I have to be honest, the making of it is not really that hard. This type of turntable design is all the rage on websites like Etsy where I’ve seen tons of sellers promoting similar stands. Here’s a media console on Amazon that I really fancy: Crosley Everett that looks fairly popular as well.

Repurposed File Cart Turntable Stand

Just to show you how easy it really can be, this guy took an old file cart, painted it red and turned it into a record furniture product that you would have paid $200 for. With a little creativity, the journey of record collection can be so much more than just listening to music. It can truly turn into a lifestyle. The sheer amount of YouTube videos and products on the market is surely proof of that.

This short introductory does not do record player stands true justice, but seeing as it’s the first part of my vinyl series I’m hoping you’ll take it for what it is and let this one slide. See you at the next one with more information.

There’s no stopping vinyl: Sony is even joining the game – It’s about time…

The Sony Music Entertainment group made an announcement a while back that it would once again they will be manufacturing vinyl records. This comes after almost 30 years of declaring them dead. Go figure.

This move is believed to have been prompted by the increasing demand for vinyl over the past few years. Interestingly enough, some of the people who are now looking into vinyl records are from a younger generation that has never used them before and obviously from older fans as well. While most young people still prefer streaming music over records, it has been discovered that consumers aged 35 years and younger accounted for 70% of the sale of records last year in the US. The decision to start making vinyl records again comes after 28 years when Sony had decided to put an end the production of LPs to focus more on CDs which had begun to corner the market back in 1989.

The decision to start making vinyl records again comes after 28 years when Sony had decided to put an end the production of records to focus more on CDs which had begun to corner the market back in 1989. It was probably a good move then and an even better one now to get back into the LP market.

Over the past few years, record sales have enjoyed a steady growth. Earlier this year, BPI, an organization based in Britain, released research which showed that vinyl sales in 2016 reached the same levels as in pre-1991. In the U.K alone, vinyl sales have increased to 53% thereby bringing the total to 3.2 million units sold. The US has also seen an increasing surge in LP sales. BuzzAngle music released a finding which showed records sales gaining 25.9% thereby moving approximately 7.2 million units in 2016 alone. Various reports also predict that vinyl sales will reach the 800 – 900 million dollar mark and will eventually surpass the 1 billion dollar mark.

BuzzAngle music released a finding which showed records sales gaining 25.9% thereby moving approximately 7.2 million units in 2016 alone. Various reports also predict that vinyl sales will reach the 800 – 900 million dollar mark and will eventually surpass the 1 billion dollar mark. That’s a staggering amount of physical music sales.

Both Sony and Panasonic introduced new record player models in 2016 to cash in on the returning trend. Sony has also stated that the production of vinyl records will start in Tokyo in a production company located just southwest of the country which has already installed record cutting equipment. The company has also hiring experienced vinyl engineers who will ensure that all the vinyl records will be reproduced in high-quality sound. However, LP record sales in Japan have not experienced a huge rise as seen in both the US and UK and consumers in the country have bought only 799,000 vinyl records.

The company has started hiring experienced record engineers who will ensure that all the records will be reproduced in high-quality sound. The growth of vinyl is good for many economies, with old jobs like vinyl engineers even starting to make a comeback.

However, vinyl record sales in Japan have not experienced a huge rise as seen in both the US and UK and consumers in the country have bought only 799,000 vinyl records.

VE explains it in detail here:

Some of the top 10 lists of LPs feature an interesting mix of both classic and contemporary hits. Ed Sheeran’s album “Divide,” currently leads the vinyl charts and the late Amy Winehouse’s album “Back to Black” is second in the lead. Also in the lead include classic albums such as The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” and Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon.” However, don’t expect to purchase vinyl records easily from Sony’s production company in Japan. The company’s Tokyo factory is only taking orders from outside record labels. Since the company currently has only one active record manufacturer, it may have a difficult time keeping up with demands, but more vinyl record branches are expected to be established by Sony in the years to come.

Other includes classic albums such as The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” and Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon.” However, don’t expect to purchase vinyl records easily from Sony’s production company in Japan. The company’s Tokyo factory is only taking orders from outside record labels. Since the company currently has only one active vinyl record manufacturer, it may have a difficult time keeping up with demands, but more LP branches are expected to be established by Sony in the years to come.

Currently, the biggest challenge that Sony faces is the lack of engineers who are experienced in the manufacture of records. Retired engineers are now making a comeback to the music industry to play an advisory role and pass on their knowledge and expertise to younger employees.

While it is indeed true that vinyl records are making a significant comeback in the music industry, its sales will still be hindered by formats which still dominate the industry such as CDs and digital music.

Either way, it’s super cool to see this old format making a comeback and one can only dream all the developments and changes it will bring to the music industry.

The Beatles Posters: Iconic Images Of A Time Long Ago

My dad used to love listening to The Beatles. If you don’t know who they are, you’re not doing your musical knowledge any good. You can read up about them on their official Wikipedia page here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beatles

These four band members including John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison took the musical world by storm during their active years which was only between 1960-1970. Their music and influence remained very active even after they decided to call it quits. The Beatles have received numerous music awards and sold almost 800 million copies of their music in a mix between digital and CD or LP’s.

That’s a lot of albums, no wonder there are so many Beatles posters out there. These guys, even though I don’t like some of them because of their weird standpoints on life, are music icons and have probably influenced more of today modern music than anyone could ever realize. When I was a little younger, I didn’t like any of their songs, but as my taste developed and my dad put his favorite Beatles album on I started to enjoy it.

Their songs are catchy, sounds good until even today and it’s almost too hard to believe they created their albums with so few instruments. Before this turns into a history, I wanted to show you some of the cool Beatles posters I found online. I saw most of them at the trippystore.com, so I don’t hope these guys take offense when I show a few of them for you here.

Here are my two favorite ones. The first one is the iconic retro album art. I think it was one of the previous album covers. The colors are super retro. It’s called the pop art Beatles poster.

pop art beatles posters

Number two features the band in front of the American flag. Truth be told these guys were as British as you get, but they had the big United States following.

Just for fun I also added the Abbey Road Beatles poster. Any fan should and would know this image.

The World Of Music Has Evolved With These Musical Instruments

It’s easy to get used to the same instruments and never consider that there might be a better or at least different way of creating music. With the these newly created musical instruments you’ll push the boundaries of what is normal when it comes to by a musician. You should take a look at the “3 New inventions of advanced technology musical instruments” video. Normally YouTube videos aren’t that entertaining for me, but this one is very informative, and the design is excellent!

MI Guitar

The MI Guitar is a new kind of guitar that is built specifically to make learning engaging a musical device such as the guitar not only easy but very fun. According to the creators only 10% of the United States population can play a musical instrument, but with the MJ Guitar is shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes to get starting. It sounds almost too hard to believe, but they’ve made it so easy that I feel inclined to agree with them.

With the MI Guitar, the guitar strings on the front board have been swapped with soft plastic buttons while keeping strings for strumming. The guitar comes with a mobile app that makes displaying chords and songs very easy. The creators want to promote music in almost any location whether on the beach, at home or around a campfire. I’ve listened and enjoyed many beach parties with friends where they play guitar, and everyone sings along. It’s an awesome feeling and moment to experience.

Besides the guitar has a built-in speaker you can also plug in your headphones and play just for yourself.

Fusion Guitar

The second invention is called the Fusion guitar and is a whole other creation on its own. The guitar is very traditional however it has a built-in docking station for an iPhone and a speaker.

Similar to the previous product they make use of smart technology like iPhone apps to teach people music and make it an affordable process. You don’t need additional accessories like an amplifier, speakers or other gear to play, just the fusion guitar.

As for the third invention, I’ll leave it in your hands. If you haven’t already go and watch that video! If you enjoy music or have ever wanted to learn how to play music you need to go and watch it. I can almost guarantee that you’ll like it.

5 Cool Music Band Shirts For Gigs & Everyday Use

If you’re in a band or aspiring to be in one, it goes without saying that you need the right gear. Besides the obvious guitar, mic, drums and whatever else instrument you play, you need at least one good music band shirt. This is nothing less than a short list of a few good shirts I found on my favorite t-shirt store Teespring.com.

The original music band t-shirt

grey music band shirt with black logo

When I got the idea of showing you this cool list of music apparel this shirt was the first one that jumped up almost everywhere. Needless to say, it’s probably the original design. It was plain and simple and written in a lookalike ACDC font to make it neat and rock-and-roll at the same time. If you’re not into short sleeves, you choose to opt for a hoodie, sweatshirt or even sleeveless. Here’s the purchase link.

Let everyone know what you’re up to

teespring apparel in black

I like the font used on the music band shirt and if you want to get noticed this is the shirt to wear. If band members would wear this shirt, I’m not so sure. It could be dressed comically, and that’s probably it’s being advertised as a “funny shirt.” Wouldn’t it be cool if all of the members of your group arrived at a gig wearing one of these hoodies or something similar? Would you wear it or does it have wannabee written all over?

Old guys still rock and can keep on rolling!

I forget to mention that my dad plays guitar for our Church band. This shirt is perfect for him. If I bought it for him, chances are he’ll never want to go to group practice without it. It’s probably not that suitable for Sunday Church, but still kind of cool. It says: “Old guys still Rock! Aged to perfection. Growing old disgracefully. Only vintage on the outside.” You got to laugh at this one. The person that came up with this slogan conducted their due diligence with their market research. I can just imagine a bunch of over 50-year-old men wearing this music band shirt. Since I like this one and think it’s not just me this time I’m going to link out to it. Spoil your dad and get him one of these.

The neutral guitar mic combo

Not every musician likes being flashy and wearing apparel that tells the whole world what they are up to. This piece of clothing is just for them. It’s just a black shirt with a picture of a guitar and mic on it. Perfect for almost any casual occasion and excellent for a laid back jam session.

Conclusion

There’s a lot of black apparel items on my little old list, but you can rest assured it’s always a fresh color to wear. I hope you enjoyed my music band shirt list and you might have noticed that the title says “5” but I only include “4”. What I’d like you to do is send in some of your favorite shirts I could grow the list to 5, 10, 15 or even bigger. Send them to gigs@sweetsongstringband.com.