While it is a known fact that Blue Grass Boy Doug Green keeps a diary recording his activities, it isn’t so well known that another bluegrass musician did so. Well, in fact, this book is based on journal entries by Byron Berline’s wife Bette and the many road stories that Byron has often shared with fans at festivals and other venues where he appeared. Now they are here in print.
Writing with Berline is Jane Frost, the author of the Patsy Montana biography, The Cowboy’s Sweetheart.
Many will be familiar with Berline’s musical career – with Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys, with Dillard & Clark, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Clarence White, the L.A. Fiddle Band and California – and his influence, which stretches across many genres, bluegrass music, swing, country and rock’n’roll.
The story of the first few years – from his birth on July 6, 1944, in Caldwell, Kansas, through to his army years, 1967-1968, is sketched in the first person, with an early memory being the first time that Berline handled his father’s fiddle bow at the age of three or four years.
Those first 24 years, spread over seven chapters, includes his brief tenure as a Blue Grass Boy, fresh from graduation from Oklahoma University with a degree in Physical Education, describing his nervous debut performance on the Grand Ol’ Opry.
The journal entries, a diary of sorts, provide the framework to events from 1969 (to the end of 2011) liberally interlaced with anecdotes, many hilariously funny, where Berline remembers events and simple line entries where there isn’t anything significant to recall. As our memories dim they’re a good means of dating an event for those that were there.
There are some black and white pictures scattered randomly throughout.
Fundamentally, Byron Berline – A Fiddler’s Diary is a memoir with most of it presented in an original manner.
It is available from the publisher New Forums Press, Inc., on-line book suppliers and good book shops everywhere.
Paperback, 426 pp
Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 15 x 22.5 cm
New Forums Press, Inc.
1018 S. Lewis St.
Stillwater, Oklahoma 74074
About the Author (Author Profile)
Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics.
A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe.
He wrote the annotated series I’m On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.
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