Smith Journal - - Smith Stuff -

The Ap­palachian dul­cimer, like many things as­so­ci­ated with coun­try mu­sic, of­ten gets a bad rap: in its spe­cific in­stance, writ­ten off as a hill­billy zither built to be strummed by folk whose su­per­fluity of fin­gers and/or ab­sence of thumbs makes pluck­ing a banjo for­bid­dingly dif­fi­cult. This, like most dis­missals of coun­try mu­sic, is ill-in­formed. From the Ap­palachian dul­cimer, a skilled player can wring both the sparkle of the gui­tar and the melan­choly of the pedal steel. (Seek out the footage of the great dul­cimer player David Sch­naufer ac­com­pa­ny­ing Em­my­lou Har­ris on Hank Wil­liams’ ‘May You Never Be Alone’ for proof.) Cal­i­for­nian com­pany Wol­fum of­fer a range of beau­ti­ful dul­cimers for around $300 a go. Pleas­ant though they are to look at, it would be an out­rage to leave them to lan­guish as mere or­na­ments. wol­ AM

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