Author Archives: Peter Feldmann

About Peter Feldmann

Peter Feldmann has long been a musical mainstay in Santa Barbara and Southern California. Besides actively performing bluegrass and old time music with a variety of groups, Peter is also known as a bluegrass historian, collector, music consultant, teacher, and producer, both of live concerts and radio/tv programs throughout the area. His music has been heard in clubs, concerts, saloons, universities, pre-schools, at weddings, wakes, parties, barn-raisings, calf-ropings, rodeos, auctions, fund raisers, wine tastings and chili cook offs.

Peter founded Santa Barbara’s Old Time Fiddler’s Convention (1972), UCSB’s Old Time Music Front (1964), and The Bluebird Cafe (1971). Through these and other outlets, he was the first to bring many prominent folk, blues, and bluegrass artists, including Bill Monroe, Mance Lipscomb, The Stanley Brothers, The New Lost City Ramblers, Fred McDowell, Furry Lewis, Rose Maddox, the Balfa Brothers, and many others to the Santa Barbara area. Peter also helped others access the music by teaching privately, and in group classes for Santa Barbara Continuing Education, UCSB Extension, and McCabes Guitars. He was the first on the West Coast to produce and market instruction Lps – three on How To Play Country Fiddle, and one each on Clawhammer Banjo, and Maybelle Carter Style Guitar. He still presents lectures on country music history at UCSB, Santa Barbara area libraries, and for various interest groups, festival workshops, etc. In 2006, he presented his monograph titled “The Big bang Of Bluegrass Music” (describing the origins of bluegrass 1938 – 1946) to the worlds first International Music Symposium at the University of Kentucky at Bowling Green. He has also been very active in radio, television, and film work, producing weekly shows on country and bluegrass music over a 21 year period on various commercial and public stations. Peter currently maintains three music-related websites, a music blog, and an entertainment service company, “BlueGrass West!”, based in the Santa Ynez Valley in Southern California.

Peter performs tunes and songs from the heart of America’s musical treasure chest. His shows can include fiddle, guitar, banjo, and mandolin. Well-known as a historian and teacher, Peter is first and foremost an entertainer, sharing his respect, energy and love for the music with his fellow musicians, friends, and audiences.

The Origins of Bluegrass Music

I think Bill Monroe might have hired Stringbean more as a comedian to break the ice than for his banjo picking. Either that or because he was a good shortstop! Many early bluegrass bands had at least one member who did the rube comic act . . . a relic from minstrel and medicine show times. Continue reading

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The Fiddling Seventies – Southern California

There was not as much concern about drawing a tine between bluegrass and country and old timey fiddling. In addition to traditional tunes Bobby Fenton would play Bob Wills and country songs. Speedy Smith and Harold Hensley would play really fast bluegrass barnburner style. Bob Rogers would play Kenny Baker tunes. Roscoe White would play everything from swing to Howdy Forrester tunes. IT FELT LIKE FREEDOM. IT WAS NEVER BORING. There were soooo many good fiddlers in one place and at that time I thought that was normal, but now I know it was very rare. Continue reading

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Lou Curtiss, A San Diego Folk Hero

Lou Curtiss, and old friend in the music through six decades, passed away this week in San Diego. Our friend, WB Reid shared some reminiscences of his life which I’d like to publish here. Continue reading

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The Sixties in Folk Music / 20. Tony Townsend Pt II.

Harvest Time
Tony Townsend
In the autumn of 1962, Lili Schuler in Santa Barbara asked me to play at the Rondo again. Business had gone downhill. Close to bankruptcy, Lili got the landlord to agree to weekend entertainment. This time I played … Continue reading

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The Sixties in Folk Music / 19. Russ Johnson

The Big Debut. . .
Russ Johnson
In the summer of ’62, Peter Feldmann was performing at Mephisto’s, which was a restaurant in the basement of the building that had previously housed the YMCA. The owner, Dave Bernheimer, wanted it to be … Continue reading

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