Dan Levenson

Old-Time Banjo and Fiddle Teacher, Performer and Storyteller


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About the Book

This is a biography of Dan Levenson, an old-time banjo and fiddle player from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Between 1987 and 1991, Dan worked for Goose Acres Folk Music Center in Cleveland, Ohio, where he dove deeply into old-time music. In the late 1980s, he formed the Boiled Buzzards; they recorded four albums between 1989 and 1994 and were a consistently active presence at old-time music festivals. He also played with Bob Frank during that time as one-half of the Hotfoot Duo. In 1995, he teamed up with Kim Murley and recorded New Frontier: Instrumentals from China and America.
Levenson undertook his first cross-country trip as a solo performer in 1996. His traveling workshop “Meet the Banjo” ran with the sponsorship of Deering Banjos from the late 1990s to the early 2000s. Dan recorded three projects in the first five years of the 2000s and began editing the quarterly “Old Time Way” section for Banjo Newsletter in 2005. He continues performing old-time music, teaching fiddle and banjo, writing instructional and repertoire books featuring banjo and fiddle tunes for Mel Bay, and making plans for more old-time music projects.

About the Author(s)

Clawhammer banjo player Lewis M. Stern has written about traditional musicians including Dwight Diller, Tommy Malbeouf, and Jim Scancarelli. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.
David Brooks, an instructor at the Louisville Folk School in Kentucky, is the author of multiple books of banjo tablature.

Bibliographic Details

Lewis M. Stern and David Brooks
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 237
Bibliographic Info: 45 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8351-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4930-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
Introduction: Dan’s Narrative 9
Chapter One. Early Life 17
Chapter Two. Learning ­Old-Time Music 30
Chapter Three. Playing Old-Time Music 47
Chapter Four. Honing the Tools of Performance 77
Chapter Five. Teaching ­Old-Time Music 91
Chapter Six. Thinking About Old-Time Music 130
Conclusion: The Shape of Dan’s Life 151
Appendix: Discography and Videography 169
Interviewees 175
Chapter Notes 183
Bibliography 209
Index 221