photo by Joan Harrison

“I started playing the banjo at age 15 and never stopped.”

On May 20th, Ben Freed died of a massive heart attack. He leaves behind his wife Nomi, their daughters Madelyn and Liza, and a far reaching network of musicians with whom he shared his love of the banjo and bluegrass music. He was generous with his knowledge and a highly respected instructor who mentored many of our finest young banjo players.

Ben developed a dynamically driving style, citing Pete Seeger, Earl Scruggs, Tony Trischka and Alan Munde as major influences. Four CDs of all original music attest to his gifts as a composer, producer, and player. Pete Wernick called Ben’s Suite for Bluegrass Banjo “one of the best banjo records, ever.” Ben also played on the soundtrack of the Coen Brothers film “Raising Arizona”, “The Simpsons”, and numerous commercial soundtracks.

As a member of Diamonds in the Rough, Laurie and the Locals, American Flyer, The Soy Boys, The Corn Fed Dogs, and most recently, The Sleepy Hollow String Band, Ben declared that “performing live music with my friends is an exhilaration that is hard to describe.”

Do your brain a favor - play some music When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. What's going on? Anita Collins explains the fireworks that go off in musicians' brains when they play, and examines some of the long-term positive effects of this mental workout.

By Anita Collins, Educator
TedEd: Lessons Worth Sharing

When: Friday, April 24 @ 7:30pm
Where: Christ Church - 20 Carroll Street, Poughkeepsie
Adults: $15
Students: $5
Children Under 12:     Free

So, “Who’s is playing what?,” you ask inquisitively? Enter your answers into the form below and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. See if you can figure it out. Dick Bowden's Flying Circus is the band of bands! And revealing the names of the band members is the equivalent of Snowden's leak of the NSA spying...of Julian Assange's Wikileaks. Fortunately, HVBA has been contacted by the master whistle blower within the bluegrass community.

Just as Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and Deep Throat are among the famous "leakers" in history. We are pleased to able to add one of own to the list.

And just as Deep Throat's identity remained secret for many years, our source, too, needs to have his/her identify protected. As you can imagine, HVBA members have been sworn to secrecy in order to protect the safety of this valuable source. If necessary, the editor of our website may simply have to serve a long prison term for the sake of protecting the First Amendment (Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right ……).

So … what exactly WAS Dick Bowden's response when he was informed of the leak? It is no surprise that Dick firmly pleaded with us to not to use REAL names, stating: “We're sensitive about that. Tell [the editor] it's Witness Protection kind of stuff... "

Are you kidding, Dick? There is simply NO way that the HVBA wants to keep this news from the public. Our members need to know these kinds of secrets. Some day, maybe a movie will even be written called the “Inside the Mind of an HVBA Leaker” or “Citizen Five” and, by then, we’re sure that even Dick will understand.

Ah, seriously, it is too early to leak the names and so we’ve gone ahead and warned our own "Deep Throat" to be prepared to head for Russia. In the meantime, see if you can name the band’s members.

Dick Bowden's Flying Circus

  1. ________________________ (Mandolin)
  2. ________________________ (Guitar)
  3. ________________________ (Bass)
  4. ________________________ (Banjo)

The well-known bluegrass musician and band leader, Dick Bowden, having learnt the hard way that there is more money in booking bluegrass than playing it, has formed a Light Entertainment Squadron (detached) known as Dick Bowden’s Flying Circus. Without a doubt, it is something completely different in the bluegrass field! (Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more, say no more.)

Mr. Bowden, as impresario, has combed the ranks of the services of the Allies and gathered together a number of the finest talents in bluegrass music and military aeronautical science. (Total number currently approaching reinforced battalion strength.) Due to the exacting and exhausting nature of the Flying Circus programme, show assignments are rotated among these many brave volunteers.

Nominated as IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year: 2013


Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival

C & L Restorations

Gale & Howard Foster
Lynn & Steve Lipton
Jim & Debi Tyger

From the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, Canada, the Spinney Brothers are comprised of Allan Spinney , Rick Spinney, Gary Dalrymple and Terry Poirier.

Brothers Allan and Rick debuted their band in 1992, showcasing a tight brother duet vocal style that was immediately recognized for it’s energetic and distinctive sound.

Glen Herbert wrote a review about the Spinney Brothers CD not too long ago and it's well worth reading again. Here's a piece of it:

The Spinney’s are bluegrass, through and through, almost to their detriment. And that’s what makes them so great. The know that they are at their peak, and have been for some time, and yet they keep going simply because they can’t stop. Rick Spinney has said that they first came across bluegrass when logging with their father in rural British Columbia and the only tapes he had in the cab of the truck were by Flatt and Scruggs. “You may not know it at the time,” says Rick, “but that music really sticks with you.” Clearly, it really does.


Tickets available only at the door!
When: Friday, March 30 @ 7:30pm
Open Jam - 6:30pm
Where: Christ Episcopal Church - 20 Carroll Street, Poughkeepsie
Adults: $15
Students: $5
Children Under 12: Free

Zink & Company consists of four talented musicians with years of combined recording and performance experience. Joining guitarist & lead vocalist Corey Zink are Larry Neu, banjo & vocals; John Roc, mandolin & vocals; and Ray Evans, bass & vocals. They have graced the stages of numerous festivals on the east coast and Canada, entertaining audiences with original and traditional songs executed in vibrant harmony. Zink & CO. is firmly rooted in the traditions of the early decades of bluegrass and country music.


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