Tom and Betty
Tom and Betty play old-time music - the dance tunes, fiddle music and parlor songs that people used to entertain themselves and their neighbors before the time of recorded music or radio.
Tom has been a musician for nearly all of his life. As a guitar player he played in a number of Lehigh Valley bands, but around 40 years ago he discovered old-time music and the clawhammer style of banjo playing he's known for today. His first learning experiences at the Augusta Heritage Center Workshops included working with Craig Johnson, Gerry Milnes, and Dwight Diller. They shared their music with him and also the history of the music and the people who played it, giving Tom the strong appreciation for both music and musicians that he passes along to his students today.
Tom also creates and produces radio programs, including "In the Tradition" for WDIY, the National Public Radio station in Bethlehem Pennsylvania, and The SingOut! Radio Magazine, which is nationally syndicated and also available on podcast.
Check the Radio page for more details!
Tom and Betty, with their son Nate, began performing and recording in the 1990s. With Norm Williams and others, they have made six recordings, most recently "Bound to Change."
Betty began playing fiddle as a direct result of hearing J.P. Fraley play "Margaret's Waltz" on the Augusta stage one summer evening. In following years, she learned from Rachel Eddy, Dave Bing, the late Bill Hicks, James Bryan and Mike Bryant. Luckily enough, she also spent two master class weeks with West Virginia fiddler Wilson Douglas before his passing in 1999.
Betty has especially enjoyed learning unusual older
tunes and those with great stories which may or may not be true. She enjoys playing for farmers' markets and dances, as well as singing songs with great harmonies.
Tom and Betty, with Norm Williams, Paula Taylor and Mike Andrews, are founders of the Maidencreek Old-time Music Festival, held in July every year in a lovely picnic grove in Berks County, Pennsylvania. It's a hands-on learning and teaching event, one day only, with concerts, crafts and a great community of old-time musicians and fans in attendance. Click on our logo to link directly to the Festival website.