McSwain Theatre Hosts Legendary Bluegrass Band Sept. 25

Friday, September 18, 2009

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

Three-time National Fiddle Champion Byron Berline and his band will present an exciting evening of traditional bluegrass and Western swing music 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25 at the McSwain Theatre in Ada.

After picking up a fiddle at age five, Byron Berline's career became a whirlwind of recording and performing with musical legends including The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Bob Dylan, Earl Scruggs, Willie Nelson, Elton John and Vince Gill.

"My dad was a fiddler," he said. "I grew up listening to him playing old time fiddle tunes and the Grand Ole Opry on the radio in our barn."
"It all just sinks in when you grow up hearing it."

His music took him to Los Angeles in the 1960s where he became a part of the era's bustling California music scene.

In 1965, Berline and his band The Dillards had the opportunity to perform at the famed Newport Folk Festival where Bob Dylan was booed off the stage for "going electric."

"It was a surprise," he said. "Some would say to this day that it ruined his career."

Berline's music has also been featured on several television shows and movies, including Star Trek, Basic Instinct and Back to the Future III.

He has released seven solo albums, including the Grammy-nominated "Fiddle & A Song".

Berline is the founder of Oklahoma's International Blue Grass Festival which takes place in Guthrie each fall and owns and operates the town's Double Stop Fiddle Shop.

It was in the Music Hall above the Fiddle Shop where the Byron Berline Band was formed in 1995.

Band members are: John Hickman, Berline's long-time musical partner, banjo; Jim Fish, guitar; Greg Burgess, fiddle/guitar; Richard Sharp, bass and Steve Short, drums.

"Each one of the members brings their own style and experience to the band," Berline says. "Each has a time to do their own thing and we really enjoy playing and having a good time."

Together they have played all over Oklahoma and the surrounding states and are extending their music through Europe.

Tickets for the Byron Berline Band performance are on sale now. Prices are $18, with a special price of $17 for senior citizens. To purchase, contact the McSwain office at (580) 332-8108 or visit