Dulcimerica: Volume 1
Bing Futch has been playing Appalachian mountain dulcimer since 1985 and is one of the most high-profile performers of this uniquely American instrument today. In 1999, he founded Americana band MOHAVE, a free-wheeling, good-timing collective of musicians that has performed at numerous festivals and county fairs, played to audiences at venues such as Hard Rock Live Orlando and the House Of Blues at Walt Disney World, and opened for national acts MOLLY HATCHET, SUBJECT TO CHANGE, WRONG and THE CRESTS, all while keeping the dulcimer front and center. As a solo performer, Bing retains the high-energy performances and engaging audience interaction that infuses every MOHAVE show. His original songs are rooted within international folk music, mixing African and Native American rhythms, blues, bluegrass, funk, jazz, Dixieland, Celtic, country, middle eastern and latin influences with original rock and pop grooves. Keeping one foot firmly planted on traditional music soil, Bing explores exciting new territory with the dulcimer; from acoustic explorations to fully electric soundscapes. 'Dulcimerica: Volume 1' is Bing's first solo dulcimer recording and it is a combination of both traditional and modern tunes with a handful of originals. From the opening gospel medley 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot/He's Got The Whole World In His Hand' to the silver-screen magic of 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow', the mountain dulcimer takes center stage as an expressive and dynamic instrument. Adding delicious spice to the traditional tune 'Cotton Eyed Joe' as well as the fiddle medley 'Gold Trails Hotel' is harmonica player Charles Stansell, who also performs on Bing's original composition 'Sunday Morning.' Other original songs include the jaunty 'This Road This Moment' and a lilting Irish waltz entitled 'Please Bury Me By The River Shannon.' In keeping with the eclectic theme of 'Dulcimerica', there are Irish songs ('Planxty Fanny Po'er', 'Squire Wood's Lament', 'Whiskey Before Waltzing'), French reels ('En Avant Deux'), traditional American classics ('Polly Wolly Doodle', 'The Old Black Cat Couldn't Catch A Rat'), more showtunes ('Edelweiss') and a rendition of Bill Staines' 'River.' Music from all over the map in the first of a planned series of recordings. A LITTLE HISTORY Bing discovered the mountain dulcimer in 1985 while working in parking control at Knott's Berry Farm theme park in California. He quickly transferred to the Dulcimer Shop, which was owned by Bud and Donna Ford. 'I had no idea that they were such key players in the scene, ' said Bing, 'not until a lot of time had passed.' In fact, twenty years of experimenting, practicing, recording and performing went by before he finally got plugged into the national dulcimer scene. 'There was no internet back then, no local stores with dulcimer instruction books or records. I'd ask for something dulcimer-related and they'd say I was in the wrong store.' With only two beginner's books and a trio of cassettes by Neal Hellman, Michael Rugg and David Schnaufer as inspiration, Bing was left to his own devices until he discovered the EverythingDulcimer.com website in late 2003. 'It put me in touch with other dulcimer players,' said Bing. 'That was a Godsend.' A couple of years later, Bing received an out-of-the-blue phone call from reknowned dulcimer player and instructor Stephen Seifert, who encouraged him to bring his unique stylings into the national dulcimer scene. Since then, Bing has emerged on the festival circuit as a one-of-a-kind performer and an innovative teacher of the instrument. He's also jammed and become friends with some of the top players and instructors in the world, including Seifert, Butch Ross, Jerry Rockwell and the inimitable Robert Force. Bing Futch expresses the melting-pot nature of America through an instrument that has evolved out of the same multi-cultural rites. By playing both progressive and traditional music, he attempts to bridge the gap between where we've been and where we're going. There's always excitement in the unknown, just as there is primal reassurance in the ways of folk tradition. And what is folk but music of the people?