BYRON BERLINE: A FIDDLER’S DIARY—BY BYRON BERLINE WITH JANE FROST—New Forums Press 9781581072457. Paperback, 410 pp., $25.95. (New Forums Press, Inc., 1018 S. Lewis St., Stillwater, OK 74074, www.newforums.com.)
Readers of this magazine should be well familiar with Byron Berline’s music, but many of us have not had the privilege and pleasure of knowing him personally. This book will give you a glimpse into the musical life of Byron from the 1960s to today.
His co-author, Jane Frost, has written a book on Patsy Montana and has organized and presented the material here well. The title is a bit disingenuous in that these are not diary entries made by Byron, but rather remembrances elaborated on from his wife Bette’s diary entries. We’re all lucky that Bette kept such good notes on Byron’s gigs and who he was playing with, but it’s Byron’s memories that are central here. From his days growing up in Oklahoma to playing with Bill Monroe to his years out West with Dillard & Clark, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Clarence White, and California, Byron was one of the most influential fiddlers of his time in many genres: bluegrass, swing, country, and rock.
Byron is now a member of the National Fiddler Hall Of Fame and is still playing and running his Doublestop Fiddle Shop in Guthrie, Okla. This is a well told tale of a truly interesting and influential life. Includes reminiscences by other bluegrass artists and a foreword by Mark O’Connor. Recommended.CVS