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Downhome Bluegrass Hosts Tribute to Dayton Banjo Icon Mike Lilly with Guest Fred Bartenstein


Downhome Bluegrass on WYSO presents a tribute to renowned Dayton banjo player Mike Lilly, who passed away in February at the age of 70. Host Tom Duffee welcomes Fred Bartenstein, bluegrass historian, author, and University of Dayton faculty member, to the show to discuss the legacy of Lilly, and play choice cuts from across his decades-long musical career.

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Tom Duffee has been playing and listening to traditional and country sounds all his life. He started playing the banjo when he was twelve. In his later teens, he started playing in public, sharing in the rich old-time and bluegrass heritage that exists in the Miami Valley. For the past 35 years, he has played in the old-time string band, the Corndrinkers. In 1971, he started programming traditional music on WYSO. With his brothers Dan and Jim, the Duffee brothers initiated a Saturday night bluegrass show as well as a morning offering, Rise When the Rooster Crows, both of which remain on WYSO to this day. After an extended absence, Tom returned to WYSO to assist the ailing “Ramblin’” Ray Garrison produce the Midnight Ramble. Tom lives in Springfield, where he teaches EMS Technology at Clark State Community College, helps run Bee Balm Music, a recording outlet for some neglected old-time musicians, and works as a part-time piano tuner (Middle C Piano Service). His wife, Linda, with whom he shares his life and his music, is a renowned fiddler in the Miami Valley area.