My 2020-2021 schedule so far includes teaching / performing at festivals in Colorado, upstate New York, Mississippi, California, North Carolina, Kentucky, Vermont, and tentatively Virginia. You'd never guess I'm based in Connecticut! Also, I had my first New York City performance in many years, at the famed Bitter End, in Greenwich Village. See the Performances tab for details.
COVID UPDATE: The California event, Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering in May, will be held online, open to anyone in the world.
On November 23, 2019, Sam posted a video of the Ramones' classic punk song, "I Wanna Be Sedated." and it immediately went viral, including a personal record 27,000 views on its first full day online. In just over two weeks, it amassed 200,000 views. (By comparison, the year "Whole Lotta Love" was released, it went viral in June, but by year-end it still was under 200,000 views.) As a result of this, Sam now has more than 800,000 total views on YouTube. Thank you, World!
In mid-February, 2020, "I Wanna Be Sedated" reached 250,000 views, and Sam's YouTube page surpassed 900,000 total views. Thank you, again and all the time, World!
The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ, included Sam's video of Neil Diamond's song, "Sweet Caroline," in its dulcimer display. How big is it to have been selected for this? Well, the song preceding it in the video loop is Jean Ritchie singing to Pete Seeger.
Sam Edelston is an entertainer with many facets. In recent years, he has been pushing the creative boundaries of the mountain dulcimer. He does songs that span the rock & roll era and decades (or occasionally centuries) before that, plus folk, original songs, funny songs, shout-alongs, and more. He also performs on guitar, banjo, and occasionally hammered dulcimer, and sings.
Sam is on a mission: "I believe that dulcimers are among the world's coolest musical instruments. I want the general public to know dulcimers the way it knows guitars and pianos."
He also chairs the Nutmeg Dulcimer Festival, in Milford, Connecticut. Mark your calendar for Friday-Saturday, October 2-3, 2020, and sign up to get more details at www.NutmegDulcimer.com
Moved to Performances tab.
On August 19, 2018, I got my 500,000th view on YouTube.
There are people who were unlucky enough to get a zillion views for falling backward into a wedding cake, and have to wear that for the rest of their lives.
The universe was capricious enough to give me the opposite experience -- a video that has made people incredibly happy all around the world. It could have happened to anybody, and I'm eternally grateful that, on that particular day, it happened to me.
Today, "Whole Lotta Love" has more than 300,000 views -- one of the most watched videos by an "unknown" mountain dulcimer player. The other 200,000 views, though, are divided among nearly 50 other videos, most of which are aimed at showing the world what a little 3-string dulcimer can do. See some examples on my Videos page here. Rock on, world! And thank you!
In November, 2018, Sam's video of the Led Zeppelin classic, Whole Lotta Love, on electric dulcimer, got its 300,000th view. If you exclude renowned artists like Joni Mitchell, Cyndi Lauper, and the Rolling Stones, only about a half dozen other mountain dulcimer videos have more views.
"Displaying a frightening amount of rock mojo for a guy who seems fairly quiet and unassuming, Edelston used his amplified three-string mountain dulcimer to roar his way through ‘Whole Lotta Love’ without so much as breaking a sweat. After watching this, we’re ready to jump in a van and follow Edelston around on tour."
"'You can't do that on a dulcimer!' Well, maybe you can't but Sam Edelston can. Sam has taken the mountain dulcimer from its backwoods Appalachian origins to places most players never dreamed of. From Sousa to Sinatra to Led Zeppelin. Sam's skewed sensibilities on what might be "appropriate" for the dulcimer extend to his music as well. Look for parodies, mash-ups, and other delightfully warped offerings from this innovative musician."
-- The Folk Project
"Wow. Beautiful version."
-- Chris Frantz. Talking Heads drummer, commenting on Sam's cover of Psycho Killer
"Connecticut resident Sam Edelston is a dulcimer wizard who has used the old-time instrument to cover classic rock songs in the past. We're in awe of one of his most recent covers as he does a bang-up job of tackling Led Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta Love.'"
"This is one of the 5 coolest things I've ever seen/heard on dulcimer ... and the other 4 were all with Sam as well!"
-- Dulcimer master Tull Glazener, after seeing a video of Sam performing "I Can See Clearly Now" with Nicki Parrott's jazz trio.
"With his complex layered arrangements of so many genres of music for the dulcimer, Sam has added a huge chapter to the development of the mountain dulcimer as a versatile and ever growing musical American folk instrument."
-- Dulcimer legend Joellen Lapidus, writing at Folkworks.org
"Our day with Sam Edelston was a great success. We learned so much. This video gives you a slight example of the caliber of performer that Sam Edelston is. We have never seen anything like it. Our workshops were challenging and fantastic. Sam's performance was out of this world. It was an incredible day!"
-- Misery Bay Dulcimer Club, Erie, PA
"I've never heard a dulcimer sound so much like a guitar before."
-- Jose Feliciano
“Today, I attended Sam Edelston’s workshop on Rock & Roll chord progressions for dulcimer and holy crap, now I can play Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” on Lulabelle so well I got a ceiling bang from the Trolls who live in the subterranean cavern, and a “SHUT THE FU....wait, is that Chuck Berry?”
I strummed harder and laughed maniacally. They shut the fu— up and listened.
Apparently, they are Trolls with Soul. After I finished the last lick there was a silence, then a muffled “Props, bitch.”
-- Workshop attendee Maryam Webster.
"Rosie's daddy came in and sang to us today. He was so much fun. Can he be my daddy, too?"
-- Rebecca, age 4